You are now sitting on application number 237, and right now it all seems to be a blur. Who was that kid from New Mexico that I really liked? What hall does that tall kid live in? Haven’t I seen this application already? It is a dilemma we all face every year. It is the lengthy, but more than rewarding, RA selection process.
What is it that keeps us all motivated during the process of selecting our student staffs for next year? I could ask each and every one of you reading this that exact question and I would get a different answer every time. As professional staff it is easy for us to think about next year and the goals that we might have. It is easy to think about the department perspective and what great things it has in-store for the residents that will call our campuses home. All too often we think our future is already decided, and we know what is going to happen. The fact of the matter is we are wrong. Right now a majority of us are immersed in the RA selection process. For every vision we might have for next year, there will be that new student para-professional, that will be on the front lines for us and make our dreams a reality. If that is not motivation enough to dive head first into the selection process, here are a few more tidbits to help keep you motivated as your selection process goes forward.
How many of you have selected that new RA that was a little shy but you knew they had so much more to offer? They come out in the fall and blow everyone away with what they can do, and you thank your lucky stars you took a chance on that “quiet leader.”
How many of you have selected that one RA candidate that was shining in the selection process and they turn around and perform even better than you thought they would. Then, three years down the line, they call you for a reference because they to want to be a Resident Director, or pursue a Graduate Assistantship. Even if they don’t choose to go with Residence Life as a profession we are selecting, training, and molding the future.
Even those who don’t get hired as RA’s are still going through a very valuable application process, and we owe each and every one of our candidates all the energy we can devote to the selection process.
The next time you start to file through that stack of RA applications, sit in on an RA candidate interview, or teach a class on community development, just think about the implications that this process has on your institution. Keep this in mind; our future rests in the present, and remember that at this point in time it is the who, not the what, that will define our futures.
Submitted by Torry Bruce-Brouillard, Resident Director, Montana State University