Fatima Rodriguez: RA at UCI

Fatima Rodriguez

Fourth year Criminology Law and Society major

Resident Advisor for Mesa Court year 2017-2018

Why did you choose to be an RA?

“My freshmen year I had a really good experience with my RA. He was very helpful and I was very introverted… He knew that if he pushed me a little more that I would actually go to his programs and participate… I was very me, myself and I and he dragged me out and made me go to [the involvement fair.]... During my second year he still stayed in touch… and he told me ‘you should apply to be an RA’... and he made me realize I had grown a lot from first to second year… and encouraged me to apply for this position [saying] ‘it’s going to be tough but it’s a good challenge’”

 

What is your funniest moment being an RA?

“My residents are actually really funny. In the beginning of the quarter every time I’d see them go out late in the evening with party clothes on I would say, ‘Bye children, have a nice night and be safe!’... And not to long ago I went out well dressed and whatnot and they were sitting in the hallway and they were like ‘Bye mom, have a nice weekend! Stay safe!’... I thought that was pretty funny.”

 

What is the hardest moment being RA?

“Something really difficult that I had to deal with was I had a roommate situation [within my residents] and it was a three against one and it was extremely hostile and my resident actually… thought she was going to get assaulted. She would come to me and talk to me about it and that was really difficult for me to process mentally and emotionally because I love all of my residents. It was just shocking to me that my own residents could do this to each other… and then they ganged up on me… so it was really difficult to put me foot down and say no, I am the person with authority and I’m here to help you and advise… I guess dealing with that situation not knowing what to do or how to advise or how to deal with it personally and the toll it was having on my health I think it was the most difficult thing I had to do.”

 

What have you learned this year as an RA?

“I feel like I’ve found myself and found home, which I think is really difficult to find in college because you go home and it’s not home and you come here and it isn’t home. Being an RA I definitely found my place and my purpose in college because I love this job, even though it’s stressful… It’s one of the best jobs I’ve ever had, my staff is amazing and my residents are cool… I don’t know if that’s really learning but being an RA has helped me find what my purpose in college is.”

 

What was the most satisfying moment or something that you’re proud of?

“I love it when my residents tell me that they’re going to apply for a job or internship and then I see them later and [they tell me] ‘guess what, I got it’ and to me that’s so satisfying because I get to watch them grow.”

 

What advice do you have for future RAs?

“Be patient and have hope... This job is very draining and takes a toll on who you are as a person, not necessarily in a negative way, but you always have something to do and your residents come first.”

 

What advice do you have for freshmen?

“Get involved! My biggest regret of freshmen year was not doing anything...But as for second and third year I was involved in so many things and there’s so many more memories and things I’ve learned. I’ve grown a lot as a person and intellectually because of all these extra things I do… Definitely get involved even if you’re scared.”

 

How do you balance it all?

“Google calendar is my savior. I literally write down everything and I have like five different calendars...they’re all different colors but on the same calendar… So definitely color coordination and writing everything down is how I stay sane and putting time to the side for me-time… Staying organized and having a daily routine [is important].”