Every college campus is different. Small schools are different from big schools. Private institutions are different from public institutions. Yet, no matter where you attend college, one thing remains the same—this educational and social experience is not easy.
As students, we undergo a ton of stress within these first four years. A lot can happen to us in that amount of time. We might lose friends or family members, we might end relationships, we might begin relationships, we might not pass classes, we might have to switch our majors, we might experience changes in physical or mental health, or we might get homesick. We can never fully prepare ourselves for what challenges we may face.
What I’m leading up to is that students can get overwhelmed when the rain begins to pour, and sometimes we need to reach out for help with our problems. We need someone who will listen, someone who will understand, and someone who will advocate for us. Maybe the only thing a person needs is guidance—like how to go about finding the right resources to get more involved on campus.
We need Resident Advisors on college campuses for all these reasons and more. The impact an RA can have on a student’s social and academic experience is HUGE.
This position for me means that I am able to make a difference in someone’s life—big or small. There is no better feeling than what I gain from serving others. I know MANY of my current residents are considering applying for an RA position for next year, and applications are due next week! So, if you’ve already submitted that resume, or are planning on it, here are a few of the many things I’ve gained from this experience:
1. You get to be a leader in your community.
Leading by example is one of the ways I choose to be a leader in my residence hall and on campus. By making smart choices, I hope I inspire others to follow.
2. Your organization skills improve tremendously.
Okay, school is hard as it is, but when you add in planning events for your residents every month, one-on-one meetings, duty rounds, Res Life area meetings, office hours, and all the other coordination that goes into the job, you are forcing yourself to stay on top of scheduling.
3. You become the best problem-solver.
This job prepares you for life. What I mean by that is we learn how to deal with death of a loved one, bullying, medical emergencies, academic stress, depression, violence, sexual abuse, bias incidents, roommate conflicts, and so much more.
4. You learn to look at situations differently.
During training, you focus a lot on what it means to value diversity, create community, strengthen teamwork, and show leadership. These skills present new ways of viewing the world and give perspective on we should interact.
5. You make a difference.
You become an advocate for everyone in this position. You have the power to help guide someone to the right resources they might need. You protect the people that might not have a voice for themselves. The power of influencing someone’s college experience is in your hands!
I don’t think there’s a better position out there for college students that improves character as much as this job. You learn SO MUCH as an RA and gain amazing experiences that prepare you for life! You make amazing friendships along the way and meet a ton of new people through the process!
Obviously, this job isn’t for everyone. There is a lot of time, thought, and effort that goes into a position like this. You counsel. You motivate. You comfort. You follow the rules. You enforce the rules. You save lives. You inspire. You influence. You create. You design. You decorate. The list goes on for the responsibilities of an RA. If you think this sounds exactly like what you want to do, and you are ready to commit to this role of engagement on campus, then APPLY.
Please leave a comment if you have any questions about my time as an RA! Or—if you are an RA reading this—what you love about the job!