When I chose to be an RA, it definitely wasn't for the money, oh my gosh, it wasn't for the money. What I get from this is definitely a good reference, a good, steady job that will help me graduate and not waste gas, as well as a connection builder. What I truly didn't expect was the opportunity to influence so many people just through programming, keeping my door open to my residents and being there when they were scared, worried, excited, needed help with a class or they were successful with school.
During those times, I knew I was being used spiritually for a purpose I never saw coming. As I've come to know through life as a junior at the lovely University of Central Arkansas (UCA), nothing is easy, nothing is given, and certainly nothing can prepare you for the lessons you'll experience while finding things out about yourself. I personally recall a night I'm literally crying as a freshman believing that I was a terrible person for how I acted in high school then the next night I was rejoicing that I aced a final.
As an RA, I am capable of growing into people's lives in a matter of seconds due to my job and my personality that seems to luckily grow on people. However, it's never been the moments where I'm hyping people up for programs or welcome week events but those behind closed doors and personal connection. I know personally I've failed financially, spiritually, educationally, as a friend, a family member, a mentor, as a leader, and especially in my closest relationships. It's because of that, surprisingly, that I'm able to be a good RA. Not my resume, not my experiences in organizations, not my success in a sport, not my popularity, and nor my smarts could make me into a great RA it was my biggest mistakes that did.
For instance, one night my residents heard noises coming from the roof on the top floor, as well as the walls. Certain residents freaked out and calmly messaged in our GroupMe, “Is there an RA, in the building???” I'm like, “Yeah! I’m here, what's going on?” To which I get, “I'm hearing noises! I think our floor is haunted!” I laughed for a minute, then went to check it out.
Let me remind you that the whole floor is hearing this and is out in our hallway trying to figure it out or they are scared like they were watching the scariest movie in their life. So the best part about all of this: it's 1 o’clock in the morning…I have an 8 am in the morning. So, apparently, the only safe zone was near my room. I had residents bring out their mattresses in the hallway and almost fall asleep. But I proved to them that I was there for them.
We went on to pretend we were ghost hunters with an app on my iPad. It was really fun, enough fun that they were tired enough to go to bed in their rooms. What I appreciated the most about this, was that this was my first week in my new building as a brand new RA.
Sometimes, when I'm studying I'll hear a knock at my door and someone would come in and we'll talk. In my first ever year as an RA, I've had a resident get proposed to, a resident lost a loved one, one get out of a really long-term relationship, a fight break out (verbally) with another resident, and better yet I've had residents literally become like kids to me.
I couldn't be more blessed. I don't think people have ever encouraged me as a person as much as they have. I love getting messages, letters, and anonymous gifts thanking me for things I didn't know I could do or was doing at the time they are referencing. This job is ridiculously, incredibly, extremely entertaining in the least. I wouldn't trade it for anything in the whole world.