Ever since I was a little kid, I liked to volunteer and help others. So when I finally got to college, I found a job that originally seemed like a dream come true. The position was a Resident Advisor, more commonly known as an RA.
When I researched the details of being an RA, I fell in love with the idea of being the go-to person, helping others and being a leader. For most people this might not seem like fun, but for me, it is. I know that I need help and others will, too. The nice-sized paycheck is not a negative, either.
But after living on campus for this long, I’ve come to realize that this job might not be what I initially thought it was. I was expecting to be working all day, but judging by my floor that’s not what the job entails. It is anarchy on my floor. People watch football or hockey loudly on TV and blast music until 2 a.m. on a Wednesday night. Aren’t these the kind of violations that an RA should be reporting? What’s even worse is that we all contribute our tuition dollars in order to pay these people to do virtually nothing.
Some of these highly skilled and caring RAs give off the same sort of enthusiasm as a reluctant teenager working at McDonalds: popping gum, text messaging underneath the counter and looking at you with an expression of total annoyance and boredom. This is what they signed up for. So yes, they do get the single room and a paycheck, but that also means that they might have to, dare I say this, work. Sorry for the foul language that may have caused a few readers to faint on the spot or burst into tears.
Dealing with these “supportive” RAs has left a bad taste in my mouth and makes me second-guess my decision to apply for this position. Instead of just ranting about this, I am actually going to do something. Shocking, I know.
First, I am still going to apply for and hopefully get the job. If I do get it, I will not just walk by a group of noisy students even though it is my day off. With that, if an RA is only a few rooms down from a really noisy resident, how does he or she not hear them?
Next, I’ll learn the names of my residents, not just the bad ones. I don’t even know what my RA’s name is, so there is no way he knows mine. Maybe if I had something as small as an acquaintance relationship with my RA, I would not be so critical of him.
This also goes along with not being a ghost to the residents and actually being a factor in their lives on campus. This can really make a difference as to how we respect you. I did this when I worked with children during summer camp. When they like you and enjoy your company, they are less likely to do something that would get the counselor in trouble.
It has been said many times before that if you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem. So next year, I will apply to become a resident advisor, and really try to assist my residents as the name implies.
– Thomas Gentile
Freshman TV/radio and journalism major