LEARNING COMMUNITY HELPS STUDENTS NAVIGATE FIRST YEAR OF COLLEGE
Casey Voll (Agribusiness, West Lafayette) and Alaina Weaver (Agribusiness, Roann, IN) are both freshman who participated in the Discovering Agribusiness Learning Community (DALC) during their first semester at Purdue.
“When I accepted my offer at Purdue University, I knew I wanted to join a learning community, however, I was not sure which one I would join," said Casey. "When reading all the possible learning communities that I could join, the DALC resonated with me because it aligned with all the components, I was searching for in a learning community. These components consisted of having the opportunity to meet like-minded people, securing a compatible roommate, and joining a group that would serve as my ‘family’ while I was away at school.”
Alaina had similar thoughts when deciding what learning community to join as she said she decided to join because the DALC was related to her major and it would give her the opportunity to bond with other students and meet new people.
Being a part of the Discovering Agribusiness Learning Community enabled all the students that were a part of it to do exactly what it aims to – open students’ eyes to different Agribusiness opportunities. Entering Purdue is often stressful for freshman as they try to navigate their new major and figure out their career goals. Through the DALC and the career exploration that came along with it, these students were able to open their eyes to many new things in agriculture that they may want to pursue in the future. Casey said regarding this learning community experience, “Resultantly, my interests in certain careers, such as Ag Investing, have been sparked and fortified.”
Each student had a different favorite event of the semester from their time in the learning community. For Alaina, it was the weekly lunches with guest speakers and the Fair Oaks trip. She mentioned, “I have enjoyed meeting with this group each week throughout the semester and have also enjoyed getting to meet professors, advisors and other members of the Ag Econ Department.” For Casey, it was the visit to LeeAnn’s house with the Ag Econ Envoys and the Fair Oaks trip. “Each of these events were a fantastic experience that enabled the members of our learning community to bond with each other, industry workers, and upperclassmen who serve as mentors to us. Both events, because of the wholesome experience they provided, have served as the highlights for my time in the DALC.”
Not only were they able to meet with industry leaders and enjoy fun experiences, but they were also able to create a group bond that will last them all of college. Alaina mentioned, “I was surprised how much I bonded with some of the members from this learning community and how fast we all connected and started sitting together in classes and doing other things together.” Casey said, “When reflecting on this experience, I will recall the family-like bond that was formed between those in the learning community and how that bond developed into lifelong friendships, shoulders to lean on in times of struggle, people to share successes with, and avenues to accomplish the tasks others won’t attempt.”
Overall, based on their experiences both Casey and Alaina will recommend this learning community experience to future Ag Econ students. They both said that not only is this a great way to make connections and learn about careers in the industry, but it is also a terrific way to make lifelong friends.