Being a resident assistant on campus taught me a lot about balance, time management, inclusivity, presentation, and leadership. Being responsible for the upkeep of an entire building and its everyday operations is not seamless. It is difficult, as an RA, to equilibrate your personal life and your professional life because you work where you live. Knowing how to engage in self-care while simultaneously looking after the well-being of 90 other students is a huge opportunity for growth. With duty days set in place, it is important to organize your academic, professional, and personal time. Keeping every hour of the day organized and accounted for is one of the most difficult parts of having a position that requires so much active, engaged time. Having to decorate a building made of cinder blocks and turn it into a home for 90 students was also an important part of being an RA. Students noticed their door decks and knew when their RA took time to craft their personal name tags.
Bulletin boards that were decorative and create caught the attention of residents and also supplied important information. Fliers, decorations around the holidays, petitioning for new furniture in the lobby, and other additions to the residence halls was all a part of the job. When the residents could tell that you took your time and put effort into the way that you presented their home to them meant a lot to them. Leadership was one of the biggest takeaways from the RA position. RAs personal behavior is one of the biggest tone-setters of a residence hall. Being dismissive, absent, irresponsible, or breaking policies yourself could make for a chaotic living environment for all involved. Showing first-year students that their RA follows the rules, is present in the hall, listens to them when they voice concerns, studies arduously in the common spaces, and hold their safety paramount to everything creates a great home for students.