I went into 2017 ToC thinking that it was the last round of my WSC career. After all, what was I supposed to do? I had a team, a coach, resources, time to devote to WSC before moving from Shanghai to Pennsylvania, and now it seemed that I had none of those. It’s not easy being a solo scholar at a school without funding for WSC or even the permission to represent the school in a round. But it was a good run: I had developed friendships with some of the most unexpected people, learned the value of self-learning, and thoroughly enjoyed every round—and for that I was grateful to even have the chance to attend another. As I stepped on the empty train headed toward New Haven at the 30th Street Station, Philadelphia on that Friday night, I found myself reflecting upon the experiences I’ve had since joining WSC.
Before joining WSC, the concept of learning seemed to me like something that should only be confined to school. Anything learning outside of my school syllabus was practically for college applications. WSC changed that. During my time in WSC, the challenge has been my most successful event. Yet now that I think about it, no one had ever forced me to learn the WSC curriculum. Every year, I had disciplined myself into studying the curriculum not out of necessity but out of interest, and that is the true spirit of WSC: learning for the sake of learning.
Before joining WSC, I had never thought that I would one day ever have the opportunity to talk to a scholar from Kenya about homelessness or a scholar from Kazakhstan about the different formats of debate. Speaking from 4 years of WSC experience, there is no other community that can bond together as we have—celebrating each other at the talent show and supporting others’ community pwaajects without fail, even as we compete against each other. Never had I thought that I would travel with friends, family and teachers to 4 different countries to compete and socialize with other like-minded scholars from all over the world. Hugging a tree at Yale and wearing a velvet blazer in the 35 degrees heat of Vietnam are just a few of the many unforgettable WSC experiences.
WSC is not just “some competition”, it is, as Daniel has said before, “a celebration of learning”. The fact that we use the word “lollipop” instead of “lose” is the best possible representation of who we are as a community. There were times when I was obsessed with winning instead of enjoying the entire WSC package, and that mindset really reduced the quality of the WSC experience. It is unnecessary to view everything as this win-lose situation because as we’ve seen with the 2018 curriculum so far: human relationships are what’s most important. And for me, nothing is more human than the WSC experience.
To Celine Sung, Amelia Marlowe, Amelia Deshmukh, Mr. Samuelson, Mr. Sklarew and many more, thank you for being part of my WSC experience.”
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