The summer after I graduated from high school, I had a laser focus: make sure to get the right courses for my first year in college. You see, when I went to college, there was no such thing as pre-registration. There was no picking courses ahead of time online. One steamy August morning I showed up at eight AM at an ancient, pre-air conditioning gymnasium on the campus of the University of Maryland. Sweating and in a continual state of panic, I, and thousands of other students spent all day in that old gym. Standing in one line after another, we were praying to get the right class, at the right time, with the right professor. Late in the afternoon, I staggered out into the sun, clutching my class schedule in a shaky hand. I was limp, terribly hungry, and emotionally scarred, but I had my courses.

     Of course, Brian is from another generation. He represents a generation that understands that education is part of the process of personal empowerment. They also understand that there are many paths to personal empowerment. For Brian, his path purposely lead away from formal education for a year.

     This is the story of Brian's year of service.

  Brian's Year  (7:03)

     Brian's story, fortunately, is not unique. Many other young people of his generation are choosing to explore diverse avenues of service to our country and the world. The fact that Brian, and increasingly many of his contemporaries, have a global view of responsibility and choose to exercise that responsibility by volunteering to serve in positive and humane ways anywhere in the world, makes a tremendously optimistic statement about the future.