I was just waiting for someone to come down and bother me from the highest floors in the building. It was inevitably going to happen. I had already seen students – some embarrassed, some flat-out worried – from most floors.
This was the very first night the building was chockfull of residents. How are you going to get locked out on your very first night in a new home?
Things like this don’t really bother me, though. That’s the difference between those who are Resident Assistants and those who would never consider accepting the position.
There are much bigger things that RAs have to deal with, though. We end our summers early to get back to school for training and see many early morning hours, hours that I only want to see before going to sleep. Not after.
Then there are programs, hallway decorating, the complaining, the confrontations and the hospital runs with binge drinkers. As an RA, you need to be able to take the good with the not-so-good. Being an RA definitely isn’t for everyone.
With that said, there are other people for whom the job is perfect.
Josh Rothstein fits the description. This is his fourth year as an RA. The fifth-year senior will be spending his final year walking the halls of Temple Towers.
There are other RAs who don’t take the position until their final year. Why would anyone, so near to graduation, decide to move back in with those farthest from caps and gowns? It might seem like a senseless drag on your last days of collegiate freedom, but, like me, Johnson Hall RA Andrew Mobarak chose to spend his senior year living with freshmen. And this is his first experience as an RA.
“It’s easy for me to incorporate this job in my everyday life,” Mobarak said. “I’m a very people-oriented person. I like to get to know the people I live around. This position is not really a big sacrifice to me.”
There is the misconception that RAs are hoping to break up parties. We are not out to catch people breaking rules. I don’t know any RAs that want their residents escorted out of the building by the Campus Police. It is troubling.
We take the time to set up programs because we want residents to be able to have fun during down time. The goal of an RA is to help students live in a safe, friendly environment. According to Mobarak, it isn’t all work.
“I like getting to know the guys on my floor,” he said. “I know I have the opportunity to be more influential on them.”
We are here to provide other options for students living in residence halls and develop relationships, too. Mobarak agrees.
“It’s more appropriate for a senior to be with freshmen,” Mobarak added. “I’ve been here three years. I have a lot to share with them. I get to be the one to point them in the right direction.”
Rothstein and Mobarak are up to the challenge of being RAs and are ready for whatever obstacles they encounter.
The clock eventually hit 4 a.m., and I started to think I wouldn’t get another lockout, that I had misjudged the top floors, the lockouts I had felt were inevitable. Maybe the residents on the 10th and 11th floors were just more careful during night one?
Or maybe, it was just that those residents stayed out later. At 4:30 A.M., a girl from the 10th floor was at my door asking for help. Sure, no problem. Day one: completed.
Jeff Appelblatt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.