Learner’s seminary environment is an interesting one. It’s not a ridiculously big student population (say over 25,000 like his undergraduate experience was) in which one sees mostly different people everytime one walks outside. Instead, walking around on this small campus of twenty acres, the faces remain mostly the same, enabling more familiarity and (sometimes awkwardly) community.
There is very much a sense of safety and trust, with bags and laptops and the like being left on tables for longer-than-usual periods of time without much thought given to the possibility of theft (Learner’s family have yet to lock the door of their three-bedroom apartment or their two vehicles in the parking lot). The facilities are well-kept (though Learner has been disappointed in the student body’s sense of responsibility for trash), and while there are rules and guidelines in place, none seem peculiarly over-the-top in terms of legalism.
Other observations? People are very focused, not at all like the undergrad world. Men are here to study; women are here to ensure that the men can (and do). Children serve as both distraction and relief from the workload, and literally all parents seem to care and have great concern about the children being here, not just from a perspective of making sure they are not hit by a driver in the parking lot, but that the children are mindful and respectful of others with whom they interact in any and every situation.
With a range of ages anywhere from 22-52 in campus apartments, seminary is a unique environment for studying and living to be sure. Differing marital statuses (in every campus apartment building there is one apartment reserved for singles among the families occupying the rest) and a variety of backgrounds and nationalities round out the demographic makeup of the student body.
If groceries and worship were not a consideration, one could go for months never leaving the property (a thought that appealed to Learner and his family from the very beginning, though they have “gotten out” plenty of times since moving in three weeks ago). Still, they recognize this existence for what it is – a novel one they probably will never experience again in the course of their lifetime as a family – and thus are pinching themselves trying to comprehend it.
Enjoying and making the most of this environment is precisely what makes studying and living here so easy…and so hard.