While movies often make resident advisors look like perky weirdos who are too enthusiastic for their own good, the truth is RAs are students just like you with all the same school joys and struggles. Whether you’re moving into your on-campus apartment or starting off freshman year in a dorm with dreaded communal bathrooms, here’s some things RAs WISH we could tell you to help you survive your hall and make the most of what RAs have to offer!
1. “We REALLY want to be your friend!”- Sounds pretty desperate, right? Most RAs are chosen because they are great with conversation and relationships (not because we are really good at sniffing out your pot and alcohol), so getting to know them will enrich your college experience. Students, especially freshmen, are often really close to their RAs, and it has several benefits: knowing about all the good free food (but really!), great recommendations for jobs and life-long friends.
2. “We know more than you think”- RAs are often labeled clueless, but the reality is that we are even more in the loop than normal students. Many RAs are privy to information from judicial cases and past situations, so they may already know about Grandma’s death or your habitual drug problem. Chances are, lying to a RA is pointless when we may just be trying to help you by asking about it. Give us some credit! We are monotonously trained to talk about tough issues and are under strict confidentiality codes. We’re like amateur Dr. Drew’s minus all the yelling and the cheesy mustache.
3. “You scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours”- Let’s be honest, RAs are under a ton of pressure to get high attendance at their events. Even if it’s a cheesy movie night or an inspirational activity aimed at floor bonding that you’re inclined to avoid like the plague, attending the event will make you visible to the RA and put you in their good graces. Maybe next time we hear a “clink” coming from behind your door or smell a weird odor, we may be less inclined to stop and document if you’re someone who has consistently helped us out.
4. “Roommate issues are way more common than you think”- You may feel like you are the only one on the floor struggling to connect with your roommate, but the truth is most people are having the same issues. Whether she’s having sexual encounters in your bed or turning on the lights at 4 a.m., RAs have a solution for that. Just be prepared for lots of talking and “I feel…” statements. We’ll provide the tissues.
5. “The Freshman 15 is a real struggle”- We see it every year: the healthy college student used to home-cooked meals from mom who is stoked to see mac and cheese on the menu every night. Time to go wild and gorge on corn dogs, right?! Wrong. Health is something very little students pay attention to amidst being stressed with schoolwork, clubs, involvements and friends. The gym is a great resource for feeling like your healthy self again, along with healthy options many dining halls offer each day.
6. “The RA job is a REALLY good deal”- Thinking of applying for a RA job but worried about giving up on partying and fun? Think again! The semi-restrictive nature of a RA job ends up super worth it. For most schools, the RAs get FREE room and board, a FREE meal plan and a decent paycheck. Plus, the position has built-in RA and resident friends that make the journey less lonely and actually really fun.
7. “RAs party too”- It may shock you, but your RA was a doe-eyed freshman once who made all the same mistakes, and they enjoy having an adult social life as well. If you see a RA at a party, the worst thing you can do is tell someone. Most of the time, there is a contractual rule where RAs have to leave parties if our residents are there that is ridiculously hard to keep tabs on. Hey, you technically shouldn’t be there either. Yeah, we see your 18-year-old self holding that red cup.
8. “RAs live vicariously though you”- We are just one person who may have not gotten to do every single thing a school may offer. We genuinely want to hear all about your study abroad, your break-dance club or the abnormal disease class you’re taking. Don’t discount RA curiosity as nosiness. We for sure aren’t trying to learn your secrets to one day use them against you. The more we feel a connection with you and see effort, the more we are able to reach beneficial hall understandings, where it will be easier and more pleasant for everyone to live.