FAQ: Life Outside of Debate

Can I participate in other co-curricular activities while debating?

Yes, members of the Sanford I. Berman Debate Forum are allowed to participate in other extra-curricular or co-curricular activities while debating. In fact, we believe that one key purpose of a college education is to take a student and forge him or her into a well-rounded adult. That being said, we certainly believe that debate should be the primary co-curricular commitment for members of the Sanford I. Berman Debate Forum. This is especially true if a student wishes to be consistently successful in college debate, advancing to the deep elimination rounds of national tournaments. Students who hope to achieve a great deal of success in collegiate debate must recognize the fact that the activity will take up a great deal of their time.

How much free time will I have outside of debate?

Every student certainly will have free time outside of debate. However, the amount of free time available depends on several factors unique to each individual student. These factors include the difficulty and size of a student’s course load as well as the student's personal goals for debate, level of commitment to to the team, and ability to work efficiently.

Do debaters ever have any fun/have a life?

Yes — first of all, students will have free time, and they can participate in other extra-curricular activities — and have time for a social life. Everyone needs a bit of time away from debate to gain perspective, let off a little steam, and generally live life as a college student. Second, debate is fun, winning is fun, learning new things is fun, participating in intellectual competition is fun, and most of us even think that research is fun. If you don’t enjoy debate, then the Sanford I. Berman Debate Forum is probably not the program for you.

In addition, the Sanford I. Berman Debate Forum is not a squad of insular competitive individuals. The time that we spend together, our cooperative work ethic, and a collective squad goal allows us to develop family-like bonds. The enjoyment associated with debate and the family-like atmosphere more than compensate for the effort that a student puts into debate.