I’m pretty sure I would be the world’s worst RA.
Resident Assistants are students who live alongside other students in college dorms to enforce rules and plan floor events and answer questions about how many posters you’re allowed to have on the wall.
My RA has to periodically do “outreach,” which basically means coming to your door, checking that you’re alive, pretending to care how midterms are going, and–if you’re lucky–giving you a fun-size Hershey’s bar. She has to turn in a checklist of all the residents she talked to, and that amount has to be 80% or more of our building.
Which sounds like a nightmare to me.
And while I like to think I’m capable of the RA job description, I don’t have the personality to support that work.
I’m not particularly confrontational, so I would feel uncomfortable enforcing no-drinking and quiet rules, especially when the “offenders” are my peers.
I would be frustrated and take it personally when my events were poorly attended (and they’re always poorly attended, even with the promise of free food).
I can’t stand repeating myself, so having to tell every girl in my hallway “seriously, you can’t have more than one string of lights on your wall” would be so aggravating.
I’m not crafty, so making door decorations and designing bulletin boards would be my absolute least favorite activity.
The RA job is one of the most competitive positions at my college, which I just don’t understand.
Free housing is really enticing (especially considering how expensive it is to live on-campus), but the job itself is full of tedious paperwork, empty events, and interactions with peers who don’t appreciate you being the bad guy.
I think I’ll leave being an RA to students a bit more crafty, confrontational, and thick-skinned than I. And apparently there are plenty of them.
(P.S. When I was writing this post, this happened. Sister: “Ooh, what are you writing?” Me: “About how being an RA is awful.” Sister: “Don’t write that! It’s college’s best-kept secret!!” So I guess now you’re an insider.)
This post is part of my April A to Z Challenge. For more All Things College posts, click here.
14 thoughts on “RAs”
Hahahaha. I never understood why so many people wanted to be RAs when I was in college many moons ago. Sure, they had free, single rooms, got paid, and the head RAs had a super awesome apartments. But who wanted to do with all that junk that they had to do and deal with a bunch of college kids? Only the crazies that’s who. :)
I was one of the lucky ones b/c all of my college RAs were very nice and helpful. I hard horror stories of some.
A lot of my former RAs were education or sociology majors. Go figure.
It doesn’t make sense to me either!! They have to do so much and it doesn’t seem rewarding.
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I guess some people might need the financial break. None of my children ever considered it and two of them lived off campus most of the time.
Between the free room plus the stipend, I definitely can’t say that it’s not a good value!
Wouldn’t be a job I’d like to do either, though the free room sounds amazing. I think I’d be hated by most students for being too strict (ie. a pain in the neck), even though I’m not a dominant personality. In my institution, I am always the one to complain about people not being quiet at night and stuff.
Understandable. They do have quiet hours rules for a reason!
RA is the most popular and competitive job at my college too. It looks awesome on your resume though. But yeah I don’t think I could handle the responsibility of taking care of that many residents. It’s the same reason why I couldn’t be a counselor at a sleepaway camp!
It feels like babysitting adults, which I wouldn’t like. I have been a camp counselor though, which I don’t mind because they actually NEED supervision.
Uh, i can see your point. It’s like parenting. Never let your guard down and always be on the look out. You can come up with a FuN reward system, maybe even a “reward box” for brownie point cashing (gift cards, coupons) *if* this is allowed. It could be fun! ;)
My Little Pony
It’s very much like parenting, and given that I have no interest in being a parent (ever), it’s definitely not the role for me :) Thanks for stopping by!
I never had a dorm life, but if I did, I probably would have tried to be an RA. That sort of stuff I don’t mind doing, haha. Free housing would be worth it. ;)
Fair enough! The RAs also have a good community among each other, a lot of them are really good friends
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Haha, as someone who has spent three years in res life as an undergraduate, I totally get this post. I love my job, but being an RA certainly does suck sometimes. That said, I’ve learned a lot from my experience and wouldn’t trade it for the world. I also recognize that it’s certainly not a job for everyone and I’m glad you can recognize that for yourself.
For the record, I am so not a confrontational person–that is seriously the toughest part of my job.
There are pros of the job, for sure, and I’m glad some people value those over the cons.