Resident Advisers share advice, experiences with potential applicants

By Senait Gebregiorgis

Every year, many students are eager to take advantage of the opportunity because of some of the perks that come with being a Resident Adviser. Some dream of finally having their own room and not dealing with a roommate coming in late at night and disturbing their sleep. Others may be in it for the free housing and not settling for the cheapest meal plan.

And perhaps, for some, the prospect of being a mentor is exciting, as well as taking on a role that can stand out on a resume.

No matter what someone’s motives are, it’s important to note that the job is not as easy as it may seem.

This is the third year Molly Messnerss, senior in ACES, has been a resident adviser at Nugent Hall. She said one of the unexpected challenges she’s faced has been handling residents’ mental health needs.

“I’ve understood how to be a little more apparent and aware of these kinds of symptoms knowing that somebody may need certain attention in that dimension of wellness,” Messner said. “That has increased my consciousness … like everybody has their own battles.”

Every summer, newly-hired resident advisers undergo an intensive two-week training where they learn how to handle various situations that can arise in a residence hall, such as residents facing social and emotional issues, vandalism and the violation of housing policies.

Kenyatta Sacha Dunkin,ss senior in Business, is a second-year resident adviser at Snyder Hall. She noted the importance of addressing social and community issues on her floor.

“As an RA, you really have to speak up,” Dunkin said. “There’s no such thing as being a passive bystander – you have to be an active bystander. You have to really take the initiative to speak up because you are monitoring the halls, and if you don’t do it, then no one else will.”

Messner added that the resident adviser’s role is equivalent to being the backbone of the community, as they facilitate unity in the halls and engagement in campus activities.

“Specifically through programs, bulletin boards and day-to-day interactions, I’m able to educate and engage my residents about different resources on campus and different events,” she said.

Dunkin said potential applicants should consider if the requirements of the job suit their personality before taking on the position.

“It’s not for everybody,” Dunkin said. “You become a fish in a fishbowl, where literally everywhere you go, someone is going to know that you are that RA. So if it doesn’t fit in your personality to be friendly to people, to be a resource and to be a mentor, then it’s just not for you.”

But for those who find the job to be suitable to their interests, Messner said the rewards are plentiful.

She said she’s learned how to be resilient and learn from her mistakes and address issues more efficiently in the future.

“I can see my personal growth in leadership and maturity,” Messner said.

Applications for positions as an RA will remain open to students until Oct. 15.

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