Here at Loyola, we have Learning Communities. There are currently 7 on campus: Greenhouse, First Year Research Experience (FYRE), International, Leadership for Social Change, Multicultural, Service and Faith, and Wellness, and there’s Honors and Business Honors. I’m currently in the Leadership for Social Change Learning Community. Each LC is tailored for specific interests and allows you to get to know other people with similar interests. For me, being in an LC is one of the best decisions I’ve made. Here are 10 things I’ve learned from being in a learning community at Loyola University Chicago.
1. You make a lot of friends fast
First thing at the beginning of the year, you get to know everyone in your LC. So I knew most people on my floor and on the floor above me within the first week of being at Loyola. I knew everyone I was running into in the bathroom or in the lounge. It eased the awkwardness of trying to meet new people a little. While the first week or so, while we were all still trying to get know each other and remember names, was a little awkward it got a lot better faster than non LC floors.
2. You become close with everyone
Even if you don’t hang out with everyone in the LC, you’ll probably say hi when you see them in the hallway. You live with them and have to take the same required classes. Because Loyola isn’t a huge school, I occasionally end up in the same class with at least one of them and that always makes the class a lot better because I know someone in the class. The only downside to being friends with my floor is it’s very easy to get distracted by conversations in the lounge or games of Cards Against Humanity that last until midnight and I “accidentally” forget to do my homework and other responsibilities.
3. The LC becomes a sort of support system
Everyone is there for each other. Whether you need some support or need to vent, someone will be there. If you need homework help, there’s a good chance that someone on the floor knows what to do and can help. It makes late night studying so much better. We all show up to support each other, like if one of us is in something on campus, at least 5 people in the LC will show up to support.
4. You have required courses that aren’t awful
Most of the classes are core or cover some requirement, like Engaged Learning. While the class on it’s own would’ve been awful, with the LC it was a lot better. We formed study groups before big tests. Class discussion happened because we all know each other and are more comfortable sharing. It might not be great for the professor, because we got off topic a lot, but it did remind me of a high school class that you had with all of your friends.
5. You have mandatory meetings
The meetings cover different topics and, while they aren’t always the best, it’s fun because your friends are there with you. They aren’t terribly long and they aren’t that often. There’s always free food, and they don’t last that long. Plus, you’re encouraged to take the leftover food.
6. And the occasional fun outing
We have LC sponsored outings on occasion, to places like the History Museum or to Christkindlemarket. Because the outings are sponsored, they’re free to go on. These outings aren’t mandatory, but they are a lot of fun if you can make it.
7. You become close with your RA
Our RA is like our mom. She helps organize events for the LC. On multiple occasions she will join us on a vent-fest on our floor lounge. If we’re both alone and see each other in the dining hall, we sit together. She made the transition to college very easy and answered any questions we have. I don’t know if this is what it’s like in all LC’s, but I know this is what it’s like in mine.
8. Because we all chose the same the LC, we have similar interests and values
We don’t all agree on every single thing, but there is a lot of common ground. You can usually count on at least one other person in whatever club you join or find someone else who’s interested in some activity in the city.
9. You learn a lot on whatever LC you’re in
Because I’m in the Leadership LC, I’ve learned a lot on different leadership styles. One of the classes I need is Intro to Leadership and I’ve been learning a lot on different kinds and different ways to be a leader. I know that it’s really improved my skills. No matter what LC you’re in, you learn general skill sets that apply to either your major, interests, or something that will help you later on in life.
10. It’s one of the best choices I could’ve made
It’s been one of the best decisions I’ve made. It made the transition from high school to college so much easier. It basically forced me to make friends at the beginning of the year and made me keep up relationships with people. I can honestly say that my first year wouldn’t have been as great as it was without being in the LC.