The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 36

Shannon R. Dean * Stephanie L. Dailey

Those friends that I made . . . we are still
friends now. We always hang out, and I know
that I can go to them with my little science
complaints that no one else can understand. I
still have those initial friends, and they're my
closest ones.
Another social benefit of the LLC community, beyond close companionship, was being
able to take the same classes with their group
of friends. Many participants, like Hannah,
talked about collaborating with friends to
align their course schedules so they could be
partners in class. Even beyond their first year
of living together, Olivia talked about taking
classes with her LLC cohort, which made her
coursework more fun. Participants also benefited from the social component of the LLC
because the community forced them out of
their comfort zones to meet diverse students.
Melissa shared how she learned to interact
with "very diverse personalities," and Jack said
the LLC offered him different social "perspectives with other students."

Social challenges. Although the LLC provided an opportunity for camaraderie, taking
classes with friends, and engaging in experiences with diverse perspectives, there were
also several social challenges associated with
the community. Thirteen students (57%)
shared that the LLC created isolated friendships and inhibited their ability to bond with
others outside the community. As Cullen
admitted, "Because we had a tight group of
friends, I didn't really branch out as much to
other people." Similarly, Luke shared that the
LLC made it "harder to get outside advice and
make connections across the different students" and that he "limited himself" by only
making friends with other LLC students.

36

Students' Experiences in a STEM LLC

Interestingly, participants seemed aware
of a stigma attached to being an LLC student.
Emily said "they thought we were weird,"
whereas Jana knew "people would describe
us as clique-ish." Hannah self-proclaimed the
group as "antisocial" and "hated." Sophie disclosed, "We were the big elite clique that knew
everything . . . and a force to be reckoned with,
I guess, looking from the outside."

dents unintentionally created barriers for them
to make friends outside of the community.

them to make friends outside of the

Another social drawback of the LLC was
that many students often became annoyed
with other students, and, because they were
all part of the same community, they could
not escape those with whom they had dissension. Several participants believed they got sick
of fellow LLC students because of the sheer
amount of time they spent together, like Holly,
who complained of being "stuck with the same
people  .  .  .  in the same routine." Megan confided, "You go to the same classes, and you get
friction. . . . People would get annoyed with
each other because you saw them every day
and especially being in a community together
.  .  .  science people are very high strung and
uptight and wound up."

community.

Personal Benefits and Challenges

Both the emotional and physical
closeness of the LLC students
unintentionally created barriers for

Many students in the LLC attributed their
social isolation to the physical nature of their
community, cut off from other floors in their
building. As Jack described,
We all lived on that one floor, and it's kind of
weird because it is an isolated island because
it's not connected to any other floor. It's not
easy to actually get to it . . . they're like "that's
the island of science kids . . ." everyone on
the floor is a science LLCer . . . you definitely
stand out if you're not an LLCer . . . it's kind
of hard to make other friends outside of it
because you have to go to the other floors and
meander around.
Harry stated that some LLC participants
"wished they were more connected to more of
the building or other people." Both the emotional and physical closeness of the LLC stu-

THE JOURNAL OF COLLEGE AND UNIVERSITY STUDENT HOUSING

Although most of the participants reflected on
the positive personal effects of the LLC, they
also noted some limitations.

Personal benefits. Thirteen participants
(57%) felt they benefited from the LLC
because of the personal connections they
made with faculty. Specifically, they indicated
that their experiences in the LLC helped them
feel more comfortable around professors so
they could establish friendships with them.
Luke suggested that informally interacting
with faculty members during LLC activities,
such as having lunch with professors, "took
the intimidation factor out of it." Similarly,
Cameron joked that by eating with faculty
members, he realized, "Oh, hey, you're an
actual person. You eat. I don't have to be so
scared . . . It helped me to ease my anxiety of
talking to the professors."

As relationships with faculty blossomed,
LLC students felt that their professors
genuinely cared about their well-being. Grace
shared how faculty were "always asking how
you're doing," and Erik commented, "If I
haven't been in class more than two days in two
weeks, they're like, 'Are you okay? Is everything
fine?' I'm like, 'Yes, I overslept!'" Because of
these interactions, many professors became
mentors to LLC students. Megan explained
how one faculty member "became a mentor to
me in every aspect of my life . . . Anytime I have
good news, she's the first person that I call, like
my second mom."
In addition to personally benefiting from
relationships with faculty, 10 participants
(43%) believed that the LLC eased their transition to college, allowing them to "find their
place" and "establish ourselves" (Sophie).
Others commented on how LLC participation
"eased [their] anxiety coming to college . . . as
a first-generation college student" (Cameron),
helped with "getting adjusted to college"
(Lucy), assisted them in "getting off the starting block" (Harry), and facilitated an "introduction to [the college town]" (William).
Participants seemed to be more personally involved on campus because of the LLC.
Hannah explained that without the LLC,
I just don't think my résumé would be as
long as it is. I've had so many opportunities
because of the community . . . I don't think
I would've done as much as I have done in
these four years if I wasn't in the community.
So, it's helped me tremendously.
Lucy also felt that "the LLC has helped me join
organizations, like the Academy of Science
[and] Women in Science." Several participants
also talked about their experiences as resident
V O L U M E 4 6 , NO. 2 * 2 0 2 0

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The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2

Contents
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - Intro
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