PDT: Listening to Learn and Learning to Listen

Quotes collected by Sophia Pandelidis
Photos by Jasen Lo (Thank you!)

At first, I planned for this project to be focused on small visual snapshots in order to contribute to my larger goal of living in the moment over my Bridge Year. However, as PDT progressed, I found myself listening rather than looking. I was in awe of not only the speakers we had the privilege of hosting, but also of my intelligent, thoughtful fellow Fellows, the hardworking staff and the inspiring alumni. I therefore chose to truly listen to what they had to offer, noting what words resonated with me long after they had been said. Real listening is perhaps the most difficult yet most rewarding practice one can follow–a practice I want to continue as I step into the unknown culture of Ecuador. Sometimes I think we forget how hard it is to listen well. I hope that the words I have recorded will give you a taste of what it was like to experience the wisdom of PDT. Thank you so much to Jasen Lo for providing the wonderful photos!

“If you cut open a Redwood, you will see a lot of normal brown lines, and then some black lines. These black lines are the years when fire tried to destroy the Redwoods, but couldn’t. This is because the Redwoods are fireproof. These rings have made them stronger, just like you will grow stronger through the hardships during your Bridge Year.”
-Esther Chou, Manager of Program Experience

“Leaders don’t exist to create followers. They exist to create more leaders.”
-Abby Falik, CEO and Founder of Global Citizen Year

“It’s not about finding your passion. It’s about exploring your curiosity.”
-Abby Falik

“We have a slice of the global community right here.”
-Mitchell Deacon, Brazil Fellow ‘14, Summer Alumni Coach

“There’s something about saying ‘yes’ to something that may be scary, new or different. There’s just something about that.”
-Dennis Hill, Global Program Director

“Start to differentiate between the feel good and the real good.”
-Joel Segre, Entrepreneur and Strategist

“This program doesn’t make you feel like you’ll change the world the moment you touch the ground…we can use what we learn from our experiences to make a real impact later on.”
-Chloe Stoddard, India Fellow

(Photo by Sophia)
“And then something funny happened…I met all of you guys. And I fell in love again.”
-Henry Duerr, Ecuador Fellow

“I need you all to look back. Who got you to where you are today?…I want you to think about a time when you thought, ‘This is my limit,’ and they said, ‘I’m going to take you there because this is so important.’”
-Angus Larsen, Brazil Fellow

“The only thing to do is to choose fun rather than frustration and curiosity instead of expectation.”
-Lisa Rowland, Teacher of Improv at Stanford University

“Everybody dies, but not everybody lives.”
-Andres Medina, India Fellow

“The more things you do that scare you, the easier everything becomes by comparison.”
-Jen Dulski, President of Change.org

“You are made of steel.”
-Jordyn Voss, Brazil Fellow

“Two things make you happy, according to science: experiences and friends.”
-Kent Walker, Google

“Build the schools, but invest the rest of your money in efforts that will make it possible for me to go to school.”
-Deborah Holmes, Chief of Staff for the Global Fund for Women

“We focus not on the memorization of content, but on the mastery of skills.”
-Will Houghteling, North American Managing Director at Minerva

“For everything you do that takes energy, you need to find something that gives you energy.”
-Noemi Liebe, Ecuador Fellow

“If you want to change the world, you have to be open to different perspectives. And that means noting, not fixing.”
-Stace Lindsay, Aspen Global Leadership Network

“Stop asking, ‘What is the meaning of life?’ Start asking, ‘How can you make your own life meaningful?’”
-Premal Shah, President and Co-Founder of Kiva.org

“I really believe that drops in the bucket are how buckets get filled.”
-Premal Shah

“How do we put the humanity back into capitalism?”
-Premal Shah

“I can’t tell you what I’ll be doing in ten years, but I sure hope I’m still becoming myself.”
-Julie Lythcott Haims, former Dean of Freshmen at Stanford University, Author of How to Raise an Adult, Current Global Citizen Year board member

“I started wondering, Are these really their passions? Or is passion just a thing we’ve told you have to find by December or January? Passion is not something to impress other people with…It is the central chord, with some harmony. It is the rhythm, it is the beat, it is the color.”
-Julie Lythcott Haims

Thanks for reading!

Sophia Pandelidis