10 Things People Don’t Know About Being A Resident Assistant

Everyone had one, and you either loved or hated, them. We’re talking about Resident Assistants (RA). Here at Ohio University, I am in my first year as an RA, and I absolutely love it. However, when I was a freshman, I was terrified of my RA. I didn’t understand what exactly they did, their role in my life, or the idea that this was their actual job. After going through the application process, training and time on the job, I can say there’s so much more that RAs do that the average resident has no idea about. Here are 10 things you might not know about your RA:

1. So much paperwork

Being in my first year as an RA, I am shocked by the amount of paperwork. From the resident standpoint, you never knew about the paperwork your RA had to do about every resident (Bobcat to Bobcat conversations get reported on!). We also have to do paperwork when an incident happens (incident reports: IR), the paperwork on every single room we check during health and safety inspections, event forms before and after each event, duty logs after working a night, and even room condition reports that are filed before residents even move in.

2. We don’t want to get people in trouble

If you talk to just about most RAs (keyword is most), we don’t want to get residents in trouble. Going back to number one — so much paperwork! If a resident is caught with something, gets too many noise complaints or causes an incident, we have to do paperwork on it. We don’t want to do more paperwork because we purposely seek out those in the wrong.

3. Those bulletin boards? That’s us

Do you like the bulletin board in the hallway? Yeah, we put those up. We also make and hang posters, as well as come up with different events within our buildings for our residents to attend, socialize and learn.

4. We’re just like you

We really are just like you. We’re students who have exams, we eat in the dining halls and live in the dorms, and we go through our own emotional and physical challenges. The only difference is that while we have our own stuff going on in life, we are also helping you get through your challenges and often, at the worst times. An RA could have multiple exams the next day but still spend the night before helping a resident with what they’re going through.

5. It’s a very competitive job application process

Getting a job is actually really hard. Close to 400 students apply each year for under 100 openings (because so many RAs return each year). Even if you’re the perfect applicant and interview well, you might not get a job. Even I didn’t get a job at first and was put on a waitlist!

6. We go through a lot of training

Before every semester, we return one to two weeks early to go through training on everything. We learn about topics from diversity to resident interactions. We also use this time to bond with our staff and get the buildings ready for students to move in or return. Without this training, we wouldn’t be able to successfully do our job.

7. So many meetings

In order to keep every complex running smoothly, we have staff meetings. We meet as an entire staff once a week, as well as one-on-one meetings with our direct supervisors to talk about different events, due dates for things like our bulletin boards, and any conflicts we might be having.

8. You live where you work

This isn’t a job that you get to go to and then leave after your shift. Living where we work means we basically work 24/7. After a night of working, we walk down the hall and we’re home. If a resident were to come to me for help but you’re not on duty (work night), you’re still going to help them because it’s your job.

9. We aren’t scary

While we might seem scary, we really aren’t. Remember number four? We’re just like you! We want to be friends and form a relationship with our residents so we can help them in every way they need to grow and succeed in college.

10. We actually care about our residents

It might shock you but we really do care about our residents. We want the best for them when it comes to every aspect of college.

Get to know your RA and please respect them because before you know it, the year will come to an end and you’ll be onto a new year, new residence hall and new RA.