I sat down with Aria Plants who is a first time RA at Delaware Valley University (DelVal). We talked about the job, residents, and advice she has for future RA hopefuls. Going to a small school, RAs have a unique perspective of student life and living on campus.
J: What are 5 basic tasks you have as an RA?
- Be there for residents whenever they need someone
- Maintenance requests for residents
- Weekly reports for my supervisor
- Weekly staff meetings
J: What is “duty night” and your feelings about it?
A: Duty night is when you stay in your room for a certain period of time at night with the door open in case residents need to come talk. Duty night can be stressful, especially when you have to stay up until 2am. It’s nice though to get 1:1 time with another staff member (two people are on duty together every night). It is more difficult if residents are out and about and you need to right reports or inflict authority.
J: What is the best part of your job?
A: Getting to know a different group of people that I wouldn’t have had a relationship with otherwise. This includes both other staff and residents.
J: What is the hardest part of your job?
A: Getting people in trouble. It’s hard to be the bad guy.
J: How does being at a small school make being an RA easier/harder?
A: It’s harder because everyone knows everyone, so everyone knows anytime something happens on a floor or has a connection to someone involved. This can also be a good thing because you can form connections more easily and have a larger network.
J: What is a common misconception people have about RAs?
A: That we have to be the bad guy or a super authority figure. We are doing what all other students are doing and just trying to provide balance and support to crazy college life.
J: What is one piece of advice you’d give to someone who is interested in being an RA?
A: Just go for it. It’s an awesome thing and I’d recommend it for anyone. You make a lot of connections and it helps you get yourself out there. Forget any reservations you have because it’s worth it.
J: What is the “scariest” thing you’ve done as an RA?
A: The first time you have to confront a resident acting out of the norm is terrifying. You have to cross the line of friendship and authority. You also have to keep in mind school values and floor policies. Confrontation can also be challenging if you are naturally an introverted person.
J: What is the training process like?
A: Training is a week of all day long sessions and there is always something to do. But it isn’t stressful because you get to get to know people that may or may not know each other and you. It’s a good time overall and you learn a lot.
J: Do you feel supported by fellow RAs and upper level staff?
A: 100%! I adore my staff and Evie (my supervisor). I go to her with any problem I have.
J: Be honest, what is the biggest perk of being an RA?
A: Free housing and having my own room is fantastic, you don’t realize how much you miss it.