Around the age of 15-16, most of us are asked to make decisions about what career we would like to pursue or who we wanted to be in the future. At this very same age however, we get detention for not doing homework and still have to ask permission to go to the bathroom during class. Surely this juxtaposition is absurd? 

I was one of the confused lot. I didn’t know if I could commit to anything so soon, but I still had to make the decision nonetheless. I made my decision based on things I am good at or are willing to learn. 

Debate was one of these things for me. 

I started debating when I was eight years old and have continued with it to date. These were initially small in-class debates, after which I progressed to inter-school and international debating of various types and formats including Parliamentary Debates with MPs, Model UN, Model AU and Mooting. 

Identifying debate as a passion was key to my decision to pursue a degree in law because it provides a platform for public speaking and critical thinking without limiting career options. Joining a university that provides multiple platforms for students to air their thoughts respectfully and freely, without judgement has bolstered my confidence and skills in the art. I am now confident that my choice at a young age was the right one. 

Now while I hope everyone finds their skill or hobby that fits them like debate fits me, I must say it won’t come easy and it won’t come immediately. You might not even get it right the first few times – I got lucky. The advice I have for 16-year-old me is that the best thing you can do for yourself is take things slow and eventually, things will work out.