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NYU Student Rekindles ‘Adventurous Flame’ Through Debate

A new orientation of thoughts and ideologies

November 30, 2023 (newsweek.com) – Emmanuel Makinde is a second-year undergraduate at New York University on a pre-medical track studying neuroscience. Drawing from his early debater career in the Washington Urban Debate League, Emmanuel is an active policy debater at NYU, where he has qualified for the National Debate Tournament. Aside from debating, Emmanuel currently works in a research lab at NYU’s Center for Neural Science, where he studies memory formation in the brain.

Each morning as I entered the slightly corroded iron doors of my middle school, I was ceaselessly in search of the next adventure only to be told, “Stop being so playful…you have to be mature in the real world.” My adventurous flame of vermilion—the shade of red that Chinese culture depicts as bringing great joy—would shrink; I felt constrained. My playful spirit was rebuked and my adventure was stolen from me by parents and teachers. Nonetheless, I embraced this new outlook with folded arms and a grin in hopes of someday lifting the burden of being “adultlike.”

Because I approached high school with a mindset conformed to the directives of my authority figures, I pursued debate. I presumed the game would give me a look into a realm of standard, colorless academia and fulfill wishes that were not mine. The activity, however, strangely afforded me a colorful variation—one where I found excitement in the configuration of my diction and the thought that preceded it.

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