"At YYGS, we wanted to open our own minds and the minds of our peers to new ideas and to novel interpretations of the old."

Lindsay Meyerson
Connecticut, USA

“What is the experience you are most proud of?” I hated that question for the longest time, whether I was fielding it from a teacher or a godparent or an interviewer. It seemed like, at 17, I didn’t have all that much to be proud of. Then, this past summer, the answer became immediately clear: Yale Young Global Scholars. I still couldn’t come up with a real reason as to why that was my gut reaction. It didn’t feel like a true “accomplishment” in that I’d been a willing, engaged, active participant but one who had gained far more than I’d given. Of course I brought my experiences, perspectives, and beliefs to each discussion - along with an almost obsessive and pathological level of preparation - but how could I compare with my outstanding peers?

It took me about fifteen seconds into my first conversation with another YYGS student - a published writer from Pakistan - to realize that I didn’t have to. They didn’t want me to. Of course I would be left in the dust in a resume contest, but we weren’t there for grades or winning. We were there for two weeks to immerse ourselves in the issues we were most passionate about and maybe to learn about. I’m proud of my time at YYGS because I wrote a good Capstone project I really believed in. I’m proud because I showed up to every seminar and lecture prepared and learned everything I could from each professor and instructor. I’m proud that I was able to constantly question my beliefs and grow from that experience. Mostly, I’m just proud to have been a part of the incredible YYGS community.

I learned so much from my professors and instructors in lectures, discussion groups, seminars, and Capstone. However, that part of the program cannot compare to the students. When I think about how much I want to go back to YYGS, I think less about those formal settings and more about relaxing in the courtyard or in the dining hall or on a walk for frozen yogurt. We were all connected by politics, but we didn’t let it dominate the conversation. The best part was just learning about where the other students came from, whether it was South Korea, Columbia, New Jersey, or in my case, Connecticut. I don’t think I have ever been in a room with that many people from that many different places and I don’t know if I will ever have that opportunity again. The only option was to make the most of it, every minute.

Fourth of July was one of our last nights at YYGS. I’d never celebrated the Fourth without my family and friends and was a little bit down about missing out on all those traditions. I shouldn’t have been because the celebration at YYGS was absolutely fantastic. We walked up to the top of a parking garage about four blocks from Jonathan Edwards to watch fireworks. We got there maybe an hour early. Everyone - even the international kids - was decked out in every red, white, and blue article of clothing we could find. We had face paint and flags, even a “Don’t Tread on Me” flag. There was so much patriotism and energy. No one would have guessed that we spent all day presenting Capstone projects. But we had, and after all that hard work, we deserved to take the night off to celebrate America. We ran around the rooftop and played patriotic songs on full blast from iPhone speakers. I’m not sure why, but that moment of camaraderie, with no pressure, with zero expectations, just when the firework show started and everyone got kind of quiet for a second, that will always be one of my favorite YYGS memories. In two weeks we’d learned a lot, but we’d also gotten to be really good friends, not just the kind you hang out with for two weeks because you have no choice, but the kind you go out of your way to see when they visit the States because you really missed them, the kind you work to keep in touch with.

Every student at YYGS was fun and fantastic in their own way and I could sing their praises until I have no voice left. Instead, I’ll just say one final thing. At YYGS, we wanted to open our own minds and the minds of our peers to new ideas and to novel interpretations of the old. But we didn’t want to limit ourselves to the theoretical. Anthony de Mello, a jesuit priest, once said “I was a revolutionary when I was young, and all my prayer to God was ‘Lord, give me the energy to change the world.’” I have no doubt that everyone I meet at YYGS will be a part of that movement to shape the future of our world, in every discipline imaginable. I am honored to have met them, lived with them, and learned from them. Mostly, I’m proud to have been a part of the YYGS community.

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