February 20, 2014 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn

By Cody Howe

What do Hilary Clinton, Adam Sandler, Wesley Snipes and Sheryl Crow have in common?  They all took on the rewarding and self-improving responsibility of becoming a Residence Assistant. 

An R.A. is essentially the human nightlight after a scary movie, providing students with support, advice and supervision. These role models happily promote safety, responsibility and relationship development. Whether a new student has a concern that needs to be dealt with, a question about residence activities, or just someone to talk to, they can go to these hardworking leaders for help. It is encouraging to have someone be there for you who went through the same nervousness in first year.

Empathy drives R.A.’s to help assist   students with an amazing first-year experience. Not only do R.A’s ensure that students have an unforgettable and safe experience in residence, R.A’s also learn a vast amount of transferable skills suitable for the professional world.  Crisis management, leadership, time management and conflict resolution skills are just a few skills to name, that will bump an R.A to the top of any employers hiring list.

Another great aspect about becoming a Residence Assistant is the absolute freedom of flexibility. Finding a job that will work with a university schedule is difficult to come by, branching into one of College life’s most absorbent problems, financial stress.  R.A.’s enjoy drastically reduced living costs, allowing them more time to focus on their education. Assistant Residence Manager Carrie Guthrie stresses that education comes first for all new R.A.’s, and that the school will work with their schedules. She also understands that spending time with family during the holiday season is very important so they do not make R.A.’s work over the holidays if they have other plans.  They are also open to shift switches and R.A.’s are only scheduled for five shifts a month.  The process of becoming an R.A. is also a blast.  

The standard stressful job interview has been replaced by an exciting group meeting with role playing and icebreakers. Candidates just need to show up with a positive attitude and be ready to help others. The pre requites for this amazing opportunity are wide ranging. A 65% grade average in post-secondary is a must, followed by many assets such as: community involvement, communication skills, and volunteer skills.  

Residence­­ Assistant Natasha Devries shares her exciting point of view on why becoming an R.A. is an exclusive learning experience. “We cover a lot of things during our full week of training in August; mental health, cultural diversity, conflict resolution, sexuality issues, suicide alertness, and personal safety to name just a few. We run meetings, plan events, mediate roommate conflicts, advise people, administer first aid, and respond to emergencies. I don't know exactly what I want to do with my life but I have no doubt that either directly or indirectly, the experiences and skills I've gained through being an R.A. will benefit me in whatever I do!”

The most unique trait first-year residence students rave about, is the attention to detail and care the R.A’s give them. The small residence community means these team leaders can respond to questions in speedy and personal manner. Living on your own for the first time can be an intimidating concept to wrap your head around, but living in residence is the easiest way to adapt to the new, more independent lifestyle. Residence is more than just a place to retire after a long day of hitting the books, it is a place designed to create new relationships and unforgettable memories. For more information please visit our website.