If you live in any residence hall whether it's Pickett, Allan-Dukes Whittaker, Sheffield, etc. you know that you are residing with at least four RAs in your building.
RAs are not just sitting behind a desk 24/7 and they are not looking for a reason to get you into trouble, there is a lot more behind the scenes action that the average resident is unaware of. The first thing is what a person must go through to become an RA.
Not just anyone can apply to be an RA and be picked for the position. A good resume and good recommendation letters might help, but personality and leadership are the key. Before being chosen, one must fill out an application which consists of two letters of recommendation, a resume, two essays, and attend both a personal and group interview. From having to go through this process twice, I have found the essays to be the hardest part as the questions would range from what you expect to gain as an RA to what you can bring to the position.
To be honest, the hours spent working between the desk and what we call in hall isn't that much; however, we are usually on call 24/7, and anything can happen any time. I have been been woken up with residents banging on my door or window to get my attention for something as small as letting someone in their room to being the mediator in a small argument. Either way, no matter what time of day it is, week or weekend, I am to get up and help resolve the situation. In addition to helping out residents, we are also required to keep up with maintenance issues that the building has such as air and/or water temperature problems, burned out lights, and locks, etc. Despite the fact that we have no say so in what gets fixed when, we make sure we stay on the situation to make sure it gets fixed in a timely manner.
RAs are required to maintain at least a 2.5 GPA. Although academics are pushed when you are a member of the residence life team, there will be moments that you are trying to study and you get called down stairs to fill in for another RA or be taken away from your studies to make sure all residents are out of the building during a fire alarm. There is much that goes on when you are a Resident Assistant that the average resident fails to see.
With this job comes great responsibility, but with this responsibility can come some great fun. Most every resident on campus has seen a flier or two promoting a program going on at one of the nine residence halls. One thing that RAs have to look forward to every semester is putting on eight programs. There is something different going on all the time.
Being a Resident Assistant is not as easy as everyone makes it out to be; however, every moment is worth it. One is not guaranteed a full paid scholarship, but if I had to, I would work for free. This job has allowed me to meet new people, gain a lot of leadership experience, and gain a lot of skills that will help me out in life.
If you are interested in being a leader in your residence hall, talk to one of your Resident Assistants or Hall Director, or even stop by the Housing Office located in Denton Hall to get more information on how you can play a bigger role in your hall.
Many of us are guilty of spending far too much time in front of a computer screen or staring at our phones and not connecting with what’s going on in the real world right this very moment. I know I am! Take some time this holiday season (and afterward) to do a few random acts of kindness. It may make someone’s day, and you’ll be surprised how many times that person is you!
Here are a few ideas for Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) that can be done on a college campus or in the local community.
- Write a letter to someone who made a difference in your life that you haven’t see in a while. Yes, on real paper. No, not an e-mail. Compose a real life piece of snail mail and send it to someone.
- Create and print some inspirational flyers to hang in your dorm or on campus. You could use quotes on kindness or motivational reminders, google for ideas.
- If you see a member of our military on campus, stop and thank them for their service. I saw a young man carrying a military dress uniform across campus this morning. Hinds Community College is a military-friendly campus and we have many students who have (or are currently) risking their lives for our country. A smile and a thanks are just small things we can do to show our appreciation.
- Bake cookies for your neighbors or your floor in your residence hall.
- If you’ve got the cash to spare, order pizza for a night class (just not on a test night).
- Standing in line? Let someone go ahead of you.
- Leave quarters on laundry machines or taped to vending machines for the next person who comes along.
- If you have a car, help out someone in your dorm who doesn’t.
- Visit a local nursing home and take some friends with you. Ask an elderly person about their memories of the community, read to them, play some music.
- Give directions to someone who looks lost on campus. You were in their shoes once.
- It’s cold, give up your parking spot to someone else. Walking a bit farther won’t hurt you.
- Call the animal shelter and ask if there’s anything you can do to help. You can make home made treats for animals, or go help out.
- Study with someone after class. There’s always someone who needs a little extra help, it may be you. Offer to tutor in the subjects you do best in.
- If you’re buying Christmas gifts, support businesses in your local community. If you do buy online, check out stores like Sevenly that donate part of their proceeds to charity.
- Have some nice clothes that don’t quite fit anymore? Donate them to organizations that help the homeless get back in the workforce.
- Give gift cards to strangers. There are tons of people in the community and on campus who’d appreciate a gift card for a meal.
- Ask a good question every day in one of your courses. It will help you understand the content better and help someone who may be too shy to ask themselves.
- We have some great student bloggers here at Hinds CC! Take a moment to leave a positive comment on one of their posts. Apply to share your student experiences with new students. You may want to blog about all the Random Acts of Kindness you’re doing.
- Leave a thank you card for someone who works on campus. It may be a janitor, a faculty member, someone who helped you with financial aid, anyone who has helped make your life better.
- Check out kindness apps like We&Co or sites like beremedy.org and share ideas you like in the comments.
I hope this season is wonderful for everyone. Spread some cheer today and every day. As Plato famously said, "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."
Fall is here…or what short amount of it we get in Mississippi! Now’s the time to enjoy the things you love most about this fleeting season. My favorite thing happens to be baking with pumpkin. Sounds gross, I know, but it’s actually really tasty. Below is my absolute favorite, go-to recipe for pumpkin deliciousness. Even though it’s called “bread”, it’s more like cake. I have also updated it to a dorm-room friendly version so our campus residents can enjoy it, too!
Pumpkin Bread (traditional)
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup pumpkin purée (look in the baking isle for this…do NOT mistake it with pumpkin pie filling…what you need is the puree, which is not sweetened)
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 Preheat oven to 350°F. Sift together the flour, salt, sugar, and baking soda.
2 Mix the pumpkin, oil, eggs, 1/4 cup of water, and spices together, then combine with the dry ingredients, but do not mix too thoroughly. Stir in the nuts.
3 Pour into a well-buttered 9x5x3 inch loaf pan. Bake 50-60 minutes until a thin skewer poked in the very center of the loaf comes out clean. Turn out of the pan and let cool on a rack.
Can easily double the recipe.
Dorm Friendly version:
- Non-stick cooking spray
- 3 tbs flour
- 1 tbs + 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 tbs brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice and pumpkin pie spice
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 egg
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tbs vegetable oil
- 1 tbs milk
- 2-3 tbs pumpkin puree
Spray a microwave safe mug with cooking spray.
In a bowl, or right in the mug, whisk flour, sugar, spices, salt, baking powder, and soda. Add egg and combine until just incorporated with dry ingredients. Mix in vanilla, oil, milk and pumpkin.
Pop into the microwave for up to 3 minutes, with no fear to stop and check after 90 seconds for doneness.
Let it cool! It’s hot!
Seriously, that easy.