Benefits of developing a rapport with your resident advisor


For many incoming college students, there is nothing quite as nerve-racking and overwhelming as Move-in Day. Whether you are excited, scared, or a little combination of both, the experience is similar — you are thrust into some new, unfamiliar dormitory building that you are now supposed to call home. Your arms weigh heavily with luggage in hand, and you desperately hope no one has spotted your precious, can’t-sleep-without-it stuffed animal poking out the top of your backpack as you are surrounded by hundreds of other terrified newbies.

You are then guided by a set of older students through what feels like a scavenger hunt as you make the journey towards your small, prison-cell-sized dorm room, parents trailing behind.

These older students guiding you around are the resident advisors, more commonly called RAs, in your building, and befriending the RA from your specific floor is a smart move. Aside from adding a new compadre to your repertoire (because as a new student, you are looking for all the new friends you can get), developing camaraderie with your RA will prove very beneficial as you try to navigate your way around a new campus.

Take it from me, the girl who came in to the University roommate-less — not by choice — as a Taft-Van Doren resident. Nothing was more discouraging than being thrust into a new life without even a roommate to connect with, so I found that being able to talk to my RA was vital to my sanity and social success in those first few weeks living in the dorms.

This was especially important because, first and foremost, the key to a positive experience at college is having a comfortable living arrangement. And when you are living on a floor and sharing community bathrooms with dozens of over-excited young adults, comfort and quiet are not always the go-to adjectives to describe your dorm experience — that’s when knowing your RA comes in handy.

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There is nothing quite as frustrating as noisy neighbors and messy bathrooms, and one person’s annoyance is usually powerless on an entire floor of student residents, which is why being able to approach your RA is so important.

By developing a close relationship with your RA, some of the inevitable burdens of living with a bunch of rowdy college kids can be lessened as your RA has the power to lay down the law and enforce rules for the floor.

Once rules are set by your RA and there is free and easy communication between you and the floor boss, dorm life is a breeze. And with a comfortable living situation comes better success as a student as well.

Aside from the benefits your RA can bring you in regards to your living situation, you can learn a lot about campus life in general through regular communication and interaction with him or her. With everything from which dining hall specialty food nights to attend, what classes to take, to all the other tips and tricks that are worth knowing as a student, chances are your RA will have some solid input.

So whether coming into the dorms as a new, bright-eyed and bushy tailed freshman, or returning to them as a seasoned sophomore, keep in mind the importance of developing a rapport with your RA. They are there to help you and make your life on campus a little bit easier, so take the extra step and open up the channels of communication with them.

Nicki is a senior in Media. She can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @NickiHalenza.