I thought I should follow the theme of most of the recent VSA blogs so I too will dedicate my blog for this week to be about what I do when I am not in my engineering classes. One of my extracurriculars at USC is the Trojan Debate Squad, the squad participates in intercollegiate policy debate competition along with many of the Universities in the nation. Policy debate basically is a research based competitive debate that is based on one topic per year focusing mainly on the flaws in current policies and governmental actions that can be taken to improve these flaws. As one might guess, most of students involved in debate are not engineering majors as debate usually has nothing to do with engineering or subject matters that relate to engineering. So I get this question a lot, “Why are you in debate?” and the answer I usually give is, “Because I love the intensity and challenge.” But sometimes, I also point out that some engineering fields highly deal with government policies and some Civil Engineers also end up being policy makes be it on local or national levels.

In addition to the numerous hours I have to spend doing research and practice debates, being part of TDS provides me the opportunity to travel to other universities and gives me the chance to interact with many students across the nation. I had the opportunity to go to San Francisco last weekend for my first tournament of the season. It was good to escape the heat wave of SoCal in San Francisco and to be honest, it always is good to see the other part of California that is really different from LA on so many levels. Tournament schedules usually don’t have any free time that allow site seeing or exploration, however, the multiple drives from hotels to campuses added to the team dinners we usually have on the nights of tournament days usually allows me to have a feel for most of the cities I have been to for tournaments.