I never thought that being an RA not only brought experience to an individual but also good times. Two great friends that have been RAs for all three years of their college career influenced me to follow the path of a RA in my junior year of college. I attended their programs and saw that no matter how much work they put in, the outcome was rewarding to them. I observed them and realized that being a RA is not only a worthwhile experience but also fun.
There are several ways that every aspect of being a RA could be fun from paperwork to wellness programs…it all depends on us. Paperwork is one of the downsides of being a RA. Every week we have journals, occupancy reports, and incident reports. Sometimes during the week, we tend to lose ourselves with schoolwork and other outside work that requires paperwork so that last thing we want to do is fill out more. In order to make this process fun, one way we can make it easy is starting early and adding a little twist. In my case our paperwork is due every Sunday therefore, starting Monday I take 5 minutes to get my papers together and place them on my bulletin board and start filling them out daily. With my occupancy report I filled one out and made photocopies so I do not have to fill out my resident’s information every week. At the end of the month when the time for collecting signatures comes I knock on doors with candy to give my residents, just to brighten their day. Next month I am looking into giving out stickers instead making it less formal and opening it up for socializing.
Community builders and wellness programs can not only be fun for your residents but also for you. Your time in preparing for it can be fun starting when you brainstorm for an idea until the day of your community builder. A community builder gives you a chance to be creative, social and have a great influence over other students. Personally, my favorite part is shopping for my program. Even though I am on a budget, I try to buy the best things for my residents knowing what they like. Then comes advertising your program. Here is where your creativity is at its best. This can be fun as long as you let your creativity free.
The bond that you create with your residents is a very fulfilling feeling. But the biggest feeling is the bond you share with your staff. They are your support system during those difficult times and your cheerful days. This special bond is what being part of a team is all about and it reinforces how much fun it is to be a RA. Every Tuesday as a staff we get together to discuss important issues, share any troubles that may be bothering us, and show support for one another. No matter what you are going through you know that you have ten other RAs that are going through the same thing.
We all became RAs for different reasons but no matter which reason that might be we should make the best of it and have fun while fulfilling our duties.
Submitted by Jennifer Rios, Resident Assistant, Hofstra University