Online Debate

21-01-2021

I take a sip of Glühwein, trying to recover from today's online debate. And I don't add the 'online' to remind everyone of the lockdown we're still (again?) in - no one needs a reminder of that. Instead, I emphasize the online nature of the debate because that's the culprit that turned my passionate, convincing arguments into a bundle of stutter and "I'm so sorry’s”.

Everything started when I signed up to Project Academic Debate for period 3 (at UCM we do projects where we practice skills and use our acquired knowledge instead of doing content courses during periods 3 and 6). Today, I was in charge of the debate's closing speech, which I loved. I read up on inspiring quotes to use and designed a whole script so that I could bedazzle the (non-existent) audience.

When the debate started, I was cruising through it for the first minutes, listening to all arguments, and scribbling away on my newly bought iPad, feeling like a true academic. Like the kind of student you see as a child in Hallmark movies that make your heart soft and your eyes sparkle with anticipation. When it was my turn to speak, I leaned my iPad against my laptop screen, ready to convince in the cheesiest way possible. By this point, the anticipation worked itself up so much that I felt like a fountain, words flowing out of me accompanied by elaborate hand gestures.

Then, my laptop screen gave in to the iPad's heaviness, clapping back in a quick and elegant motion. My iPad, not prepared for this, slipped down the screen and fell on my keyboard. And not just on any key but on the play/pause one. Which means that at that moment, one of the YouTube videos started playing that was hidden among many in one of my browsers. Though I didn't know this immediately, instead suspecting one of my classmates of having accidentally unmuted themselves while sneakily watching YouTube. It was only once I heard the unmistakable "Hola todos, hoy vamos a hablar sobre un armario cápsula…" that I realized what had happened. As passionately as I was first defending my arguments, I was now going through my tabs, trying to find the one that betrayed me, all while falling into an "I'm sorry, I'm so sorry, I don't know how this could have happened" monologue.

Doing Uni online has always been a delight, but never quite as much as today.

Jesler van Houdt

Online Debate
Jesler van Houdt