11 Reasons Being An RA Is The Best, Most Rewarding Job I've Ever Had

11 Reasons Being An RA Is The Best, Most Rewarding Job I've Ever Had

I never thought being an RA would change my life, but it has done that and more.

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Last year when I applied and interviewed to be an RA at Bowling Green State University, I never thought that being a resident advisor would influence who I am as a person so drastically, but it has. Reflecting on the time I have spent in this position, going all the way back to the rigorous, mentally exhausting, and time-consuming fall training, I have grown immensely. I have gained more confidence in myself and my voice; I don't tend to sit back and watch things happen anymore.

I am so thankful for everything that this job has given me and the growth that has sprouted from this seed in my life, so I wanted to share all the beauty of the job with people looking to become an RA!

1. Learning confrontation skills

Last spring, I had to take a class that essentially was a training class for the forthcoming RA training beginning fall semester. In this class, we learned about five different conflict styles: avoiding turtle, accommodating teddy bear, competitive shark, collaborating owl, and compromising fox (I don't know the reasoning behind the animals).

Before this job, my main conflict style was a tie between the avoiding turtle and the accommodating teddy bear, so essentially I either avoided conflict or pushed all of my needs aside to make sure the other person in the conflict was satisfied. Now, however, I tend to rely more heavily on the compromising fox rather than the avoiding turtle, but I still lean towards accommodating teddy bear the most. That being said, I now know how to channel different conflict styles for different situations and I don't freeze now! That's a BIG step for me, y'all.

2. Learning communication skills

This gif was me before this job. To say the least, my communication skills were pitiful because

1) I have anxiety and talking to other people is just very anxiety-inducing for me,

2) I'm not great at saying how I'm feeling (ask anyone), and

3) I'm a major introvert, aka I'd rather be alone than with people, let alone talk to them.

This job, however, forced me outside of my comfort zone and has made me communicate my feelings to others rather than keeping everything bottled up.

3. Time management

Honestly, I'm still working on this skill, but my time management was pitiful before this job. With the RA job, duty nights, bulletin boards, and other RA tasks combined with 15-18 credit hours, time management is something that you have to learn and learn fast. Otherwise, you'll find yourself crying every other night, like I did for the first half of first semester. I'm getting a lot better at it though, and I only cry like once a week now, so YAY for improvement!

4. Socializing

As I just said, I'm an introvert, and socializing is not one of my strengths. Socializing is a crucial part of this job, though (literally, I document when I socialize with my residents). Not only did I have to improve the skill in general, but I've also learned how to adapt how I talk to certain people to socialize in the way that they're comfortable doing so. I've gotten so much better at talking to other people, and my inner anxious and introverted soul is quite proud of me.

5. Learning crisis management skills

Crisis management is one of my favorite things about this job; I'd rather respond to a crisis situation than bust someone for drugs or alcohol. Now, what exactly is crisis management, you ask? Crisis management is, according to reslife.net, "handling, supervising, controlling an emotionally stressful event, a traumatic change in a person's life, or an unstable condition; the ability to effectively respond to an unstable person or condition (e.g., dealing with a student considering suicide)." it can also be anything related to mental illness or Title IX (sexual assault).

In these situations, people feel helpless, like they have nobody. However, I get to be that somebody. I get to help them feel like they belong and help them feel safe, and there's no feeling greater than this to me. I love being this person's rock and confidant and being able to help them feel as loved as possible. The best part is, I'm really good at this, and I'm proud to be good at this.

6. Building a community

This has been one of my favorite parts of this job, and I would say that my floor has a very strong sense of community (not to toot my own horn or anything). It's like forming your own little neighborhood, it's quite fun!

7. Learning about my impact on others

I never realized how big of an impact I had on others with this job, but it's really cool to have, and I'm extremely grateful that I can use this job to impact people in such a positive way.

8. Establishing and developing my strengths

One of the things we had to do for the RA class I talked about earlier was take the CliftonStrengths test, which tells you your five greatest strengths. In order, mine are connectedness, intellection, empathy, ideation, and belief. It's been really fun and fascinating to utilize and build upon these five strengths throughout the job!

9. Leadership and responsibility

Being in charge of 45 people is no easy feat, and it forces you to take charge and take responsibility, which is something I was unbelievably awful at.

10. Finding my second family

The RA staff has become my second family — we all bicker and love each other like siblings. They have become some of my best friends in the whole world, and they have all of my heart. If I write more, I'll probably start crying.

11. Helping people

Through this job, I have been able to help so many people, whether it be in big ways or small. I am so grateful for the opportunity to touch the lives of the RA staff and my residents, and I'm so glad I am able to do what I love: helping others.

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Please Spare Me From The Three Months Of Summer Break When People Revert Back To High Schoolers

They look forward to swapping stories with their friends at the local diner, walking around their old high school with a weird sense of superiority, and reminiscing their pre-college lives.

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I know a surprising amount of people who actually couldn't wait to go home for the summer. They look forward to swapping stories with their friends at the local diner, walking around their old high school with a weird sense of superiority, and reminiscing their pre-college lives.

Me? Not so much. I don't mean to sound bitter. It's probably really comforting to return to a town where everyone knows your name, where your younger friends want you around to do their prom makeup, and where you can walk through Target without hiding in the deodorant aisle. But because I did this really annoying thing where my personality didn't really develop and my social anxiety didn't really loosen its grip on me until college, I have a very limited number of people to return to.

