The nitty, gritty, dirty truth about being an RA

By Madison McCollum, Opinions Editor

Being a Resident Assistant is easily the most rewarding job I’ve had in the last three years. I was a freshman that lived fifteen minutes away, wore a crazy backpack and lacked any real college involvement (outside of being CAB’s no.1 fan). But the Residence Life Director at the time saw something and hired me in.

The next year was wild- I met so many excited freshmen, dealt with some crazy incidents (I’ve been sworn to secrecy by my RA bloodpact, so don’t even ask), made some lifelong friends and tested myself in every aspect of the word. I became different- even louder than before, more involved, more outspoken. It was amazing and it was something I wanted to do for the rest of my college career. But that doesn’t mean I’m not tired. Nor does it mean that I could keep my endless optimism up.

Every job has its drawbacks. Every passion has it’s dull moments. And BOY have I had some moments where I’ve thought “Is it worth it?”

Here’s the thing about RAs: We do everything. We are your club presidents, SGA senators, First Year Experience directors and team members. We work part-time to pay for school, write and edit for the school paper and are prominent figures on campus. We come to your events because we want to support you. We drag a resident with us so that you have at least one more supporter. Just one more person that might enjoy an experience.

That’s why we do it. We don’t do it because we get room and board free- because trust me, it really isn’t worth how much time I put into it. If you paid us minimum wage, we put thousands of dollars worth of work into long duty weekends, people crying in our room, vandalized bulletin boards and 24/7 text messages...We make about half of what we would per hour.

I think people forget, sometimes, that we’re not here to police you. We’re not here because we “want to get you in trouble” or because we “hate you.” We  don’t care that you have a candle; we care that it was lit and the door was open and it is against the rules. We’re not mad that you’re drinking. We’re just enforcing a policy and a law that keeps us from being liable.

We are people. Real live people with feelings (shocker) and goals. We took this job because we want to help you succeed and, hopefully, enjoy your college experience.

But- we’re just as tired as you are,  just as overworked and stressed out. But here they are, planning events you probably won’t attend, answering texts on our lunch break and trying to keep up with the 30 messages we get over email, text, Facebook, sticky notes (and on and on and on) to try and get you everything you need.

Now, I’m not asking you to knock on your RA’s door and bow down at their feet with a “thank God you’re here,” but I’m at least asking for you to show them a little kindness, a little respect.

Or maybe just a please when you’re asking for TP.