Here at William and Mary you are permitted to become a RA (Resident Assistant) as early as your sophomore year. I took full advantage of that fact and am now the current Freshman RA for Jefferson 1st East.
My freshman RA was excellent at what she did but as a senior she had an extremely busy schedule. I figured that being a sophomore would make it easier for me to stay involved with my hall. Of course, that was before I realized the magnitude of the job. As a resident living on campus it is very easy to overlook how much an RA does to make sure you have a smooth transition to college. Sure the bulletin boards are cool and the programs seem like fun, but can it really be all that much work?
For starters, an RA is responsible for checking rooms for damages, sitting duty at least once a week, providing fun and interactive programming, promoting hall bonding, putting up educational bulletin boards, and generally just being around to be a resource. All that in addition to keeping up with the academics of W&M as well as a social life and campus activities such as clubs can be quite a challenge. So why would I want a job as hectic as that?
It’s simple: I am happiest when I am teaching and helping people. Although I am not on an education track here at the College, I love sharing my experiences and engaging new people. Not only that, but the RA job plays to my arts and crafts personality, especially since I have free run of the Programming Resource Center to create colorful and interactive boards every month. To me, showing a resident something small like the Swem Signal (a way of letting people know where you are studying in Swem Library) is just as fulfilling as helping to resolve a roommate conflict. I don’t deny the job can be stressful sometimes, especially when 3 natural disasters happen in the first week of classes, thank you Dismal Swamp fire, earthquake and Irene, but overall the good outweighs the bad. Perhaps it’s still too early in the semester to be saying that I love my job and want to do it every year, but it’s true. I really do love being a sophomore at the College as well as a freshman RA.
Bianca Hamp, Class of 2014