The acronym ‘RA’ has more than just its standard meaning of Resident Assistant, it actually means Resource Accessible. This is because being a resource for students and being easily accessible is the most important part about being an RA. Though there are many resources new students have, I have outlined the top five in no specific order. Any new students reading this you are not just limited to these five, asking simple questions such as “what time is it?” is are also welcomed!
Information is the first thing new college students will want, specifically those living on their own for the first time. From directional information of the campus to laundry rules, the questions are always specific and RAs must always provide answers. However, this does not mean RAs must have knowledge of everything. Referring a student to a specific area is the key. For example, if a student wants to change their major an RA should direct them to the counseling and career center so this can be done officially and after discussion.
Most new students are not accustomed to campus life, nor might they know where many campus events are. An RA plans events and programs in two ways. In-Area and Out-Area. In-Area events and programs are planned and facilitated by the RA(s) in their area so student never have to go far for something entertaining. Out-Area events are events RAs take students to that may be going on around campus, such as a homecoming event, a service projects or a campus-wide conference. These events are usually academic-based or recreational-based.
Mediation = conflict resolution. In college many students have never had their ideas challenged or their style of living questioned. This can cause issues when this conflicts with a roommate’s living style–and the RA is the first resource for students. In no way is conflict destructive, in actuality it is constructive. Life is all about learning and becoming adaptable to different circumstances, and RAs aim to help roommates by encouraging them to create a fair game plan that works for them both–not in compromising, in collaborating.
Low grades, homesickness, boyfriend/girlfriend issues and depression are just a few issues RAs may encounter from their new students. Everyone has their down days, and the most important aspect to remember is that these feelings are momentary–meaning they’re not forever. With that said, RAs aim to assist students by stating the problem, understanding how/why it’s affecting them, and working on a solution to remedy the issue. It is here where RAs use their discernment in knowing if they can successively remedy an issue or make a necessary referral for the student.
Every RA has their own way of having fun with their students. From football outside, cooking and even watching a movie in Kirkhof’s theater, the options are endless! I’ll have an Xbox in my room so any of my students are more than welcomed to get beat in MW3 or defeated in HG! Though college is all about learning and doing new things, sometimes it’s doing your favorite hobbies with new friends that turns them into lasting ones.
[The site zerolocked – The Keys of An RA, will always proceed ‘RA’ with the article ‘an’ and not ‘a’, unless the word is spelled out–hence forth known as the RA Rule. This is because annunciation-wise, RA = Are. The grammatical rule is that if the word after the article is a vowel then an is used, while consonants use a. (An article, A vowel). There are exceptions to the rule. You would say “An Xbox”, even though X is a consonant. Again, annunciation-wise Xbox = Ex, so the RA Rule applies!]