Shifting from being front and center to an observant spectator, I began to see beyond myself, picking up the art of people-watching. As if placing an invisibility cloak on, I would quietly sink into the blue armchair, discreetly watching peoples’ behavior and interactions with one another. I found myself creating whimsical backstories of circumstance for each passerby, intertwining chance encounters and meaningful exchanges. People-watching not only helped me to become more aware of those around me, was also as an opportunity to explore undiscovered parts of myself.
[caption id="attachment_786" align="alignnone" width="300"] The bonds of friendship that are forged during Washington Week endure for many years. Almost every delegate mentions his or her admiration for the fellow delegates who shared the USSYP experience. A dedication to public service and civility imbues the week. Tennessee delegate Parin Bhaduri says, “No matter how diverse our backgrounds, political preferences, or beliefs, the delegates and I shared one common creed: our interest in government and determination to participate in public service.” Douglas Stewart of South Carolina reflects, “My fellow delegates taught me so much, but one of the most important lessons I learned was how to have civil discourse. With mutual respect and a willingness to listen without being quick to criticize, even the most sensitive of hot button issues can be discussed. Civil discourse has been pushed to the fringes in current politics, but these friends have shown me that it can be restored.” (© Photo by Jakub Mosur and Erin Lubin)