On your first day of moving into your college residence hall, you met your new roommate and said goodbye to your parents. You were probably excited, but more or less nervous. You also probably remember the RA on the floor who greeted you cheesily and repeatedly asked you if you needed anything. You might have thought they were cool, but most likely you would have thought they seemed too much like a parent. Yes, I am one of them.
As an RA in the residence halls at RIT, my roles include (but are not limited to) enforcing policy, community building, planning events, conflict mediations, health and safety checks, and dealing with lock-outs. Why become an RA? People may say - you can get free room and board. However, the benefits are not only limited to that. There are many more perks to being an RA that have impacted me professionally as well as personally.
Good for building my resume - This is great work experience to put on the resume. Some of the RA roles require collaboration and communication, which are the key factors that some employers look for.
Networking- As an RA, I work for Residence Life, but I also collaborate with different parts of college administrators or campus organizations. For example, I've worked with the Students Affair Office, Student Conduct, CAB, etc. I get to meet and connect with different people on campus and these connections help me in many ways.
Knowledge of Resources- Maybe training can be boring sometimes, the Res Life provide me a good chunk of information about resources on campus or off campus. Not only I can help my residents with these resources, but also I can use them myself to assist with my personal life or college career.
Leadership- as an RA, I’m identified as the leader of my community and, of course, on campus. I’ve been developing leadership skills while working with my residents and planning events. These are important skills to show to employers when it comes to interviewing for coops or full time jobs.
Public speaking- this is a skill that I’ve been developing on daily basis when I talk to my residents and have floor meetings.
Conflict Mediation- no matter what you will do in your life, knowing the tactics to resolve conflicts is precious.
Event planning- I’ve learned a lot from organizing events for my floor, collaborating with other RAs and planning staff community creator events.
Getting out of the comfort zone- As an RA, I had to work with different personalities. I got to try new things when it comes to building relationships with residents. As an English-as-second-language user, I pushed myself to have more effective conversations with my residents, and this helps me grow enormously.
Support system- you are not alone, RAs. At RIT, we have more than 100 RAs and we are like families at RIT. I constantly get help from other RAs and have people to talk to and ask suggestions from in RAs family.
Always doing something- living in the residence hall, you will never get bored. You can hit up some residents to hangout, talk, get dinner or go to an on-campus event.
You are appreciated- as an RA, you help people in slight ways. I heard from other RAs that my residents told them that they appreciate me, I had residents come to me and appreciate me, I got lots of hugs from my residents. I feel the hard works are paid off and feel good about helping out others.
Compensation- at RIT, RAs get reduced prices or free room and board. This helps me a lot financially.
Free swags- did I mentioned about the res life backpack, t-shirts, shirts, jackets, water bottles and more?
Summer internship and higher ed opportunity- you can become an RA over the summer to earn more extra bucks, or you get opportunities to be a part of higher ed fellowship programs with your experience of being an RA.