The benefits of Learning Communities


Lexi Kayser – Staff Writer

Coming to Saint Louis University was one of the best decisions that I’ve ever made, if not the best decision. When I first stepped foot on campus, I knew that I was exactly where I was supposed to be. There was something about the atmosphere that I found to be so warm and inviting; my tour guide waved to someone that she knew every few steps down West Pine, and I longed to be a part of such a familial atmosphere. I went through the orientation process and scholarship weekends with that general feeling of ecstasy that tends to stick around when you know that you’ve found your place in the world.


SLU is, without a doubt, my place.


Yet, I would be lying if I said that I didn’t have a decently sized swarm of butterflies in my stomach coming into an entirely new place with entirely new people. Who wouldn’t? The first few weeks of college are scary and uncertain, composed of blurred lines, confusion and anxiety. I knew this. I didn’t expect to have two entire floors full of friends, study partners and people that I could genuinely trust and turn to.


I didn’t expect it, but it’s exactly what I got.


This is what my learning community, Micah, gave to me. And I am so, so, so incredibly grateful for the experiences and relationships that living in a learning community has granted me.


During my first semester at SLU, I was taking two classes with others in my LC, which was so beneficial for multiple different reasons. Knowing everyone in the class made me feel more comfortable speaking up and voicing my opinion. Our level of comradery made us more likely to vocally explore and contradict each other’s opinions and share deeper, more critical parts of ourselves; this pushed us to new heights in our academic spheres. Furthermore, I always had people to study with. More than a few times, we continued the conversations that were started in the classroom once we dot back to our dorm, which added a new dimension of thoughtfulness to my educational experience.


Our professors also taught the classes in a way that incorporated our learning community activities, so that we could see the effects of what we were learning in the real world. Every week, as a part of our Micah requirements, we go out into the community and serve as tutors, baby-holders and friends to those that need us most. My professors asked me numerous times to write in reflection of my time spent at service, and to tie in our curriculum with the events happening in our everyday lives.


My favorite part of being in a learning community, honestly, is the “community” aspect. Members of Micah have gone to the farmer’s market, the City Museum and the apple orchard together. We drive each other to the grocery store and have game nights in the lounge. We appreciate and push each other in ways that no high school friendships have demonstrated.


The love that fills our learning community can best be described through a story. I had to finish my semester and go home early for personal reasons, but on my birthday, I had to pick up a few things from my dorm room. I expected to grab what I needed and maybe say a quick “hello,” but right when I stepped out of the elevator, I was greeted with a human tunnel, and members of my LC singing “Happy Birthday” to me as I walked through them. Hugs and tears naturally ensued when I saw that they had decorated my room. I have never felt so loved, so treasured, so important as I do in my Micah community.


The opinions on learning communities are mixed. Some people are against them, claiming that they restrict your social circle and place you in a bubble. But, I disagree. Without Micah, I never would have come out of my shell both in and out of the classroom and never would have developed such a vast support system so quickly after coming to college. Highs and lows, peaks and valleys, good times and bad, Micah has been there for me, reminding me that my voice is a voice among many, a voice that matters, a voice that can make a difference.


Living in a learning community has given me a home within a home.


To anyone considering living in a learning community next year: do it. You will find your people, and through them, you will find yourself. It will be the best decision that you’ve ever made.