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Meet Purdue Resident Assistant: Allissa Barthuly

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Purdue chapter.

Allissa Barthuly is a sophomore from Carmel, Indiana studying Elementary Education at Purdue University. She is the RA in Owen Residence Hall.

HC Purdue: Why did you become an RA?

Allissa: There are multiple reasons why I wanted to become an RA. I’ve always enjoyed conversing with others and I knew that being an RA would allow me to build relationships and connect with people by sharing my passions with them, yet being open and willing to learn about theirs. I knew that I would get to give wise advice, provide caring assistance, and also resolve conflicts. Majoring in elementary education, I believed this position would help prepare me to be an effective teacher who is practiced in facing challenges, see the beauty of working through problems together, and persevere in finding solutions. Also, becoming an RA would give me experience in leading by example, encouraging others to be good role models, explaining the consequences of wrong decisions and actions, and the importance of teamwork which are all important within the residence halls and similarly, the classroom. I knew that I would be able to grow in the ability to effectively lay down rules and establish authority, yet show compassion and equality to all.  Also, there is so much creativity in the RA position and I have always loved to be creative. I knew that it would foster my creativity as I would have to plan events to get my residents involved and design bulletin boards.

HC Purdue: Were you worried about anything before becoming a RA?

Allissa: The biggest thing I was nervous about was not being able to impact the residents on my floor in the way that I wanted because of other administrative type work I have to do as well as work hard in school while keeping up with my friends outside of residential life.

HC Purdue: Is it weird being in charge of girls, in some cases, that are your age or older?

Allissa: I don’t find it weird to be in charge of girls my age or older because I believe that there is a way to build a relationship of respect whether I am older or younger. I have really enjoyed having residents that are older than me because I can also learn from them. It’s a two way street and it’s fun to be there for them and for them to better get to know me.

HC Purdue: What’s your favorite thing about being a RA?

Allissa: Ohhh, such a difficult question because there is so much! My biggest joy is talking with the girls on my floor. My favorite thing to do is to spend quality time with them and get to know each individual person on a deeper level. I love to be there as a support during difficult and confusing times, as well as celebrate with them during accomplishments and times of joy. It makes me so happy to know that they are willing to come to me to ask for advice about anything, to tell me a random story that happened in their day, to cry because of a trial they are going through, to come over to watch a movie with me, to have deep conversations, or to simply stop by my room for a nice chat and coffee/cocoa.

HC Purdue: Do you think you want to be a RA for the rest of the time you’re at Purdue?

Allissa: Yes! I will be here for the rest of my time here at Purdue. I have made strong friendships with my staff and some of my residents that I am so thankful for and wouldn’t want to leave. I love serving others and being a resource for my residents as well as being someone they feel comfortable going to with various matters. I enjoy doing the crafty things such as bulletin board decorating, craft nights, floor decorating, or different event planning that requires making flyers. I think the challenge is a good learning experience as it requires me to manage my time well and find a balance of all areas of my life.

HC Purdue: What’s your advice for anyone considering becoming a RA?

Allissa: My advice would be to have confidence in all that you do and persevere! There are a lot of times of doubt and times where you feel like you aren’t doing your job well, but there is always hope and good that comes out of times such as these. Also, I would encourage those who are going to be an RA to do your best to build relationships at the very beginning of the year! There is a lot of time and energy involved but it’s fun to get to know new people. Those relationships will be easier to keep up throughout the year if you do so. One last piece of advice would to be comfortable being who you are and knowing that we all have different gifts to offer. Your residents will feel most comfortable if you are genuine and show that you care for them!

Karly McNeish is a freshman at Purdue University studying Public Health. She loves traveling, Gilmore Girls and trying new foods. She is originally from New England and Boston will always have her heart. Karly is a new member of the Twin Pines Cooperative House and she could not be more excited to start her new adventure with all the other Twin Pines Girls. Follow Karly on instagram @karlymcn.