If you asked someone from my high school about Julia Bond, they would probably describe her as shy, studious, and uptight. I distinctly remember being afraid of people who JUULed (did you get high from it? was it illegal? could I secondhand smoke it and get lung cancer?) and crying over Algebra 1 in study hall (because nothing says fun and friendly like mascara steaks and furious scribbling in the back corner while everyone else throws paper airplanes and plays PubG Mobile).

I like to tell my college friends that if I met High School Julia, I would beat her up. I would like to think I could, even though I go to the gym now a third of the time I did then. It's not that it was High School Julia's fault that she closed herself off to everyone. She had a crippling fear of getting a B and an even worse fear of other people. But because she was so introverted and scared, College Julia has nothing to do but re-watch "The Office" for the 23rd time when she comes back.

Part of me is jealous of the people who came into their own before college. I see pictures of the same big friend groups I envied from a distance in high school, all their smiling faces at each other's college football games and pool parties and beach trips, and it makes me sad that I missed out on so many friendships because I was too scared to put myself out there. That part of me really, really wishes I had done things differently.

But a bigger, more confident part of me is really glad I had that experience. Foremost, everything I've gone through has shaped me. I mean, I hid in the freaking bathroom during lunch for the first two weeks of my freshman year of high school. I never got up to sharpen my pencil because I was scared people would talk about me. I couldn't even eat in front of people because I was so overwhelmingly self-conscious. I remember getting so sick at cross country practice because I ran four or five miles on an empty stomach.

Now, I look back and cringe at the ridiculousness because I've grown so much since then. Sure, I still have my quirks and I'm sure a year from now I'll write an article about what a weirdo Freshman Julia was. But I can tell who had the same experience as me. I can tell who was lonely in high school because they talk to the kids on my floor that study by themselves. I can tell who was afraid of speaking up because they listen so well. I can tell who was without a friend group because they stand by me when others don't. I can tell who hated high school, because it's obvious that they've never been as happy as they are now.

My dislike for high school, while inconvenient for this summer, might be one of the best things to happen to me. I learned how to overcome my fears, how to be independent, and how to make myself happy. I never belonged in high school, and that's why I will never take for granted where I belong here at Rutgers.

So maybe I don't have any prom pictures with a bunch of colorful dresses in a row, and maybe I didn't go to as many football games as I should have. Maybe I would've liked pep rallies, and maybe I missed out on senior week at the beach. But if I had experienced high school differently, I wouldn't be who I am today.

I wouldn't pinch myself daily because I still can't believe how lucky I am to have the friends that I do.

I wouldn't smile so hard every time I come back from class and hear my floormates calling me from the lounge.

I wouldn't well up when my roommate leaves Famous Amos cookies on my desk before a midterm, or know how to help the girl having a panic attack next to me before a final, or hear my mom tell my dad she's never seen me this happy before.

If I had loved high school, I wouldn't realize how amazing I have it in college. So amazing, in fact, that I never want to go home.

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10 Tips To Prepare For Your Freshman Year Of College

Tips and tricks for college freshman year.

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Obviously, I am not an expert on college life yet, being that I am only a high school senior. Barely hanging on these last couple weeks of school. I have been preparing for my freshman year of college since the start of my senior year. It is an overwhelming, stressful process and it takes a lot of preparation and time to get it all done. I wanted to give some tips and advice on how I started my process and how I have gotten through it. Starting a new chapter can be really scary, especially if you have no idea what you are doing, I am the oldest sibling in my family, and I am the first to go through this crazy process called college. Though I was uncertain exactly what I needed to do and how to do it, I figured it out and here's how I did it.

1. Have a planner

This is going to be your best friend. It helps you keep your life organized (or at least it makes you feel like you do) and assures you that you meet deadlines. Since I can remember I have always used a planner and it helps me so much. I wouldn't know what to do without it. I have all the dates for when things need to be turned in- like housing and such, and also I have up to when classes start next fall. A planner is so helpful and would recommend getting one if you don't have one already.

2. Talk to friends about their experience

This has honestly been one of the top life savors. I have gotten so much advice from my friends that are in college and they give me the inside scoop and what to do and what not to do.

3. Do your research

Research the school, research clubs and activities that you may be interested in. Get familiar with what is on and off campus.

4. Visit the campus

Photo by Olivia Holler

I am lucky enough that I am only an hour and a half away from campus and it doesn't take long to get there so I just go when I feel like it. But visiting and being on campus several times defiantly has made me feel more comfortable and more at ease than I would be if I had not visited at all.

5. Embrace times with friends and family

Photo By Olivia Holler

This is the last summer with you In your house as a full time member. Embrace it! Be with your friends and family as much as you can. You are going to miss them just as much as you are going to miss them.

6. Start doing things on your own

I am already pretty independent but I struggled like starting to make my own dinners because I have been fortunate enough where my parent always took care of dinner. But now they are making me responsible for making my own dinner. Which was a really tough life altering thing for me. It may not seem like it but it was for me. But start doing your own laundry. making your own dinner, getting things yourself etc.

7. Make list

This and my planner have been my saving grace. If I didn't have it there was going to be no progress on the thing called college.

8. Manage your time

This is pretty self explanatory, there is a lot to do during the college process. Be sure not to procrastinate and know when things are due so you can get everything on time.

9. Take summer classes if needed

If you know you are going to be behind in a class, take some summer classes. For example, I am a little behind in math, and I have to take all the way up to college algebra in order to graduate college. Well, I knew I didn't want to take math all four years of college and I knew I was behind. So I am taking some summer courses to not only finish with math earlier but just to be ahead of the game.

10.  Gather everything you need for college!

Make sure you have everything you need for the big day. Set apart some days before move in day to take time and pack whatever you may need so you don't forget anything.

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