When I arrived at Georgetown, I began a new chapter in my life. I was excited to be transferring out of the community college where I began my higher education because my Korean high school credits were not accepted, ready to study what I wanted and give it my all. Georgetown was going to be the “real deal,” so to speak.

The bubble burst when I realized that not everyone shared the same vision of what college, and especially dorm life, should be. I contacted the housing director, who then introduced me to Living and Learning Communities.

LLCs are community dorms where students gather with a particular theme or common belief. Students who live on these floors are often perceived by regular dorm residents as being insular and somehow outside normal college life. The Living Well community, in particular, is characterized as boring. The “no-alcohol, no-smoking” policy leads many students to label the community as “no fun.”

I, a non-smoker and non-drinker, was simply happy to have secured a spot in Living Well, located on the eighth floor of Kennedy Hall. At the time, however, I did not know I would be living on that floor voluntarily for the remainder of my Georgetown years. After living in the Living Well community for a year, I could not find any other place on campus that matched what I found there.

We are truly a community. Living Well residents are not only respectful hall mates, but they have also become my good — if not my best — friends. I’m not sure how this bond was created so fast, but whether there was a formal event or not, we would naturally begin to gather in our common room in the evenings, play some music, sing along and talk about politics or our lives. As a community, were always there for each other, to entertain, encourage and endorse.
Another benefit of our community is that LLC communities receive more funds than regular dorms. Our floor is provided with funds large enough to organize various beneficial programs and events, including free chair massages during finals, free yoga sessions, healthy food cooking demonstrations by Leo’s staff and — thanks to our extremely involved members — visits by faculty members, Jesuits and even foreign service officers.

Whoever said that no drinking and no smoking equals no fun should spend some time with our community. I have indeed “lived well” on my Living Well floor, enjoying each and every moment, probably more so than if I had stayed on a regular floor. I hear many students don’t know who lives down the hall, or even next door. One may argue that floor acquaintances aren’t necessary and that friends can exist anywhere else — and I agree. Yet I was blessed with this special gift when I arrived at Georgetown — a great place to live with a group of friends who were always there for me.

In the future, when I look back on my days at Georgetown, even with all the academic and daily stress, I will recall only those moments filled with warmth. At the end of last semester, the common room was all of a sudden filled with Christmas decorations. There was a Christmas tree, rows of Christmas dolls sitting by the windows and Christmas lights, each brought by different residents even though no one had asked them to decorate the place. The Living Well floor for me has always been like this unexpected Christmas present. Whenever I return to school, whether it’s from a long break, a weekend-long conference or an evening class, there’s always a group of friends waiting for me. If Georgetown has become my second home, the Living Well community has become my family, and will be for as long as I’m there.

Rachel Park is a junior in the School of Foreign Service.

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