The Journal of College & University Student Housing Vol. 47 No. 1 - 55

Relationships and Learning Beyond the Classroom

These interactions were impactful because
they helped students see themselves as intellectuals and understand that being a lifelong
learner necessarily extends beyond the classroom. The students gained from deeper life interactions an understanding of how to engage
in intellectual discussion to make meaning out
of topics as diverse as gender identity, music,
computers, and books.

" My Second Family " : Connection
While the typology of faculty-student interaction presented above was useful for examining interactions the students had with FIRs,
the participants also addressed these relationships in ways that moved beyond this typology. One participant, for example, suggested
that the FIR program was a " great way to put
people together who might otherwise feel left
out. " Another participant suggested, " I have
the feeling that some of the people who come
[to the FIR programs] just feel disconnected
maybe to the campus as well, like I did at first. "
Participants who reported feeling " left out " or
" disconnected " also described their relationships with FIRs in familial terms: One student
characterized the FIRs as " my second family, "
and another reported that spending time with
FIRs was " like a family reunion. "
The familial nature of these relationships
allowed the FIRs to help students through
their common challenges. One participant
summarized this aspect of the FIR program:
" It shows you the face of the campus. It shows
you that I picked a really good campus to be
at, and going forward you can start pushing
on that energy. " In some cases, participants
who originally felt disconnected from the
campus community gained connections and

social confidence through the FIR programs;
they began to form new friend groups and
join other clubs and organizations on campus.
The students maintained contact with the
FIRs and socialized with them on campus but
would eventually attend formal FIR activities
less frequently.

. . . as FIRs and students build
deeper relationships, the sustained
interactions that result open
opportunities for FIRs to serve
as intellectual role models and
sources of sustained support. In
other words, social and academic
interactions may be mutually
reinforcing in the context of
meaningful and productive
relationships among FIRs and
students.

Students attending FIR programming less
frequently, according to our analysis, was in
some cases the result of their gaining connections and social confidence and moving on
from the FIR programs, which had previously
provided needed social support during a period
of social isolation. Three students in the study,
for example, suggested that the FIRs were " my

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Journal of College & University Student Housing Vol. 47 No. 1

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Journal of College & University Student Housing Vol. 47 No. 1

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