We have a session every Saturday. The President chairs the session. Over the course of roughly three hours, we discuss various ideas through various forms of public speaking. The typical session consists of a book review, a minor, and a major, each of which are explained below. Each segment is followed by an evaluation by a member. Peer evaluations are an integral part of sessions, allowing speakers and listeners to constantly better themselves. The agenda for the next week is set at the end of the session. Observations, suggestions, and issues are also recorded. YOCS sessions are a great way to be introduced to interesting and often new ideas. They are also a place to find good books , good conversation, and good chai. You can find detailed minutes of each session in our archives.
A book review is an eight-minute speech, in which a guest or members reviews a book of their choice. Movies, music, or any art form may also be reviewed, although this is less frequent. The review is followed by an evaluation, by a member of the reviewer's choice. The review is the shortest part of the session. Prose and poetry, philosophical works and political treatises, biographies and fantasies, comics and movies, have all been reviewed at YOCS. These provide not just a good reading list of books you haven't read yet, but also a fresh perspective on those you have. While it is a challenge to review something you have enjoyed (or detested!) in eight minutes, it is also a chance to introduce your audience to a work that you care enough about to review.
In the minor, a member makes a fifteen-minute speech about a topic of their choice. This is followed by a Q&A session, moderated by the evaluator, in which the speaker answers questions from the audience. The evaluator, who is chosen by the minorist, then evaluates the minor. A minor speech is a detailed analysis of an idea, and minorists try their best to explain their central proposition clearly and comprehensively. No idea is off-limits, as a look at our minors in the past will prove. From abstract philosophical ideas to pressing social issues, from speeches about art to speeches about speeches, from mesmerising monologues to startling calls to action - YOCS has heard them all!
The major is the part of the session where everybody in the house is encouraged to speak. The majorist for the day sets the format and topic for the major. Guests and members then make their speeches. Majors cover a wide variety of formats. Apart from the regular elocution, debates, Just-a-Minutes, group discussions, and shipwrecks are some of the majors we've had at YOCS. Majors allows us to listen to a broad range of views on subjects, which, again, themselves have a wide range. Whether speakers are required to answer a question, or prove a point, or simply explore an idea, a major is always an interesting exercise.