A common fear of prospective students is that they’ll be isolated if they join the RC, and it is understandable. RC students live and learn in East Quad, which is true to a certain extent, but this portrayal of the RC experience can make students seem sequestered from the rest of the university. A great thing about the RC is that students have a lot of freedom in choosing how much or little they want to be involved in the community; this all depends on a number of factors that I’ll touch on in this piece. Personally, I have found this idea of isolation to be untrue, and hopefully, I can help ease the worry of prospective students by talking about my experience.
While RC students do take RC classes, ultimately, the number of RC classes someone takes depends on each person’s requirements and area(s) of study. The RC classes that most people take are usually language classes, as an RC graduation requirement is to have completed one of the five RC language sequences—Spanish, French, German, Japanese, and Russian—unless the student has opted to take a non-RC language offered through LSA. Students who decide to pursue an RC major will also be taking a lot more RC classes compared to those with LSA majors. For example, because my majors (Cognitive Science and American Culture) and subsequent classes are through LSA, my classes give me the opportunity to meet non-RC students and professors. Nonetheless, even if a student pursues an RC major, it is rare to have a semester with only RC classes, as RC students are still LSA students and have LSA graduation requirements to fulfill as well.
RC students are required to live in East Quad for their first year, but beyond that, they have the option of living off-campus. Whether it be an apartment, a house, or a co-op, living off-campus is an excellent way to meet non-RC students. I currently live in a house of six people, four of which are not in the RC! The University also has many opportunities outside of classes that foster a sense of community on campus, such as through student clubs and organizations. These are great ways to meet new people around campus that share similar interests and cultures as you! I’m involved in the Taiwanese American Student Association (TASA), and we hold many outreach events that allow me to connect with students from all over campus. I’m also involved in Groove, which is an “avant-garde percussion and performance group,” as described by a fellow Groover, that features non-traditional percussion instruments, such as buckets, trash cans, and ladders. Through Groove, I have met so many wonderful people, some of whom are in the RC but most are not.
That being said, this was all just my experience. I think it truly depends on the person because after all, your RC—and college—experience is what you make of it.