By: Katherine Bell
Liberty Center, OH
Being a college student is hard when you add up classes, job searching, gaining experience (such as internships, life experience, and job shadowing), pressure from parents/peers and financial issues. It can be stressful. When all that stress is adding up, who do you turn to; your parents, friends or maybe a teacher? Some won’t have these options available, for those students (living in residence halls or campus apartments) there are their Resident Advisors (RA).
For some students, talking to their RA might be the only person available. When the roles are reversed, seeing a campus through an RAs eyes is much different. Being an RA is both a blessing and a curse. Helping students with anything they need and always being there for them is amazing. Knowing that you made a difference in a resident’s life means a lot and knowing you’re leaving a lasting impact on them can turn your whole day around; but, as to every positive, there has to be a negative. Being an RA means that you are on duty 24/7. If a resident has a problem, you are expected to be there for them and help them out with whatever they need. Let’s take a little deeper look into the life of an RA.
1. Friends. During your first year of college you make tons of new friends, and meet tons of new people. Most of these friends you make you don’t know very well until later in the year, or even your second year of school. This leaves many people questioning how much they can trust them. When you become an RA, you have the awkward moment of potentially having to tell one of your friends they are violating some of the university policies. This can cause TONS of tension between friend groups-you find out who your real friends are.
2. School. As some residents tend to forget, RAs are students just like them. We have the same stressful classes, tests, and professors. Although we are going through the same classes, we still have to be there for you whenever. When you’re on a round, and you find something that needs documented, it doesn’t matter if you have an exam the next morning, you have to deal with the situation in the moment.
3. The Process. Since I’m not a student on the Columbus campus, but the Wooster campus (Ohio State ATI) our process is a little different than Columbus’. First in December you apply, after this is done, you go in for an interview. If you make it past the interview process, you’re invited to attend the seven-week seminar program where you will learn a more basic idea of what it means to be an RA. After these seven agonizing weeks are over, you get the email. This email will state if you have received the job or not. Meaning that you can go through the interview and the seminars and still not receive the job. Our housing coordinator, Mick Steiner, wants to know he’s hiring people who are their true selves, and you learn a lot about who you are in those seven weeks. After all this you come back two weeks before school starts to finish training and get the campus ready for the incoming students.
If you’re still with me at this point, I want to take a moment to thank you. The majority of the time with reading articles or posts this long I get bored halfway through and start doing something else. I promise I’m almost done. As agonizing as all of this may sound, I am so beyond blessed to have received the job as an RA at Ohio State ATI. The friendships I have made, the memories I have already, and the knowledge I have received through this job is astounding. I have learned more about myself and the world around me than I ever thought I would. If you even have a slight interest in becoming an RA, I encourage you to do it. I filled out the application with the attitude that I wasn’t even going to be in the running for a position, but I am so glad I did it, it changed me, and I hope it can change you too.