I have spent the last few weeks running back and forth from craft store to craft store, and I'm knee-deep in scrapbook paper. I've traced and cut out what feels like 200 door decorations, but I do so with excitement and only a little anxiety. I mean, I think they're cute, but what if you don't?

I've been stressing about my door decorations and all my ideas for a bulletin board, but it's only because I'm nervous. I want to make a good impression. Most importantly, I want you to know that I am here for you. My first year of college was the most fun I'd ever had in a school year, and so much of that was due to my RA. She helped me adjust to living on my own, she offered sound advice on every topic I asked about (and trust me, I asked a lot), and she was right next door so I could just walk in whenever to chat.

I've always been the more mature friend, but that doesn't mean I feel completely ready. I'm not in charge of you as my residents, but I am responsible for you, and that's a lot scarier. To put it simply, my job is to help you adjust to college life and to make sure you don't die in the process. I've been nannying for long enough that I am confident no one will die on my watch, but you don't need a nanny. Nannies entertain little kids, bathe them, feed them, tuck them in at night. You don't that from me. What you need is a guide. Someone to help you navigate your first year of college. You need someone you can throw a million questions at, to help calm your nerves, just a built-in friend in your dorm. It doesn't sound like a hard job; it sounds great. I can't wait, but I am still nervous because I don't want to disappoint you. I'm hoping I'll know all the answers to your questions, and I'm hoping I'll know what to do when you need me, whether it's a minor issue or an emergency.

Basically, I'm hoping that I won't let you down. So please know that I am going to be there for you. I won't be a nanny, but a mentor, a friend. I'll be someone you can come to with any issue, no judgment. I can't guarantee that nothing will go wrong this year, but I'll be there for you when it does. I'll be your biggest fan but probably your biggest annoyance (no one likes to keep quiet hours, but they really are necessary guys!).

I won't ask you to go easy on me just because this is my first time. In fact, I ask the exact opposite. Ask two million questions, ignore quiet hours a few times, but be safe and enjoy yourself. As you grow and challenge yourself this year, I ask you to do the same for me. I might make a few mistakes, but you'll help me learn from them. And everything you do will make me more prepared for the next group of students.

So enjoy your year at Miami. Study what you love, make friends, learn and grow, and be safe. And even if we might never speak again after this year, know that I will be here for you through it all.


Your First-Time RA