A picture from one of my events to the Syracuse Zoo
For the past two years I have been apart of a great leadership opportunity here at Utica College: being a Resident Assistant. During my first year I never contemplated the idea of becoming an RA, the idea of being in charge of two dozen people and creating events every month seemed like a lot of work to me. But during the Fall semester of my second year something amazing happened, the residence life department ran out of alternative RAs and a position opened up so they were scrambling to fill the position as quickly as possible. A few of the Area Coordinators met and through out names of student leaders on campus that could be a good fit for the position and my name came up. I received an email to come meet with the staff about the position. When I read the email, I did not know what to do. Did I really want to do this? I don’t really know all the duties of an RA so I guess I should at least go find out. So, I went to the interview. After the interview, I was hired and I do not regret that decision at all. I love being an RA. I get to meet so many individuals and create so many bonds with my residence on my floor and other people who live in the residence hall. Besides that, I get to see my residence grow and I get to be apart of the welcoming atmosphere of Utica College. I would suggest anyone to apply and become a student leader.
Now, I would like to take a moment to tell you some facts about being an RA:
1) Not every student is going to appreciate the things you do for them, and sometimes they will judge you unfairly.
As much as we would like to be appreciated and on friendly terms with each and every resident, that is an unrealistic vision. People in the halls may not like you. People in your own community may not like you. These views may have nothing to do with you personally, but the role you have as a student authority figure. Being a Resident Assistant puts you in a position to not be liked. Be fair, kind, and caring towards others, and you will find that the majority of residents will respect and care about you in return.
2) Do events that the residents want to do.
The only want to get your residence to come to your events is to do events that interest them. If your residence do not want to go to the museums but instead would rather go play laser tag, well, you better put in a proposal for laser tag. You will have a better turn out, and your residents will appreciate that you are doing things that they want to do. If you don’t know what your residence want to do, then ASK THEM. Take 20 minutes out of your day and go to each room on your floor and ask your residence what things they would like to do. Remind them that the events are free.
3) Be clever with your advertisements
It is very hard to get residence to go to educational events, so, put up flyers that are clever and make the residents think the event is about something else than it actually is. For example, if you are going to teach your residents about planting, put up a flyer that reads “Pot Party.” What do you think the residence will think the event is about? To get good turn outs you have to be creative!!
4) Make connections with your residences
The only way to make your residence respect you is to talk to them. It may not seem like they care, but talking to your residences once in a while allows them to feel comfortable with you and you will see that they will respect you more when you have to write them up for breaking the rules…
So even through the hours of training, piles of paperwork, numerous meetings, lock outs at 4 in the morning and the stress of busting underage parties in the residence halls; being an RA has been a great part of my college experience, this position has allowed me to grow as a student leader.
I hope you all liked my first blog. Please let me know what you think!