In. Out. In. Out. In. Out. In, In, In, oh God...
That was basically my thought process as I walked in the door of the school the meet was at. Everyone, people who have debated already included, said I would be fine but of course I can never listen to them. I was struggling to keep it together.
What if I suck? What if it's terrible? What it my opponent is a senior? What if I'm not really good enough, never will be? What if I'm not good at this and then will have to get out and not have this on my college transcript? Will my other clubs be good enough. Oh God, what if I humiliate myself and they think I'm terrible and stupid?
Even as I went in the buildings, the thoughts wouldn't stop. Fortunately, I was able to talk to one of the other kids there (she was shadowing, not debating). And then it came to actually do it...
Strangely enough, when I was actually about to debate, I didn't feel as nervous as I thought I would (my meds kicking in, I suppose. I feel calm at random moments now. Yay!). I still had the racing thoughts but it felt kind of weird, like something was missing. And then I saw my opponent and as her brown eyes bore into mine, I steeled myself to debate. Somehow I dissociated a little bit and this strange surreal feeling began. And then she began to speak
Of course, I was creamed my first round. Creamed. It turns out that she was a junior, which might explain it, and the fact that I didn't do a number of things that would have been useful to do (like writing down her contentions, or points). She sounded so mean when she was talking, saying how terrible my points were and how I totally didn't link to her contentions. Afterwards I got to talking to her and she turned out to be really nice (and that it was just debate talk), as well as the judge who gave us feedback.
I actually won my second round. It turns out that the people putting everything together screwed up and I got neg, my better argument, for the second time in a row. I was up against another kid who was doing it for the first time. By no means was he bad but I was just better and somehow my points flowed more.
My final round was close. I ended up talking to my competitor for the first fifteen minutes because the judge who was supposed to judge us wasn't there. She had interesting views and also was a socialist; we talked about school and different forms of government until we realized that our judge was supposed to be there. I suppose that made her harder to oust in the end, as well as our nervousness over debating a side I didn't get make minimal edits to my aff argument).
As usual, all that worrying was for nothing. I ended up ending it eating pizza I bought and having a very interesting conversation with a girl I met that resumed on the bus (yay, another intelligent person! I don't find those too often).
I'll get to repeat the process two weeks from now with possibly less stress.