Kayla Bacon-Love Your Melon Group

My Golden Res Family

5 years ago today, I was a senior in high school and I made the decision to go to KU. Never in these past 5 years would I imagine I’d be finishing my undergraduate degree from home. I imagined my last semester being so much fun and it has been, but when spring break ended so did my life on KU’s campus and everything has changed. It’s like someone stomped on the breaks and I was launched back home. I love home and I’m lucky to have an amazing family and support system, but I wasn’t ready to leave the family and home that I built at KU.

The reason I have such an amazing Kutztown family is because of Residence Life (Res life). I became a Desk Receptionist (DR) my junior year at KU, was a Community Assistant (CA) my Senior and part of my Super senior year, and now I’m an Assistant Resident Director (ARD). I have a family, a Res Life family. I have amazing DRs, wonderful CAs, the best Building Directors to look up to, fabulous ARDs to work with, and I have a golden pack of bears to protect me.

When I was told that I couldn’t live on campus for the rest of this semester I felt robbed. So many memories that I should have made are now gone. My last Bearfest, the Res Life Banquet, my graduation on May 9th, and a lot more. They are all gone. Recently Kutztown announced that graduation will hopefully happen in the Fall, but I’m not graduating in the Fall. I’m graduating May 9th. Honestly, I’m most upset about Bearfest 42 being canceled. Our last meeting was a team-building day. I had a blast and there were so many smiles and laughs and I knew that day that when Bearfest came it would have been the best one yet and now it’s not happening. I don’t have my Bearfest meetings anymore, I don’t have my staff right outside my door, I don’t get to see everyone’s smiling faces, and I don’t know what to do with myself.

I haven’t cried yet, but I feel like it’s gonna happen sooner or later. I hope though that when I do cry it’s more happy tears because I know Kutztown is doing everything, they can to support us even with the miles between us.

Despite all of the distance I’m beyond excited to be having 1:1s with my staff members, and I’m excited that Res Life is up and running even during a time like this. Covid-19 didn’t stop them and it’s not gonna stop me. I’m going to push to finish my undergrad strong and proud of myself. I might be devastated and feel robbed, but I know myself and I know that I will find the positivity through this hard time.

Everything has a silver-lining like: I finally have time to clean! I’m not excited about that, but I’ll be happy once my room is put together. I finally have time to do little projects that I’ve been putting on hold for the right time. I finally have time to do a lot of different things and my Res Life family is still with me.

I know everyone has a story about Res Life at KU. Maybe some people don’t have the best stories, but my Res Life story is a positive one. There are so many people that I want to mention because of the positive impact they have made in my life and how much love I have for them.

I need to go back to when I was a DR and my love for Res Life truly bloomed. It was because of my ARD, BD, co-DRs, and CAs that I loved being part of the University Place (UP) family. I miss all the wonderful residents that stopped and talked with me during my shittiest of shifts to my busiest of shifts. The number of stories I have from just sitting at a desk will astound you. I’ve made lifelong friends just from knitting at a desk and smiling as people came and left my lobby. Then off to Dixon Hall for my sophomore year, I became a CA and I honestly did not want to go back to Dixon, but I look back now and I wouldn’t change anything. My BD is still rocking it at KU and I’m going to miss being able to pop in and see her. I had a great ARD and I worked with an amazing staff. That year though, was the year my best friend and I got close and I cannot see my future without her. She made my life my Senior year and I cannot wait to see where else we go together.

Moving on to my last year, this year. I honestly want to say I’m the luckiest ARD around. My BD may not always have much to say, but he is someone who will always be there for you. Thought truthfully, I love my job most because of the Beck Family that was made this year. My CAs and DRs are just the best! We all goof off together and we support each other. We give hugs and hand tissues out during the teary moments of life. I’m there for them as much as they are there for me, but what makes Beck even better is the residents. I was a CA last semester, so I got to know the 3rd girls pretty well and they are all amazing women. They made me laugh and always took the time to say, “hi” to me and whatever family member I was on the phone with. I always looked forward to keeping my door open or walking around to say, “hi” to everyone who kept their door open. As I moved downstairs, I didn’t lose my love for them, but I gained an even bigger family by getting to know more residents: the goofy residents that would pop into the lobby, even the ones that reached out when they needed help. I especially loved it when they would say, “hi” to me and the DR. My staff and the residents of Beck are my family and I’m so lucky to have been able to meet this bunch of people. They all might not know how much they’ve impacted my life, but I hope they are happy, and I hope they all have a good Res Life story to tell.

There are so many people that have made my days on campus magical and golden and one day I hope I can show them how much they have inspired me. They are why I want to continue a career in higher education. If I wasn’t given so much love and support from my Res Life Family, I wouldn’t want to go into grad school, but I’m happy that my Junior year my roommate asked me to become a DR. I’ve lucked out with having three years of family and three years of being part of KU’s Golden Res Life Family. I hope KU knows that they have a special golden pawprint shaped spot in my heart.