KIMBERLY JAHNS | OPINION EDITOR
I have been a Resident Assistant for two years and an Associate Hall Director (for Bergstrom) for this past year.
• We’re not dumb. You’re leaving your building at 9pm on a Saturday with a backpack on? Yeah, you’re probably just going to the library (that’s closed) to study really hard for that exam that you don’t actually have. We also have ears, so if you yell “shots” or your music is extremely loud, we can hear you. Ultimately, though, we are looking out for your safety, so if we hear or see you breaking policy, we have to do something about it.
• We don’t go looking for problems. Once again, we can hear you. We don’t have our ears against your doors waiting for you to say a secret word so we can knock. If it’s loud, it’s our job to make sure you respect quiet hours. As surprising as it may be, at 2 a.m., we rather not write up residents for multiple policy infractions. We like to sleep too.
• We have personal lives. Most of us really love to interact with residents or create boards or do programs, but we also enjoy hanging out with our friends that do not live in the building and that are in our same grade. If we are in our building, we are seen as an RA, but if we go hang out with friends that are not our residents, we can relax a bit because we don’t have to worry about someone knocking on our door asking to key them into their room.
• We are students too. We not only have to balance our job and personal life, but we also have a full class schedule. So, some days, when we aren’t able to help you as much as we usually do or our door is shut, we need that time to study or catch up on homework. We sometimes procrastinate too.
• Please come to our programs. Residents ask for programs that they never come to. We want to create great programs, but when only three residents show up, it makes it difficult to continue to put in hours of work for residents that would rather complain than actually interact with other residents. We love to do programs that you want to do, so tell your RA what you would be interested in doing; from board game night to ice cream party to make a piñata party.
• You don’t see everything that our job entails. You may think because we aren’t making a million door decorations or creating a program for every night of the week that we are slacking on our jobs. There is actually a lot of behind the scenes work that you do not see us go through that can suck a lot of energy out of us. Duty night once a week and a few weekend duty nights a semester can take a toll when you’re trying to keep up with academics and make time for your friends. We also may be dealing one on one with a resident that needs more of our attention than a program. Even certain issues that take place on each of our staffers can affect how we perform our job. If you don’t see us working, don’t assume we are just sitting in our room doing nothing.
At one point or another we all have had an RA. Whether you loved them or loathed them, please realize they are a student too and what they do is for your safety and for you to acclimate to college. We can be your support system, your friend and in some cases your parent, but at the end of the day we’re students too.