You Gotta Face It

header1When you sit in the car, the morning of move-in, belongings overflowing in the back seat, and final goodbyes dished out, many begin to wonder about the future in their new, post-secondary world.

I was just hoping that I could find a piece for Solo Serious that can top last year’s.

In high school, I was commonly referred to as “that forensics girl.” Involved since my freshman year, I started out as the timid little first year that spoke way too fast and needed a little slap of reality. My first category ever was farrago (and bless your little heart if you’re in that category), and I went on to do Oratorical Declamation, OIL, Poetry, Duo, Solo Serious, and Prose. I’m fluent in all forensics speech, make sound effects for myself when opening an actual door, and look at suits on Overstock when bored.

It came as no surprise when I got to tell everyone for the eightieth time that I was going to Ripon College with a forensics scholarship. (It’s a pretty swell place. Heard of it? No? STOP READING RIGHT NOW AND LOOK IT UP!) Part of the package, however, was that I needed to attend the official Forensics Boot Camp. And for all y’all who have done high school forensics for some time, you’ll feel me when I say that I thought it would be silly. I knew the ropes. But let me tell you: Collegiate forensics, friends, is certainly not for the faint of heart.

Only three hours into boot camp, I began to have a MackAttack. (Fun fact: A MackAttack is when I am experiencing excitement, anxiety, and a general “Is This Real Life?” feeling internally all at the same time. So perhaps I look like a decent human being on the outside, but all of the butterflies in my stomach are having a crazy-pants rave.) When considering continuing forensics in college, brace yourself for stepping from the icebox into the hot tub. It is wonderfully and discouragingly different from the competition many have come to love. Many of the little nuances that we hold dear and enjoy about high school forensics competitions have been steamrollered by the maturity of collegiate practices. Collegiate forensics looks high school forensics in the eye and tells it to, “Run along home.”

Don’t you love it when your high school coach finds you a fantastic piece with the perfect cutting? You’d better kiss their feet and give them a candy bar, because now you have to find your own material and write your own speech, and if it’s not brilliant, you can just throw that crap away. That classy binder opening you perfected for quals? Go spend a couple hours correcting it, because now there is only one way to open and close your binder, and IT IS THE RIGHT WAY. ‘Relationships’ for your theme for farrago or poetry? How quaint. Because if your POI has a cute little “theme” instead of a contemporary, socially relevant and supported thesis, you have two days to try, try again. Did I mention that the first competition is in three weeks?

It is certainly a different world, friends. We’re all ditching the 7:00 am Mountain Dew for a black coffee and taking a maturity pill, because this – this is where it gets real.

The worst part was that I got scared. The workload and intensity and just general change got those butterflies to really twerk it out. During a break, I stepped outside of boot camp to breathe and send my worries to God. The people on the team were such great people with poignant ideas, ready to work and ready to get to know you. Why couldn’t I share in their joy? I went back in, resettling my faith in my future in college forensics and my faith in myself. I was thankful for my faith in God, because that Mountain Dew is really tempting, friends.  It’s going to be different. It’s going to be a challenge. But that’s why people go to college in the first place, right? It’s only Day One, and one day can’t shake off four years of love for this incredible activity. Anything different can be scary, guys, but that’s why we need to do it. I came here for fun, so help me God, I will get it out of this award-winning team, amazing professional coaches, and personal effort. So I’m going to find that perfect POI thesis, and you’re going to finally try Moments In History or Extemp. But for now, I’m just going to hang out with my roomie and browse for some more suits.

By the way, POI is for next time. Or just Google it. We live in the 21st, punks.

Allie Macknick


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