It's that time of year again- the RA application process. Are you thinking about applying to be an RA? I'm going to fill you in on some of the ins and outs of RA life so you know what you're getting into. Being an RA isn't easy, but it is very rewarding and an experience I've been lucky to have. First of all, you need to be willing to commit yourself 24/7 to the job. You don't literally work all day everyday, but once you're an RA, you're always an RA. Outside of the residence hall, outside of school, this job becomes a part of who you are.
Aside from the job becoming a part of your life in a general way, there are specific things and tasks you need to do as an RA. I'm going to give you a basic list so you have an idea of what's expected.
- You complete an intensive 2-week training in August
- You help residents move in and out of the building
- You create a fun environment for your floor by making door decks and a bulletin board
- You plan events throughout each semester- these events involve proposing the idea, advertising the event (through fliers/facebook), and evaluating the event afterwards.
- You will be "on duty" a lot. This means you stay in the building to do rounds, kick-outs at night, a written duty-log, and be available 24/7 to confront any incidents.
- You will be on duty during some holidays (this is broken up between your staff)
- You need to be able to confront incidents- always following through with building rules, make decisions that may sometimes be very hard to make, and report the incidents right away.
- You complete 3 hours of "office hours" weekly where you give tours of the building, complete any RA tasks given to you, and meet with your RHD.
- You attend a weekly staff meeting.
- You need to continually make an effort to build the community in your Residence Hall and stay connected with your residents, as well as all the residents and other Ra's.
- You need to be available and prepared to help for any emergency situation - Hurricane Sandy was a fun one ;)
So that's a basic summary of the "things" you do as an RA. I'm sure I'm missing some, and honestly, a list can never sum up this job. It really does become part of your life. But don't let this discourage you, being an RA is so much more than a list of tasks. You have the ability to transform a community, make great friends, and gain valuable life skills that will help you in your future.
If this job is something you are willing to commit to 100%, make you sure you apply! If you have questions about the application, the job, etc., me or any of the other RAs can help :) Just ask!