If you would have told freshman-year-me that I was going to be a Resident Assistant, I would have looked at you crazy. Becoming an RA was the absolute last thing I imagined myself becoming in college. I was just content with being a regular student with no other responsibilities besides homework.
Flashback to fall 2015, my freshman year. I was placed in a single and my only priority was going to class and doing homework. I enjoyed just being alone in my cave, sort of. At the time, I didn’t understand why people would do extracurricular activities like go out to events or join clubs. In my head the whole purpose of college was to take classes in your major in order to improve the chances that you’ll find a decent enough job once you graduate from college. To me college wasn’t for friends, clubs, or events, because all of those weren't going to get me a job. I wasn’t open-minded or looking to be well-rounded at all. My perspective on this changed a bit once the end of the spring semester came around. When it was time to pick housing, I decided to try my luck with a triple. Having roommates are like having guaranteed friends and I was more open to growing my friend group.
Being in the triple with my roommates was pretty cool, and it helped me realize that I wasn’t much of the loner I thought I was. There was one thing I realized that I did miss from freshman year though, and that was having my own room. I might not have felt that way if I didn’t have a single as a freshman, but I just missed having my own space. Around November of that year I remember seeing a sign telling students to apply for the RA position. I thought about applying just because I knew that RAs get to live in a single, but I didn’t want that to be the only reason. I remember some of my peers telling me that I would be great for the position because I’m personable and a problem solver. I wasn’t too sure that I should go for it but I remember hearing someone say that college is what you make of it. That motivated me to go ahead and submit an application.
Spring semester is when I heard back from Residence Life and was granted the position of an RA. I was nervous coming into this position because there is this misconception that RAs are like the police of the floor and they always “ruin the vibe,” in a sense. I learned that RAs are way more than just policy enforcers. The RA is responsible for building and maintaining a healthy community for everyone to live in. Once I had my first floor meeting with my residents, I knew that being an RA was meant for me.
I’m not trying to sound cliché, but becoming an RA changed my life for the better. I was able to awaken the true leader in myself and discover some new skills that I didn't know I had. At first I doubted myself when it came to the artistic and crafty side of the RA position, but after some training I was able to change my mindset from "I'm not good at this" to "What can I do to be better at this?" Being an RA is like any job almost, because there are good days and bad days. I learned very quickly that the good days greatly outweigh the bad. I was able to meet new people and develop new potentially lifelong friendships because of this position. Now, every time someone tells me that they are thinking about becoming an RA, I encourage them to apply because it helped me discover what was always inside of me. I am nowhere near the same person I was as a freshman, and I’m proud of that.