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What is the Balance Learning Community?

Posted on 4/10/2021 9:54:36 PM by Amber Berkheimer

As a freshman at Cabrini, you can participate in one of the many Learning Communities (LC) or Living Learning Communities (LLC). This is part of the first-year experience, and it will help you to better adjust to college and make friends early on in the semester. These LCs and LLCs include Academic and Career Exploration LLC, Balance Learning Community, Cabrini Cruisers, Communication Learning Community, The Educators Learning Community, Honors LLC, Leadership LLC, The Men of Color Leadership Academy - to name a few! You can see the whole list here.

Each of these cohorts has a specific topic that classes and activities revolve around (and if you are in a Living Learning Community, you will also live in the same residence hall as your peers) – some are specific to majors, others are specific to learning skills that will make your first year easier to navigate. As part of my first-year experience, I was a part of the Balance Learning Community. This is my honest, unfiltered review of my LC, of the faculty who run it, and the overall experience.

For your first semester in the Balance LC, you will be enrolled in COL 101 and AST 206 (Conflict and Cooperation). This LC and these classes are designed to assist in your transition from high school to college. The core focus is learning to balance your school life with your social life, your alone time, and much more. You learn to conduct yourself with a mental and physical balance.

In COL 101 with Dr. Crocetto, we learned about ourselves and others as we prepared for this new journey of higher education that we were about to embark on. We also learned how to make time for our many responsibilities and priorities while making time for ourselves and not getting overwhelmed in the process. I will be the first to say, Dr. Crocetto is extremely helpful and patient. No matter what problem you have, and no matter what time of the day, you can reach out to her, and she will help you happily. I was very thankful to have Dr. Crocetto as my advisor for the first semester of my first year. She made my experience a breeze!

AST 206 is taught by Dr. Watterson and Si Fu Lan Tran. In this class, you learn spatial awareness, physical balance, and deep listening. You also will practice “learning to learn.” Si Fu Lan Tran is a martial arts instructor, and he, alongside Dr. Watterson, will teach you to stay centered and push yourself to limits you never thought you could conquer. These two professors will teach you how to respond to conversations about academic topics thoughtfully, how to add your input collaboratively, and how to listen deeply to what others have to share. Both Si Fu Lan Tran and Dr. Watterson are so friendly and supportive, you can go to them for help with any topic, and they will help you understand more thoroughly. They work so well together to provide a quality education for all students, and they majorly impacted my first year by strengthening my writing and communication skills.

In your second semester of freshman year, you will be enrolled in AST 250 (Capoeira and the Arts of Resistance and Empowerment) and ECG 100. AST 250 is led by Dr. Watterson and Mr. Martell Oliver. In this course, you will learn about the traditional game of Capoeira. Not only will you learn of the history and meaning behind the art, but you will also learn movements, songs, and instruments that are incorporated into the Afro-Brazilian game. You will have the opportunity to watch players of Capoeira practice while learning to go outside of your comfort zone and try something new to immerse yourself in the culture better you are learning about.


Again, I only have positive comments to make about Dr. Watterson. She is so responsive and thoughtful when grading work, and she helps you to feel comfortable contributing in a group setting. When we began this school year, many of us in this learning community were timid to speak up amongst the class, but in April, we are all eager to add our thoughts to group discussions and healthily debate with one another. Mr. Martell Oliver is a great role model and a great mentor to look up to. He eases us into the art of Capoeira and makes it a fun learning experience for the beginners that we all are.

ECG 100 was taught by Ellie Knickman this semester. She is one of the librarians at Cabrini, and she is truly insightful to listen to and learn from. She taught us how to study and research Afro-Brazilian culture, Capoeira, women in Capoeira, and other topics. She is very helpful when offering feedback on work, and she will push you to be the student that she knows you will evolve to be.

Overall, being a part of the Balance LC this year was an immersive, one-of-a-kind experience. We learned about others and ourselves, and we learned to appreciate all that our peers had to bring to the table. We were such a diverse group of students, and it worked so well as we were able to share and relate to different experiences and stories from each other.

I have grown to become a stronger writer and student because of this community and the faculty, and I am thankful that Cabrini offers such an experience to first-year students if this sounds like something that would interest you, join the Balance LC freshman year and try it out for yourself!