Every college does its best to screen and appoint resident advisors (RAs) for each dorm. Sometimes the school fails spectacularly and sometimes the students have an RA who can help them get anchored in school, resolve conflict in the dorm and keep the general peace and order in dorm life. The best RAs are friends, confidantes and good ‘superintendents’ who can organize, manage and remain objective.
If your RA is one of the really bad examples, do not hesitate to talk to the Office or Residence Life and be sure you resolve the issue. A bad RA can make your semester and your academic year a living hell! You may be required to step up and resolve issues for others because an RA shirks his/her responsibilities. That is no way to start your college experience.
Most students remember the best RAs as those who had figured out college life and were happy to share the secrets and tips they had learned. They recall that the RA was accessible and their door was always open if there was a problem – any kind of problem! The best RAs are role models and examples for younger students. They must stay in the dorm when they are on duty and remain available to students during that time. Because they are also students they can relate to the students they are advising and they can act as liaison with the administrative staff on campus.
To get along with your RA, be honest, communicate and offer to help when you can. Don’t try to be deceptive or sly in your dealings with this person. You need and want them to be on your side and to like you and support you. They can make a big difference in your life!
There is usually stiff competition for the RA positions on campus so you have to be prepared to present yourself well and to offer examples of your unique approach and skills and your dedication to the college community.
As you progress through your college career, you may follow the example set by your favorite RA and decide to take on this role yourself. If you do, you may one day be fondly remembered as a role model and a positive influence and help to struggling freshman. It isn’t a bad way to be remembered!