The Highs & Lows of Being a Resident Assistant

Are you a Resident Assistant? At FindSpark, we know the struggles of planning cool programs and getting your residents to actually show up, which is why we made FindSpark for RAs. FindSpark for RAs is a free resource that includes “programs in a box” and tips for positioning your RA experience on your resume. Learn more here: findspark.com/college-resident-assistant-program-resources. If you’re not a Resident Assistant, share the link with someone you know who is! We know they’ll appreciate it.

 

Being an RA is tough, but rewarding job. I was an RA my senior year and definitely lucked out. I was supposed to have 24 residents, but only ended up with 12 — and they all rocked (I’m still friends with many of them today). Although I may not have been as invested as others (you know…those people, whose lives revolved around being an RA), being an RA was a really incredible part of my time at college.

Everyone’s experience is different, but after having conversations with and being friends with lots of RAs, it seems like many “RA moments” are universal. It’s an amazing leadership role that teaches you tons of real-world skills, including the art of tough conversations, time management, and conflict resolution. It’s also draining, can be really uncomfortable, and sometimes silly. Overall, it’s a chance to have an impact on a lot of people…and flex your arts and craft skills.

Because I lived through RA life personally, I want to be sure FindSpark supports RAs by creating resources that will make your life easier. We also want to make you laugh.

With that, here are some highs and lows that most, if not all, RAs go through. Enjoy, and share your own experiences in the comments!

 

Prepping for Your Residents

Staying up to do your bulletin board and door tags.

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Then the next day, someone rips down your door tags.

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Or worse, they leave them up, but vandalize them with male private parts.

 

And you go to another building to see another RA has stolen your floor theme.

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Busting Your Residents

When you’re almost out the door ready for a good time and you see some s**t going down. Plans cancelled.

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When your residents think that they won’t get busted if they don’t answer the door.

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When they open the door with a cup in their hand.

FindSpark resident assistant 1

 

When a resident asks if you ever do the things you’re busting them for.

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When a resident denies charges and opts for an appearance in front of a judicial board.

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When you think you smell pot on the elevator.

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And your floor smells like a giant joint and your residents are denying that any weed was smoked or is in their system.

And they swear they have no additional alcohol or drugs in their room.

When residents go from talking shit to ” Please don’t talk to my coach!!”

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When you see a party going down at 9 but give them a warning until 11.

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Duty & Paper Work

You waiting for your residents to come back to the dorms so you can get their signatures.

FindSpark resident assistant 2

Walking past your friends in your duty polo like…

When you do Health and Safety inspections and find…

 

When you find out you don’t have duty this weekend.

 

When you just don’t understand why you’re buying bagel bites at Pathmark right now, and what does a purchase order even do?

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When someone on staff ask you to switch with them for duty but you just can’t be bothered.

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Then the next time you have duty and you’re totally swamped with work.

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But your RA staff is awesome and someone takes it over.

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RA Programs

The face you put on to get residents to your programs.

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But they still don’t show up.

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But then you get approved to have pizza at your next program.

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And your residents actually come and love it.

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Those Tough Convos

When your resident stops by during your open door hours.

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And they get really real about their issues.

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Then you try to help them and they are all like…

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But then you finally get through to them.

 

When It’s All Worth It

When you have a resident that treats you like a person, behaves like decent human being, is a good sport, and uses you as a resource.

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When you see one of your resident’s at an off-campus party. And it’s ok. You’re off campus.

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When an employer says they were an RA, too during your interview.

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When you have extra cash money because you don’t pay for your room.

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When you know you helped make your residents’ college experience a great one.

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 Share your RA memories in the comments!

 

Are you a Resident Assistant? At FindSpark, we know the struggles of planning cool programs and getting your residents to actually show up, which is why we made FindSpark for RAs. FindSpark for RAs is a free resource that includes “programs in a box” and tips for positioning your RA experience on your resume. Learn more here: findspark.com/college-resident-assistant-program-resources. If you’re not a Resident Assistant, share the link with someone you know who is! We know they’ll appreciate it.

 

Special thanks to Resident Assistants pasts and present who contributed to this post, including Steven GianacaJenny HartNick Masercola, Jonathan MorelloEdwin RaagasErica SerrazinaJerome Wright, Samantha Erickson, Abbie Menard, Sarah Kerlin, and Amber Young.

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