I remember how nervous and excited I was during my first year move in day. One of the first people I met while huge football players helped me carry my belongings into my room was my RA, Kayla. Immediately, Kayla made my family and I feel a lot more calm about the chaos that was taking over the first floor of Desautels Hall. My dad has a terrible memory, and he still remembers exactly how much he loved meeting Kayla because of her enthusiasm and passion in assuring us it would be a great year.
Going into my sophomore year, I knew I wasn’t ready to take on the responsibilities that came with a position in Residential Life. The following year, as a rising Junior, I decided that I was up for the challenge and excited to see if I could become an RA.
I received word last spring that I had been placed on the second floor of Alumni Hall as part of the staff for Alumni and Des. I was thrilled. I remember calling a lot of different people and being overjoyed in the car with my sister and best friend. I knew in that moment that even though I was nervous about being an RA, there was a huge part of me that wanted to be like Kayla and have that amazing and long lasting impact.
My other friends who were RAs also talked about how much they loved their jobs and that despite the challenges, the rewards were always worth it. This past summer, I participated in training after training to prepare me to be an RA. But, if there is one thing anyone in Res Life will tell you, it’s that nothing prepares you as much as actually going through it.
First year move in day arrived and I anxiously waited to meet my residents. Soon, they became more than just names I wrote on door tags. I began to learn about their personalities and who they were as people. Through roommate contracts and floor meetings I’ve learned about their pet-peeves and what they are looking forward to most about college.
There are times where I feel overcome with stress because of how busy I am, but going back to my room after a long day and seeing a note on my whiteboard from my residents, or having them say hi to me around campus makes me smile.
Every day there are new challenges and ups and downs, but I know that being an RA has already changed me so much. I have grown into a stronger leader and have learned skills that will undoubtedly help me in the future. I’m happy and proud to be a part of a strong staff of people who are supportive and wonderful to work with. My fellow RAs have become some of my closest friends and they’ve seen me through sickness and stress but also lots of fun times.
My residents are also a huge part of why I love my job. I take pride in the fact that they see me as someone they can talk to and trust. There’s nothing better than having one of them knock on your door just to say hi or chat about a funny moment that happened in their class that day. I also love seeing them interact with one another and form amazing friendships not only with their roommates, but with the other people on their floor.
If you’re thinking about applying to become an RA later this year, my advice is to go for it. I was on the fence and unsure if I could handle such a big job, but challenging myself has brought me to a great community and a better understanding of my own abilities and I am so grateful to have this opportunity.