In January 2018, six Doscos were selected after an intensive process to attend national selections for the Indian Debating Team which would compete at the World Schools Debating Championships (WSDC). Owing to this being a prestigious event, every person who had made it thus far had a fiery competitive spirit within them, but more importantly, a naked, pure love of debating. One could observe faces from various parts of the country, owing to the fair and efficient selection process, which vetted over 1400 participants before narrowing it down.

Doon is no stranger to the national team, having been represented on the Asian team and the national team in 2016 and 2017 respectively. At the end of the rigorous camp, I was selected in the Indian Development Squad, which would represent India at The Oldham Cup, Singapore. Having experienced just the tip of the iceberg during the camp, my emotional calculus was left in a flux: I was excited at the prospect of learning in a far more personalized manner, but was apprehensive at the idea of spending even longer hours awake. The next day, I received a glimpse into what the training would look like: a trainer to student ratio opposite to conventional wisdom, as well as getting to debate with and against them (a terrifying proposition).

However, once I returned home, and the training shifted from the physical world to the virtual one, I realized what it meant to have a passion. A passion is something we pursue of our own volition, something which makes us happy and most importantly, something which has no time limit. One thinks about their passion while working, while eating, and even while going to sleep. Over the numerous online tasks and debates I did, I began to love debating even more, and felt happiest while I was around people who felt the same.

Moreover, the training was not only restricted to speaking itself, but also involved several practice exercises, such as research on various organisations and countries, as well as general research on themes and issues that typically come up in debating. Being a part of the Indian Team taught me an important lesson in prioritization and commitment: having my board exams at a similar time, I had to simultaneously juggle both activities and work longer hours to ensure I could devote adequate amounts of time.

The competition was held in the city of Singapore, which is renowned for being a futuristic metropolis, and it did not disappoint. I was stunned by the grandeur and cleanliness of the place. During the competition, we debated against prolific teams, and learnt a lot from them in the process. Furthermore, we bonded as a team and learnt to work together.

My experience of being on the Indian Team is one I will cherish all my life. It continues to inspire me to work even harder, so that I can be back on the team for the coming year.