Remember those first couple weeks of your freshman year of college? The get-to-know-you events, the ice cream socials, the random people you spent time with that you haven’t talked to since, the first Kick-Off, the intensely energetic spirit exuding from every single person around you, the point when you realized that you were at college, for real, and you were suddenly an adult?
While you may remember all of this, I wonder if you remember a certain special person who did a lot of behind-the-scenes work for you as you became accustomed to college life. That person can only be your trusted Resident Assistant.
As the month of March creeps up on us, RA and RL applications are becoming a hot topic in the dorms. As one of the Yoder RAs for this current school year, I would like to share with you the perks of being an Resident Assistant and/or Leader.
First, as Ellie Schertz, a sophomore, told me as I was thinking about applying for the job, “an RA’s most important role is turning off the lights.” What could be better than turning off the lights and kicking the opposite gender off the floor? Nothing. That’s what.
Since being an RA I have come up with a few creative alternatives to the traditional “boys off the floor” saying (although I do tend to use this most often). Spraying the straggler significant other with air freshener — in my case, sunflowers and sunshine Febreze — has proven very effective. I have also made good use of my alarm clock, which blares the Muslim Call to Prayer.
Second, enforcing quiet hours. While this has proven a bit more difficult, I have found that it is actually a good bonding experience to knock on someone’s door and say, “[Insert name], I love ya, but could you please stop laughing so loud, or close the door, or turn the music down, or try and keep your explosive burps to yourself.” Or in some cases, it is also a good experience when someone knocks on my door because my roommates and I are being noisy! Believe it or not, RAs are just normal humans and we make mistakes too.
Third, communicating with the floor through emails. I have to admit, this is actually one of my favorite parts of my job. Who knew that sending emails could be so much fun? Coming up with any number of different greetings (for example, “Lovely ladies”—for all you Les Mis fans), sharing funny YouTube videos, and my all-time favorite: baby memes. When I need a break from work I look up baby memes (the appropriate ones) and send them to the floor.
Four, planning floor activities. Did you ever go on a floor date where you got to pair up with someone and shave whipped cream off their face with a spoon in your mouth? I don’t think so.
Five, RAs count as TWO people. You can live in a room by yourself or in a triple with one other person. Also, if you live in a Yoder South triple you have the unique opportunity to hear the everyday conversations that people (ahem, couples) have in the stairwell. That’s right, we can hear you.
Six, making the bathroom an interesting place for community. Every two or three weeks I put new papers up in the bathroom stalls that either have funny comics, pictures, sayings or everyday information on them. Sometimes I just write a question and leave a pencil and then everyone can answer when they feel the need. Why is this community, you might ask? Because what is a better way to bond than to hear the person in the stall next to you laughing at something. You have to ask them why they are laughing.
Seven, being on a team. I don’t think that I have ever appreciated teamwork so much in my life. If for no other reason, applying to be an RA allows you to get to know other RAs. Weekly meetings are one of the highlights of my week. Good food, good friends and good gossip about dorm living.
In conclusion, RAs are cool. You might be terrified of us and you may think that we are “out to get you,” but we aren’t. We’re just some more chill people who live on your floor. Would you like to be cool? Consider becoming an RA (or even an ML, because they’re pretty swell too)!
Eva Lapp is a sophomore PJCS major. She serves as a Resident Assistant in Yoder Hall.