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A whole new world
With an enormous burst of enthusiasm students are jumping at the chance to apply for a position as a Resident Assistant. Interestingly enough, many RA’s find themselves straddling a very thin line between friends, residents, academics, and their obligation to the university.
When asked about the biggest obstacle he has faced since taking on his role as a newly hired Resident Assistant in Mountainview, junior James Turnley said, “You immediately realize you have a lot more responsibility. More responsibility to the community.”
Juliette Quinn, a Resident Assistant in Complex, often finds herself racing around like a crazy person. Eating must be scheduled into her day, and making time for school work has become her biggest concern since she started her position on campus.
“I am still in the learning process. Being comfortable while residents are around now has made it easier to get my schoolwork back under control,” she said.
Despite the obstacles she faces as a Resident Assitant, Quinn is thankful for the opportunity to take on some responsibility on campus. “Responsibility is just another part of the job. you know that when you apply for it.”
Quinn has also found a sense of patience that she has not always been able to tap into, “I’m more apt to listen to people and not cut them off because I have stuff to do. I think that’s a really big part of it. To really listen to people instead of just smile and nod,” she said.
Turnley added that there was certainly some hesitation when he first mentioned applying for the position. “My friends were worried that I wouldn’t have time for them.”
Fortunately, since the year started Turnley seems to be most content with his added responsibilities, saying that not much has changed and adding that he still finds plenty of time to do all the things he needs to. “I’m still me, but after becoming an RA I’ve had to become a lot more organized and time efficient because I had to, so it’s really helped me,” Turnely said.
Both Turnely and Quinn have experienced an increase in responsibility as well as a fluctuation in friendship. Quinn said that her social life has been more active as a result of the position. “I have more true friends because of the RA position. The people who I had as friends prior to being an RA are not the sort of people whose opinion of me would change once I took the position.”
Although it is understandable that students would worry their social lives would suffer if they were to take a position as a Resident Assistant, most students already living that life have no problems.
Turnley has his own room which he finds beneficial for all of his duties such as organizing hall activities or doing work wihout distractions. Quinn, while living with five other residents got to choose who those people are. She agrees that her social network has extended far beyond anything she could have imagined prior to taking on her new responsibilities.
I’ve had some friends express interest in becoming an RA,” Turnley said, “wishing they’d done it too.” One can only imagine that with all that extra pressure to be a role model and juggle residents versus friends, that the benefits must certainly outweigh the sacrifices these students make each day to look after the rest of the student body.
“You do meet new people and form new friendships. I love the staff I work with,” Turnley said.