There is nothing quite like living in the dorms.
Students with a variety of personalities, who have probably never lived on their own, are thrown together into awfully small living arrangements. It might sound like a disaster waiting to happen, but with the help of a resident advisor (RA), chaos is avoidable.
RA’s oversee dorm life and help make college a memorable experience that goes smoothly.
Sadie Billings, a junior studying public relations and interpersonal communications, has been an RA for over a year.
“I wanted to become an RA because I really wanted to engage in university life,” she said. Billings explained that life as an RA is really hectic during move-in and move-out week because there is so much to do, and students and parents have many questions.
During the school year, however, being an RA becomes more relaxed. Safety is one of Billings’ biggest responsibilities, along with making sure her residents are happy.
“I try to be there for my residents, whether that is answering a quick question about the resident halls or listening to them as they talk about their week,” Billings said.
Being open with her residents is important to Billings, and she loves connecting with them and the rest of the staff.
The most challenging part for Billings is remembering to take care of herself first.
“When they say that you cannot pour from a half-empty cup, they are not kidding,” she said.
The staff works hard to prepare for the students who will be joining their community, and seeing how excited the new residents are always makes the hard work worth it.
Billings’ favorite memory is move-in day.
“We all were pumped to see the new faces,” she said. “Seeing how excited the residents were to be here made it 10 times better.”
Living in the dorms is an unforgettable experience, and as an RA, Billings has learned a lot about herself.
The position has been so much more than she expected, and she realized that “the connections I have made here are ones that will last a lifetime, and this makes me happy.”
Billings loves the sense of community the residential halls have.
“Seeing the difference that you can make in a student’s life makes the hard parts of the job well worth it,” said Billings.