My latest stint in DC showed me the importance of being well-rounded. People would walk around saying things like, "Well what do you think about the ____ bill, because this, this, and this." And I would read the paper daily, but still had no idea of what was going on in the world.
Educated citizens have the ability to make a difference in their society, and by educated, I don't mean has-a-college-degree. By knowing about a few details about a variety of topics, one is able to network with others.
Being completely honest: Washington DC is a massive club. It's not what you know- it's who you know. Therefore, if you have some knowledge about a topic, this person may want to network. Networking NEVER hurts the individual...especially if you simply listen.
So here is Serena's advice for being remotely well-rounded (especially after doing hours of homework):
1. Visit Museums. Take notice of the people around you. Take a tour (I will mention: I took my brother to a abstract art museum in LA, and he was much better entertained after a tour....however, he still didn't see a point :-P). Learn something different.
2. Talk to people. Listen to their stories. I've talked to extreme liberals and extreme conservatives. Both sides have very valid points. I've also met people who have traveled to world, and met wonderful people. It made me appreciate people so much more.
3. Scan the newspaper. At first, you'll probably have to Google everyone's names and read the entire story. But after a week or two, you'll get the gist and have a general understanding of what's going on around you.
4. Occasionally, read a FUN book. My personal brain candy consists of fictional books containing characters that live in New York. (I often read the 1/2 hour before bed). Many times, the protagonists/authors (they are one in the same) are from New York, went to some prestigious school, and are writers. It often lets me think about an alternate life...