My Student EXP: Support and Success in TLC

Starting college was a scary experience for Micaela Hammond, but it was The Learning Community that made her first semester at Loyola Marymount University a successful one.

Now Micaela is a student leader for The Learning Community (TLC), a program committed to first-year African American student success by cultivating leaders, instilling community consciousness and promoting academic and co-curricular success at LMU. This past weekend, TLC welcomed its 2017 class of 35 new students to the bluff for the three-week-long Summer Program. The program kicks off the TLC experience by helping participants become familiar with the campus and its resources to create a smooth transition into the first year at LMU.

Micaela Hammond, junior

Major: Screenwriting

Hometown: Pasadena, California

At first, I was hesitant to apply for the TLC program because started three weeks prior to the start of the semester because that meant I would be leaving all of my family and friends earlier than planned. However, the reason why I joined the TLC cohort is because I wanted to learn more about being an African-American woman at LMU.

I didn’t realize that joining would be such an eye opening experience. The TLC program not only prepared me for life at LMU, but also provided resources that would guide me through “life off the bluff.” Coming from a high school where the African American community was not well connected, I did not see influential members of the black community that were my age. TLC showed me that even in college, I could be a leader in the black community.

Starting college was one of the scariest experiences of my life. I had so many people looking up to me to make a difference. Without the guidance of The Learning Community, I would not have had a successful first semester at college. My passion for the program motivated me to work during the summer as a Student Coordinator. In this position, my job was to construct a fun, educational, and enlightening experience for the incoming TLC cohort transitioning into the LMU life.

TLC showed me that even in college, I could be a leader in the black community.

This summer, I am working as a Student Manager for the TLC program. My role is to oversee and develop programming which includes overseeing on- and off-campus activities, budget and transportation. As student manager, I manage five co-office staff members and help mentor them through other areas of programming such as recruitment and selection. In this mentoring role, I make sure to implement the learning goals of the TLC program that I learned coming in as a freshman. 

After participating in TLC and then working for the program, I can truly appreciate the influence that this program has on LMU’s black community. The freshmen joining the program are leaving their families behind and moving into a completely new environment. TLC has the opportunity to cultivate a lasting impression that has personally prepared me not only for my undergraduate experience, but also post-undergraduate experience as well. My time here at LMU has consisted some of the happiest, saddest and toughest periods of my life. The Learning Community surrounded me with support every step of the way.

By Lester Leon