As a college debater, I’ve been actively preparing for districts, which happens this next weekend, for a while now. Considering the amount of time that I spent preparing for the tournament (roughly 16 hours over the last three days), I feel a lot more comfortable about it than I did a week or two ago. The amount of time that I spent staring at the computer, writing out explanations of certain arguments or searching for the perfect article to help make an argument has really made me think about a skill that debate has taught me that I’ve never really thought about before– stamina and focus. Before I joined debate, I couldn’t keep my focus on something that could be considered work for much time– maybe half an hour to 45 minutes– before I had to stop and do something else. After joining debate, I’ve been able to keep my focus on a task for an extensive period of time, even if it’s a boring paper for a class I really don’t like. I think the reason why I am able to do this effectively is because debate has also helped me formulate my thoughts coherently (that idea will be developed more in a future post). Either way, debate has helped me to focus on work for an extended period of time, making me significantly more efficient and effective at school and other research-oriented work.