5 things your RAs would really like you to know

Freshmen like to claim that their roommate, or someone living on their floor, was the first person they met as they moved into college.

But they’re overlooking the first person they really talked to (and the one I think is the most important) – their resident assistant.

RAs are the backbone of the residence hall, working nonstop before students move in, during the semester and even after move-out to create a fun, inclusive environment for everyone who lives in the building.

We do not do this job for the perks (cause trust me, at CofC the perks are minimal) but because we want to support students, so they can succeed while at school.

And while there are plenty of students who tell us to our faces they don’t have the slightest clue who their RAs are, if we are able to help relieve stress or help solve a problem, then we are happy.

Whether you actively interact with us, or do not even know we exist, here are five things your RAs would like you to know.

Please – oh pretty please – do not rip down our decorations.

To you it may just look like pieces of paper taped to the wall or stapled to a bulletin board, but we work really hard on this stuff.

Your RAs try to make the residence hall as homey and inviting as possible, and decorations make the building way less prison-like than the bare white walls.

The bulletin boards may occasionally be on the educational side, but we attempt to make them as punny and meme-like as possible.

So the next time you come back from a late night out, leave the paper chains on the ceiling and the bulletins on the board. Thank you.

Mandatory meetings always have essential information. Always.

Your RAs realize you are busy (we are too), but if it were not important, we would not be having the meeting.

Since most of you sign the housing agreement without first reading it, going over the rules with you will help keep you out of trouble later.

If you really cannot make the meeting, let us know beforehand and we’ll tell you what you need to know.

But do not come to us the next day asking what you missed at the mandatory meeting. This tells us you knew it was important but did not care enough to actually come.

The meetings are short and informative, so go to them!

We are not trying to get you in trouble.

Some residents only interact with their RAs when they are caught breaking a rule and associate the RA as the reason they are getting in trouble.

But we do not get you in trouble, you do.

We tell you the rules at the previously mentioned mandatory meetings, we post them around the building and we give you warnings for minor offenses.

And your RAs do not go looking for infractions. Unless you are very obvious about it, most likely we will never know.

Broken rules involve paperwork, and we only do that paperwork when we absolutely must.

The job makes us appear weird.

We are loud, we are energetic and we laugh the most at our own jokes, but we were not always like this.

Our personalities slightly embodied these traits before we were RAs, but they became amplified to help survive the job.

An RA is one of the few jobs where it is accepted and also expected for us to be weird, so we can attract residents to our events, make residents smile or even roll their eyes at us if they are having a bad day.

Wearing so many hats – such as student, RA and other campus involvement – makes us tired and attributes to our weirdness.

We are here to help you.

At the end of the day, we are RAs to assist our residents.

We want to hear about your day, your classes and any problems – big or small – happening in your life.

Your RAs are always available to listen and can refer you to other resources if the issue is beyond our own capabilities.

We work to create a fun community and want you to succeed in whatever you wish to do.

 

Practicing these five things will make your life – and your RA’s life – easier and more enjoyable as you navigate living in the residence hall.

And one final note – your RAs have lives outside the job too, so when you see us on the street, you are allowed to acknowledge us and say hi.

by Ali Bartow

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