Being a Resident Assistant, a Residential Life live-in staff member, is both a blessing and a curse. I'm living in a freshman dorm this year, and being back on campus with freshmen has been endlessly rewarding: I am cried on, loathed, laughed with, poked, prodded, teased, relied on, and loved. Granted, I am also pulled out of my bed to let residents into their locked rooms at all hours of the night, required to meet various conditions so that Res Life has favorable statistics at the end of the year, and responsible for sending overly-drunk students to the hospital, which, at one particularly poignant moment, happened while I was dressed up as George Washington and NOT on-call. That's the thing about being an RA: you're always on-call. Even when you're just taking a stroll across campus on an average Thursday night, sipping lemonade, dressed up as George Washington, with two staff members back in your dorm officially on duty for the night. There's just no escaping it.
The RA Staff of Alumni Court South this year. Photo c/o Erin Swide/Caitlyn Pedone
Aside from my list of bizarre RA experiences, though, there are some pretty cool things about the job. As I like to put it, the responsibilities of Resident Assistants essentially fall into three categories: 1. Creating programs/events for students to attend (this includes, but is not limited to, organizing, budgeting, marketing, and facilitating said programs); 2. Appropriately confronting and/or referring counseling/psychological concerns; and 3. Making sure that students are following University/state policy, and documenting the situation (i.e. telling your boss about it) when they aren't. You'll notice that these duties all contribute to the same goal, that is, making sure that residents are having an awesome year. Providing fun (and sometimes free!) stuff to do, encouraging -relative- sanity, and ensuring overall safety and moderate tameness can only enhance the good times, right?
Sample fliers from RA-ing last year
Of course, I encourage you to take my sanity comment with a grain of salt; this founding father's perception of "relative sanity" is very, very relative.