I watched the upperclassmen carefully, trying to speak as powerfully as they did.
I learned from my opponents and adapted my style through the hundreds of rounds I lost.
I found I could finally look other people in the eyes when I talked to them without feeling embarrassed.
My posture straightened and I stopped fidgeting around strangers.
I knew that this was the path forward.\r\n\r\n Of course, this was all easier said than done.
Whenever it was my turn to debate, I found that I was more of a deer in the headlights than a person enjoying the spotlight.
It took six years of tongue twisters and complicated mouth contortions in special education classes for me to produce the forty-four sounds of the English language.\r\n\r\n Then, high school came.
I was sick of how confining my quiet nature had become.
I began interacting with my teachers more and leading my peers in clubs.
In discussions, I put forward my ideas with every bit as much conviction as my classmates.