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The Community of Scholars LLP failed its residents


Clarification: The Community of Scholars (COM) LLP that Chesemore mentions in this piece has since been renamed to The Honors Residential Experience.

I joined the Community of Scholars (COM) freshman year to immerse myself in an environment where I would thrive academically and develop meaningful friendships. I believed that, with a band of scholars packed into a residence hall, I was bound to achieve these goals. 

I was terribly mistaken.

As someone who came from a small school, I worried about the consequences of joining a massive university where I knew few people. To combat this fear, I dedicated my summer to pursuing opportunities that UK offered. One day I stumbled across the Living Learning Programs (LLP) website. 

The screen glowed with paragraphs upon paragraphs upon paragraphs promising “an increased sense of community” and “engagement with faculty, staff, and students.” 

I took the bait, wrote three short essays, and submitted my application for the COM, EdLife, and Creative Arts LLPs. I didn’t think twice about accepting an offer when I received an invitation from the COM LLP. 

The fall semester soon began. Cool air replaced the brutal heat. Amber and crimson-red hues decorated the trees. As months trailed by, I quickly realized the LLP wouldn’t fulfill any of its obligations. 

The COM served as nothing more than a fancy title to embellish our resumes. No connected courses existed. No peer mentors reached out to me. I remember feeling shocked when talking with friends who said their residence halls felt close, and they weren’t even in an LLP. 

My residence hall felt like a pack of strangers forced together, wandering about, awkwardly avoiding eye contact as we squeezed passed each other in the tight hallways. My resident advisor provided the only friendly face. 

I felt cheated. 

If it weren’t for the friendships I developed in student organizations or classes, isolation would have crept in like the bitter November wind. The LLP proved only to heighten my sense of alienation. 

Freshman year stands apart as the most fundamental year of college. It lays the groundwork for the semesters to come. All future experiences depend on how well — or not well — a student handled their time as a freshman.

Freshman year also reigns as the most difficult season of college. Students are whisked away from the comfort of a familiar place and thrust into a whole new world. 

I felt like I had been riding a bike on training wheels my entire life, and suddenly those wheels were snatched away and I was speeding downhill, unable to control the direction or hit the brakes. 

Thus, it becomes even more crucial for UK to help students make new friends, maintain a healthy lifestyle, and receive the academic support they need to flourish. LLPs can serve an excellent purpose in contributing to that goal, but the COM failed to do so, and as a result, residents like me paid the price.

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  • R

    Robert CookSep 19, 2023 at 9:30 am

    As someone who lived in the Kirwan Blanding complex, I have often wondered if the new style dorms make students feel more isolated. My experience in the older style dorm was very social.

  • A

    anonymousSep 18, 2023 at 7:21 pm

    i would say even stemcats failed their llp students. i was a part of it last year and halfway into the year we got the news that it was going to be defunct beginning the 23-24 school year.