I was hired as an RA in December having not ever been through RA training (our Residence Life Department had used all of their alternates and were pulling in people that they thought may do a good job). After a very brief training and a shadow duty night, it was my turn to face the challenge of duty nights and residents. My first night on duty was painful. I had dealt with banned residents in the building, an alcohol violation, and a call that there was a naked student sleeping in the hallway covered with shaving cream. It was nearly 5:00 a.m. by the time I got back to my room.
But my story goes like this.
At EC, every weekend our Student Activities Board plays a movie in one of our lounges, so my friend and I decided to go instead of sitting in. The movie ended and we went back to my building. I was the RA on the second floor south end of the building, so in order to get to my half of the floor you have to go through a set of double doors.
I nearly had a stroke when I entered my half of the floor because it appeared as though someone had literally spilled about 25,000 packing peanuts all over my hallway, which is no small hallway. I can’t even begin to explain what I was thinking at that point…I’m pretty sure I had one of those out of body experiences that you hear so much about.
I turned around and went to find the RA on duty that night to find out what happened. I got to her room and she looked pissed. She said she had no idea what happened, so I went downstairs to find my residents. I called each of them into the hallway and demanded to know what happened.
Normally I am an easy-going guy, but they could feel my anger pulsing off me. They gave me this outlandish story, which I don’t remember (I wasn’t really paying attention at the time, for I was still grasping how this was going to get cleaned up). There were packing peanuts everywhere; up all of the walls, on the ceiling, in student rooms, the bathroom and shower, literally everywhere.
I walked into my room and grabbed 20 plastic grocery bags, handed them to my residents, and said, “start cleaning.” I was not about to leave the mess for the housekeepers to pick up so my residents were going to do it. We began cleaning at around 11:30 p.m. and I finally told them to stop at around 4:00 a.m. (they have lots of energy and are normally up until that time or later, so this was no problem). We got most of it picked up the next day.
My residents were angels after that, as they saw how disappointed I was with them.