Coming from a pretty small community back home, it was hard to even picture myself at such a big school like UM. There were so many majors and clubs and opportunities, and I was nervous about how hard it would be for me to find my place among the chaos. 

I spent hours scouring UM websites trying to narrow down my interests and find a first-year program that would be a good fit. Some friends that I went to high school with mentioned the RC, so when I came to my first Campus Day, I made it a point to try to figure out what it looks like to be part of the RC. Most of my questions were along the lines of:

Lauren posing with friends at the first football game of the year.

Ultimately, what I found in asking these sorts of questions was that each person had a different response. Phrases like “a student-driven school” and a “home away from home” were tossed around a lot, but it was still hard for me to picture what my RC experience would look like.

Looking back on that experience, I think my answer would also be very different than the ones I had heard. What I found to love and appreciate so much about the RC is how diverse of a community it is to be a part of. There are no requirements for joining, and as a result, there are RC students from all over the country and the world who have a wide array of interests and passions. Though the RC is considered to be a small liberal arts “college within a college”, the program itself allows students the freedom to pursue whatever path they choose while also emphasizing the importance of being “community-minded”.

The one commonality that you will find with almost every RC student that you speak to is a strong sense of “community-mindedness”. This became clear to me during my very first week in the RC. Everyone was so eager to get to know one another, asking each other questions about what language they would be studying this semester, and one girl even brought homemade cookies for everyone in our hall. On any given day in the RC, you’ll find students walking together while practicing French, you’ll hear someone jamming on the piano in the lounge, and on any given Friday night, you may notice a group of your hallmates headed downstairs to watch a performance in the Keene theater. I remember the feeling of looking out into the audience at my final concert for my Chinese Instruments and Ensembles class (an amazing RC course by the way!) and seeing students from my Spanish class there to support me! 

What I have found is that RC students seem to share a common support for one another. They support each other's art, attend each other's performances, and work together on projects outside of the classroom that promote social justice. As a result, I have found that the RC is a place for all who truly want to be here. Every student has a unique story of who they are and what they aspire to do during their time at Michigan. In my experience as an RC student, I feel that it’s important for RC students to know that the RC is a place where they will always be supported and surrounded by community no matter what their interests are!


About the author

Senior RC student Lauren Rainey is from Belleville, Michigan. Through the RC she studied Spanish, and is majoring in Law, Justice, and Social Change with a minor in Arab and Muslim American Studies. Outside of academics, she’s involved in Young Life College at Michigan, fneUM Nicaragua, the Ginsberg Community Leadership Fellows, is Vice President of the LEAD Scholars Advisory Board, and is a Residential College Admissions Assistant. Lauren was drawn to the RC because of her passion for language learning and her desire to be a part of a close-knit community.