Resident advisers are a large part of your dorm experience. Everything from documenting and reporting any underage drinking to being the shoulder you will cry on when going through rough times, we are there a lot! These are a few notes from a resident adviser to future, current and ex- residents, and even to my fellow RAs out there saving the world one duty day at a time.
1. Your college friends are infinitely cooler than your high school ones.
In high school, friendship was dependent on who your neighbors were growing up or if you had the same name (remember the Britney’s from high school — Brittany and Britney). College is like an international buffet of future relationships — if you don’t like Southern fried chicken (your roommate from Tennessee) then you don’t have to eat the chicken. The ability to pick and choose, and maybe even pick and decide later that you disdain that person/food, is totally normal. This leads to your college friends being infinitely cooler than high school friends, mainly because you picked them all by yourself.
2. I am really bad at names.
Like really bad. I will remember your birthday, favorite song, what you ate for dinner, and still for some reason your name will not stick. As a RA, I personally had over 400 residents in my hall, with most of them all knowing my name. If your RA just smiles and says, “Oh, hey! How are you?” and keeps walking, cut him or her some slack. Your RA still cares for you and will be there in times of need, but it’s hard to go to school full-time, work and learn 400 names all in the first semester. We will get there, but be patient.
3. RAs are just like you, but with pagers, a curfew and their own bedroom.
RAs were you once just like you: 18, new to campus, hated sharing fridge space, had a roommate that loved John Mayer too much and blared it loudly. When you come to us with any problem, we probably have been there and want to reach out and give you a hug while screaming, “I TOTALLY understand!” RAs are freshmen that grew up a few years, garnered some leadership skills, went through some training and were given a pager days before you came to campus to move in. I am a lot like you, sometimes too much, so don’t run from me when walking down the street or at the movie theatre.
4. Dating someone in your hall can be awkward.
Remember in high school when you broke up with your boyfriend or girlfriend, and you would avoid certain parts of your school like the plague in order to not run into him or her? Well, when dating inside your dorm, think about those feelings times a thousand. It is almost impossible to not run into that ex when he or she lives 20 feet down the hall. I am not saying in-dorm relationships don’t work — I have seen some flourish! Just be extra careful and thoughtful when considering if Matt or Aaron in 312 should be your first adult relationship.
5. I somehow just became a mother.
Many RAs experience this maternal evolution in their lives once becoming a RA. As a regular college student, you may have never cared what Lauren down the hall did on her weekends at home, but as a RA you care a lot, even about all the details of Lauren’s life, exciting or not. You will even find yourself walking door to door, checking in with everyone to make sure they are OK before even asking yourself if you are OK. RAs become a little addicted to selflessness, sometimes in the most annoying ways.
6. We can be friends, I swear!
We really can!
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