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TEDxConcordiaUPortland - Ethan Knight - One Generation

Ethan Knight, executive director and founder of Carpe Diem, would gladly admit that college wasn't for him—at first. During his freshman year, he realized that he wasn't being fulfilled in a meaningful way. This wouldn't do. A self-professed "meaning-junkie," he needed the type of visceral, real-live, heartfelt interactions that couldn't be found in the classroom. So he decided instead to take a "gap year." He traveled and trekked through India, Nepal, Tibet and Thailand; he meditated, volunteered, and found his passion while wringing all of the meaning out of this transformative experience. When he returned, school made sense. He graduated with a dual degree in English and Philosophy and a minor in Environmental Science. Inspired by his own experiential education and all that he learned from it, he began working for programs that helped high school students experience "gap years" of their own. In 2007, Ethan founded Carpe Diem, a non-profit company whose mission is to help students experience a "gap year" of their own. The company has grown to include programs all over the world, and they've also partnered with Portland State University so students can earn college credit during their experiences. In 2009 Ethan founded International Carpe Diem Foundation, which helps students from low-income families with scholarships for experiential education. Right now, he's in the midst of forming an Association for Gap Year providers, "something that will further empower the students we work with to get information, collect data, and of course create a set of standards that the entire industry can benefit from." Ethan believes in the power of education (given the time and money, he'd even go back to school—to study astrophysics!), but he also believes that it's meaningless without passion. "Passion is a better predictor of success than IQ will ever be." In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)
Length: 10:14


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