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.