I never thought about being an RA before last year. My RA left, so, as an inexperienced freshman, I took the job. When they asked before the end of May Term if I would apply again for this year’s staff, I immediately said yes.Honestly, if you ask our staff why we became RAs, I’m pretty sure many of us will tell you it’s so we can have a dorm room to ourselves, or get a little extra money. But all jokes aside, I have found so many other reasons to enjoy being an RA since I first started in January of 2021.
As an RA, I get paid to do things I love. Obviously, I can complain about how little we get paid, which is one of the main reasons the Residence Life staff struggles to find new RAs. Instead, I focus on being paid a good amount of money to do things that I probably would have done anyway.
I love spending time on my floor because the people on it are friendly, entertaining and remind me how to have a good college experience in between homework assignments. I love decorating the hall because I just think it’s fun and I get to make sure it feels like someone cares about how things look.
I also get to see the campus open up again post-pandemic from a totally different perspective than I originally had.
Last year, especially during the fall semester, I was constantly scared that we would get sent home. When we made it to winter break, I finally started feeling a sense of hope, like we might actually make it an entire year on campus. By the time fall break rolled around last week, it felt like things were finally going back to normal.
As RAs, we no longer have to enforce social distancing or strictly gendered floor policies. Mask policies are still in effect, but we’re hopefully drawing nearer to the end of those policies as the year progresses.
I have gotten to see more of the culture of Goshen College in the last two months than I ever did last year. As an RA, I have the chance to spread the love of that culture.
I have learned to like people in a way I never thought was possible. Being an RA, of course, does come with the foreboding job of being the rule enforcer. The title of RA almost seems like a curse word to some people. The implied breach of trust scares them into not telling me about their weekend plans or fun break memories.
But it also has led me to talk to people who I now consider some of my best friends. I have friends this year who bring me snacks randomly and invite me to go on runs with them. I have learned to love my life here on campus, even through the chaos of the pandemic.
Being an RA can be difficult, tiring and frustrating. It hasn’t always been the most desirable position with its wages, rules and time commitments. But it’s a role I have really come to respect through my time as an RA, and I hope I can help build back the trust between the Residence Life staff and the students here at Goshen College.