In my experience, branching out of the books helps me understand academics more. My freshman year in high school, my grades were atrocious. We’re talking failing math and German—atrocious. If you’d asked me then, I would’ve said it was because the teacher was too tough or I wasn’t smart enough but the truth is, my experience of the world was too small. We all learn best in association with things we already know. As my base of knowledge grew through my interactions with the world, I had some medium to learn through. Somewhere between navigating wary social waters and plowing my way through mountains of books, I became a person. As a person I grew, learned study habits, practiced them nightly, and applied what I was learning to my life, and vice versa. I don’t want to reach college and skim the surface but not understand the weight of learning. When I take a history course, I want to know what those places are like now, and there is no doubt in my mind that my experiences with Global Citizen Year will make the lesson stick stronger and become more meaningful.