4 September 2018
For those students who have lived on campus, you can probably remember exactly who your resident assistant was during your first year.
Some individuals have great memories of their RA, and were even inspired at the end of year to become an RA themselves.
Others only remember their RA in passing, indifference or distaste and wonder why they didn’t have the option to write-up them up at the end of the year.
Through my personal experience, I’ve found that there are RA’s that are only in the position for the free housing, and care little about their residents.
I feel as though there should only be one type of resident assistant: the one that is doing their job correctly. It’s unfair that all RA’s are getting the same benefits, but some are doing a much more thorough job than others.
Not only does an RA serve as a mentor for the students living in the dorms, but they are also a crucial part of student safety on and off campus. RA’s are, the majority of the time, the first responders on any scene and as s mandatory reporters, these residents assistants are relied on to be the eyes and ears for their floor.
An RA also plays an important role in the transition from high school to college for freshman students, as the transition of living at home, to living with the supervision of one of your peers can be fairly drastic.
Often times, the similarity in age makes it difficult for RA’s to report all that goes on in the dorms. They can often feel as though they are being ‘uncool’ by ‘tattling’ on their residents, who might only be a year or two younger than them.
I know of RA’s who have neglected to report alcohol and drug usage on their floors, just so they have a good rapport with their residents.
Students are at great risk when their RA’s do not monitor them, especially when it comes to alcohol and drugs, because they may be at risk for overdose, alcohol poisoning or abuse. When RA’s fail to closely keep an eye on their residents they can ultimately sacrifice their well-being.
Personally, my freshmen RA only spoke to us at the beginning and end of the semester, and never tried getting to get to know any of their residents.
This RA was only in the job for the free housing, and truly did not put any effort into this role. I believe that my transition would’ve been a lot easier if my RA would’ve been more involved.
The ideal RA is a resource and a mentor for the students that live on their floor, and is always available for assistance. There are times when it is necessary to report students or happenings when it could jeopardize a students’ safety, and an RA who is doing their job correctly knows this.
Resident assistants should take their role seriously, and not just take the position for the benefits that it offers, or for resume building. This job could mean the difference for a freshman student dropping out of college, a serious crime being reported on campus, and the safety of all student residents.
Freshmen year is already rocky enough, and students need all the help they can get, so RA’s should be the first reliable resource that they turn to in a time of need or anytime at all.
From the students that are responsible to the ones who are not, they just want to know they are protected. Without that knowledge, the transition from living with responsibility to none at all would be difficult for anyone.