Being a Resident Assistant: What can You Give?

Being a Resident Assistant: What can You Give?
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    Becoming a resident assistant, also known as an RA or resident adviser is a great way to build valuable skills and be a leader on campus.


Becoming a resident assistant, also known as an RA or resident adviser is a great way to build valuable skills and be a leader on campus.

There are many common misconceptions but becoming an RA was the best decisions I made during my college career. Becoming an RA is a large responsibility, and often not a good fit for a lot of people.

Looking after an entire dorm of 18 to 22-year-olds is not for the faint of heart. Building a duty schedule, completing rounds, and filing service requests can feel like a full-time job. The things I have seen and dealt with could fill a fairly large book but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Is being an RA for You?

I’ve loved being an RA! I’m a giant people-person and I want to help others. As an RA of a building you’re the immediate peer resource for potentially a triple-digit number of people.

In this position is where I learned to be a servant leader; RA’s have authority of a dorm but we are all in it together. This kind of trust is incredibly rewarding.

Students look up to you as someone on their side, I got a lot of joy from helping others in this way. Not to mention the perks! Free room and board, free parking and laundry, and a network of like-minded individuals.

In especially small schools dorms develop a community. I’ve loved getting to meet new people and having relationships with all of them.

Drawbacks of Being an RA

Aside from obvious cons, there are some hidden drawbacks to the gig. Students can be rude, dirty, and inconsiderate. Dorms will always have students that believe hall rules are optional and test your limits.

But the hardest part of the role for me is dealing with student conflicts. Whether that be roommate disputes or a severely depressed resident it can be hard to see a clear path towards a solution.

My biggest challenge was not getting too emotionally involved. Often students would come to me with serious issues they were having that I couldn’t solve. Being emotional support for someone can be taxing. Stepping back to remember what you are giving to others AND what you get yourself makes it all worth it.

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Overall, choosing to become an RA enriched my college experience and had me walking away with many skills. Conflict resolution, organization, accountability, and time-management to name a few. Being an RA in college made me more equipped to deal with real-life issues by making me a more tolerant person. If you are on the fence about applying to be an RA talk with your RA or the student life office.

If you liked this article please share it on Facebook or Twitter with your friends; It could help someone you know make the important decision on becoming an RA.

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Categories: Personal Advice