I initially took a service-learning course because I thought it would it be an interesting extension of the work I had done in high school and wanted to continue doing in college. By that point, I also knew that I would be spending the summer on a service-learning project, so I wanted to be prepared as possible both academically and personally.
My experiences with service-learning courses were mixed. While I appreciated the opportunity to serve, I personally didn't see it integrated into the classroom as effectively as I think it could have been. As a result, towards the end of both classes, I became very interested in and reflective about the pedagogy behind service-learning. I attended lectures on the topic and talked to various professors about it, among other things. I think this questioning was really important for me as I went on to different service-learning and civic engagement projects---to critically examine my actions and form my own (but informed) opinions.
My service-learning experiences both inside and outside the classroom have led to academic and personal interests and growth. Probably most relevant to other Duke students, it's made me ask myself, how can I maximize the impact of my service in a thoughtful and informed way? This guides my current activities and decisions at Duke as I try to integrate what I've learned from service-learning into my life and actively make changes. In that sense, I've found service-learning an invaluable part of my Duke experience.