The end of my first semester of my freshman year at SDSU has come. True to myself, I’ve found something else to worry about in addition to my exams: applying to be a resident advisor (RA). If you had asked me before I came to college if I had thought about becoming one, I probably would have given you an inquisitive look -- never had it crossed my mind. The thought didn’t occur to me until a couple weeks into the semester, and it wasn’t even an organic thought. My friend mentioned attending a meeting for our hall council because it's a good transition into becoming an RA. I brushed it off at first -- I had never been one for leadership, or so I thought. Then she mentioned that RAs get free housing and meal plans, as well as getting paid. That peaked my interest, and we decided to check out Hall Council together.
Fast forward another couple of weeks, and college was doing as promised: opening doors I had never considered and throwing me through it. I’ve been a part of my South Campus Plaza Hall Council since late October and I absolutely love it. For any student reading this, just consider checking out your hall’s meetings -- it might surprise you like it did me. Our meetings are always open to newcomers, and I’m sure your hall is the same. (SCP Hall Council meets on the second floor of the North Tower every Thursday at 5 -- SCP students come check it out!)
The more meetings I attended, and the more time went on, I considered applying to become an RA more and more. I will admit I may have initially considered the idea for the wrong reason -- that being the perks. Yet as the application opening loomed closer, I became more and more excited about becoming an RA. I mostly credit my own RAs. They have been amazing. This is coming from a goody-two-shoes suck-up who finds it easier to connect with figures of authority than her peers -- but still. Whenever I have a problem I go to them and they handle it to the best of their abilities. It might not sound like they are doing much, or that they are just doing their job, but they always take it further than that. I’m happy to say I’m friends with my RAs -- as much as one can be with someone who has authority over you.
Every interaction I have with them drives me towards applying to become an RA myself. I want to be what they are to me for someone else. I always knew I was the “mom friend;” well, now I could be the “hall mom.” I love helping people to the best of my abilities. I briefly considered going into the teaching or nursing profession, just because those positions are so influential. Yet I didn’t necessarily want to teach or treat people. Additionally, the opportunity to organize events for my floor and entertain people is appealing. I never knew I was so into event planning until I joined Hall Council (Mom, I’m doing Christmas next year).This opportunity to become an RA seemed to give me exactly what I’ve been wanting, though in an unexpected way.
The application to join student leadership officially opened last week, and I was pumped to turn it in. But before I could, I had to attend an information session. As the presentation went on, my initial jubilance started to fizzle. Again, true to myself, I started to doubt everything. Was I cut out for this?
They emphasized organization skills -- which I severely lack. Was this acknowledgment of my own flaws enough for me to reconsider the whole thing entirely? I know myself, and for almost 19 years I’ve been unorganized and messy -- am I going to be able to change now? My messiness exacerbates when I’m stressed -- something the presenter and some current RA testimonials promised would happen. Am I mentally stable enough to deal with my own problems, as well as an entire floor of other students’ problems as well? Am I prepared for most of them to inevitably hate me, if only for a little while, if not for the entire year? I know my RAs suffer from seemingly harmless pranks, but who knows if they are dealing with more hate than what’s displayed out in the open. I also know that I’m a people pleaser, and if someone doesn’t like me, I get uncomfortable and start overcompensating in the hopes that I can change their mind. Will this trait prevent me from actually doing my job, and enforcing the rules? Sure, I might be a rule-follower -- but will I be able to bust “my kids?” I can’t help but think it would feel like I was a mother calling the cops on her own kid.
The dilemma I am faced with is simple: do my pros outweigh my cons? Is my desire to help people strong enough to overcome 19 years of old habits and values? Every person applying to become an RA faces questions like these. While their dilemmas might be different from mine, their doubts are still valid. The Student Leaders application is due January 31st. For the next month or so I will juggle these pros and cons. Maybe this time next year, I’ll be the “hall mom,” or maybe I’ll be living in a messy apartment.