Who are the Resident Advisers, and what the hell do they actually do? Are they just random people that volunteer to defend the college dorm quiet hours? Are they secret heroes who save lives without anyone knowing? I would argue that RAs fall somewhere in the middle, but everyone is entitled to their own opinion.
Before you draw an opinion on people you don’t know or about a job you think you may know, hear what the actual RAs have to say. You might just be surprised what goes on after that sexy red polo gets put on.
Moody Towers South
Meeshal Mahmood (Supply chain management senior)
Being an RA has definitely helped me step outside of my comfort zone and take initiative to be bold and speak what is on my mind. As a business major, confidence is key, and being an RA has helped me in being OK with voicing opinions that are not always with the status quo. I am a committee member for the Sourcing and Procurement Organization in Bauer. I would have not had the courage to be able to pursue a leadership role before. The RA job has taught me to take chances and not be intimidated by others.
Cougar Village 2 Low
Katie Hall (Human resources development senior)
My favorite part about being an RA is the opportunity to positively represent the University while building a community for each of my residents.
If I weren’t graduating in May, I would be the first to apply to be an RA again. My experience as an RA has allowed me to grow tons of leadership experience, and I’ve made some amazing friends through my two-year process between Calhoun Lofts and Cougar Village 2.
Cougar Village 2 High
Sarah Barchie (Nutrition senior)
My friends joke that I can’t walk around campus without running into people I know, and it’s really true. I was pretty involved in campus organizations before I became an RA, but I have met so many more people and made many more friends as an RA. Now, it’s so much easier to try new events or organizations because I know I can always find a friend to attend with me.
Cougar Village 1 High
Kayla Fischer (Biology junior)
Honestly, I feel like I’ve mostly learned about different types of people. Not just cultural differences, but different personalities, which helped me open my mind more to the different values and ideas that other people have.
I think (being an RA) helps both introverts and extroverts grow. As an introvert, being an RA has helped my communication skills and has made me more comfortable and willing to talk to people. Extroverts, I think, learn how to tone down their approach in order to relate to the quieter, shyer residents.
Moody Towers North
Hamza Muhammad (Electrical engineering sophomore)
Being an RA is a lot of work. One of my supervisors, Jackie Stelmaszczyk told me, ‘in housing, any job is not worth it if you don’t like what you do. For me, it was the perfect job because I love getting to know new people, but for others it might not be. I think definitely give becoming an RA a try, but keep in mind that as an RA you become a student leader and it gives you a certain level of responsibility that you can never shirk in any situation.
Bethany Polson (Communications junior)
I became an RA because I was interested in fostering community in our residence halls on campus. I know it can be hard to make friends in the building you live in but with a good RA, that’s a lot less stressful of a process. I love helping my residents when they come to me for help as long as it’s not 2 a.m.
Cougar Village 1 Low
Johnny Soudah (Petroleum engineering junior)
Throughout the year we host programs to educate residents, or just give them something fun to do. For me, my favorite event that I’ve ever put on was ‘Keep Calm and Be Zen.’ What made this event so special was the fact that it required residents to interact with people they didn’t know. Throughout anyone’s college career, you will come across the idea of working together with different people—and that is what we accomplished with this program. Also, residents got to keep homemade stress balls, so they can walk away from the programs with something cool.
While the RA job has its eventful moments, there are times where it gets difficult. Not only is time management a major key in becoming a successful student and an RA, but also being able to respond correctly to emergencies is extremely important, and sometimes difficult. An RA may build friendships with many different residents throughout the year, but it is important to remember that at the end of the day, you need to establish boundaries with everyone to ensure that no one is breaking any rules.
Leah Lucio (Print journalism and liberal studies senior)
I wanted to become an RA only after living on campus (at CVI) for a semester. When I first moved in I was super shy, introverted and experienced culture shock and homesickness. But I had three amazing RAs on my wing who were always kind and inviting. They facilitated a really positive, welcoming atmosphere—we had this amazing couch/sofa pit—and inspired me to do the same. They also worked really hard and proved that succeeding at UH and working was possible.
As an RA you notice when your residents are struggling, even your staff. I get instinctively maternal. All you’re able to do is talk: ask them how their day is going, invite them to programs and events and encourage them. That can be tough. Seeing people struggle academically, emotionally, spiritually, physically—it’s a part of college that we all go through, but it’s hard not to take it personally. (I feel like) it’s my responsibility to protect them—not just do their check in and out paperwork.
Adaobi Betty Ovuegbe (Psychological, health and learning sciences senior)
My experience as an RA for the past two years has taught me the importance of time management, personal and professionalism development, and learning how to interact within a diverse population. I’ve also learned how to demonstrate leadership through action and not position.
Many other RAs and I can definitely attest to the amount of personal and professional growth you’ll experience as an RA. It’s great to know that you can have a positive influence on the lives of others, and also contribute to the pride and success of the UH community. The (monetary) compensation is great and all, but you also learn a lot of important skills that can be applied later in your life, regardless of what profession you decide to pursue.
Jamison Carson (Human development and family studies junior)
SRA of Bayou Oaks
I would want to be an RA again because I love what I do. This job is extremely rewarding, but can also be challenging at the same time. Through being an RA and an SRA, I have found my passion and I plan on continuing to work in residence life after graduation.