This past year was my first as a Resident Assistant. They try to tell you as much as they can without trying to scare you away, but this job is so much more than it seems. You are a babysitter, a security guard, a therapist and most importantly, an access point for students when they need something. Here are some tips for new RAs that may have already gotten the position, or are thinking about applying.
1. Time Management
You are in and out of the dorms all the time. Unlike previous years, there are going to be days where you have to do so much more. You need to put on programs, make bulletin boards, have times where your residents know you are around and even late nights while being on duty. I'm not saying that you cannot have a life outside of being an RA, but you need to make time to be in the halls.
2. Mental Stability
Not going to lie, this job gets exhausting. You will be emotionally and mentally drained on some days, especially where maybe the fire alarm goes off or one of your residents needs someone to vent to. Make sure you are the first person you take care of. Listening to other people's problems can take a toll on you, so take the time to make sure that you are mentally prepared for that and do not be afraid to take time for you if you need to.
3. Long Nights
This can go along with mental stability, but this is a huge one. Where I go to school, RAs have to be on duty one night during the week every week of the semester and six weekend nights throughout the semester. Make sure those nights you have to be up late your classes are later in the day. You may only be up until a certain time, but you are on duty until the next morning. Anyone can call you or knock on your door if there is a problem, so that could mean long nights for some.
4. Your Residents
If you are in a first year building, this section is for you. These students are usually away from home for the first time. You are the first person they meet besides their roommates. Some of them may start to cling onto you. You may make some new friends, but you may also not be comfortable befriending some of your residents. The hardest part of this is telling them that they need to go find other friends. You are there to help them, not always be their best friend.
[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2Ffiles%2F2017%2F03%2F25%2F6362607051829687121061468051_670px-cope-with-a-clingy-friend-step-3.jpg%3Fw%3D640&ho=https%3A%2F%2Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net&s=632&h=f4c172a6c8af6a1042bc65bb78ecb8ef7acfb2e259351984a98ec9f339366f5c&size=980x&c=461182226 crop_info="%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252Ffiles%252F2017%252F03%252F25%252F6362607051829687121061468051_670px-cope-with-a-clingy-friend-step-3.jpg%253Fw%253D640%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net%26s%3D632%26h%3Df4c172a6c8af6a1042bc65bb78ecb8ef7acfb2e259351984a98ec9f339366f5c%26size%3D980x%26c%3D461182226%22%7D" expand=1 original_size="1x1"]
5. The Bad Guys
Yes, you are going to have to be the bad guy sometimes. Whether it comes to citations or just telling them what they can and cannot do is not the easiest task in the world. They may fight back at you for it, but you just have to keep as much order in the halls as possible.
I do not mean to scare you away from the position, but these are the harsh realities of being an RA. If you do not think you are ready, that is okay! Training will help ease you into the position. Just be the best RA that you can be!