Kaitlyn Varner

Kaitlyn gains connections through learning community

Kaitlyn, along with other freshmen enrolled in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies, began her college career with HD FS 110, a required orientation class that serves as a learning community.

The group met the Sunday before classes started, and Kaitlyn appreciated the immediate social atmosphere.

“The first day was like a social,” she said. “We introduced ourselves to the group and were divided up based on which dorms we lived in.”     

In the small group, Kaitlyn bonded with a fellow family consumer sciences education and studies major. The two discovered they shared some classes and planned to meet up later. This classmate became one of Kaitlyn’s best friends.

“I was lucky enough to meet someone in my major that lived in the same dorm as me,” she said. “And next semester she is going to be my roommate.”

In addition to making connections with students, Kaitlyn also enjoyed getting to know professors outside the classroom through planned activities like bonfires and field trips to different on-campus resources.

“Sometimes professors can be intimidating, so it’s nice to see them in a different setting,” she said. “Here I saw them as real people.”

The class itself lasted only a semester, but Kaitlyn said her learning community experiences continue to help her today.

“It’s not required to do stuff outside of class, but it’s beneficial,” she said. “The contacts, resources, information, and rapport are all valuable.”