Profile: R.A. On The Hill & Overall Lifesaver, Twinkle Gupta

Serving snacks on the 5th floor, keeping residents calm during the fire drills and being the shoulder to cry on during finals week are all responsibilities for Resident Assistant Twinkle Gupta. Between balancing that and a full load of classes, Twinkle sat down with HC to give us the low-down on being the best buddy on campus.

Her Campus: Tell us about yourself! 

Twinkle Gupta: I'm a 4th year Communications major. Besides being a 5th floor RA for Rieber Terrace, I'm also involved in the Undergraduate Communication Association (UCA), Indian Student Union (ISU) and Pi Sigma Epsilon - Marketing and Sales Fraternity. 

HC: As an RA, you're impacting lives every day. What have you learned through this experience?

TG: I think a significant lesson I learned from being an RA is learning to dig deeper into a person. Many people’s life experiences have shaped their beliefs, attitudes and ideas about particular topics. When you are interacting with someone who you conflict or disagree with, it is a great opportunity to take a step back and dig deeper into what experiences or factors have shaped this person’s belief systems. Often, being aware of this information can transform your interactions for the better and help you understand that person without bias clouding your judgment.

HC: Ok, so we know there are some ideas floating out there about RAs. What do they have right and what are they totally wrong about?

TG: A very common misconception about RAs is that residents often feel like their RA has it all figured out or he/she has their life together. Because the RA position is seen in high regard, there’s this assumption that RAs are perfectly balancing their social, academic and personal lives. This is often not true, sometimes residents forget that RAs are also just regular students trying to get by.

An accurate depiction of RAs is that sometimes the job can be demanding. Despite the role being very rewarding, the beginning of the school year can be a very busy time for RAs as we begin to prepare our floors for the upcoming year. Also, depending on your community, you might be investing a good portion of your time handling situations that arise within your community, such as floor incidents or roommate conflicts.

HC: What made you want to become an RA and what’s the job actually like?

TG: I did not want to leave UCLA without making some kind of impact. I thought the RA role was a great way for me to build leadership skills and also give back to the UCLA community by helping students feel more connected to their institution. 

As an RA, I strive to create a sense of community and belonging on the residential floors. This can be achieved by creating programs that help community development and increase engagement and interaction between my residents. Additionally, my role is to foster inclusivity on my floor, so taking into account different backgrounds and identities helps me plan certain activities or programs for my community. Most significantly, my role is to be present, accessible and guide my residents to particular resources that will benefit them.

HC: You’re starving. You can only eat from one dining hall for the rest of the year. Which one is it?

TG: B-Plate. I really enjoy the variety of healthy dishes that B-Plate serves, and honestly, those vegan brownies are my huge weakness.

HC: What are some of your upcoming events?

TG: We are planning to have a building-wide event, sometime during week 9, focused on professional development. Residents will have the opportunity to participate in a mock interview, get their resumé reviewed, get their LinkedIn photos taken and learn how to search for jobs effectively.

 

HC: What’s it like dealing with a 24-hour availability schedule? How do you balance the hours and what are some of the crazier hours you’ve worked?

TG: Being available 24 hours to my residents is pretty manageable. Oftentimes, when my residents need me and I am not on the floor, they can shoot me a message, and in return, I will try to respond in a timely manner. If it’s evening hours and residents need access to an RA, duty RA will be available to them. So having duty RAs, my staff, and other means of communication with my residents allows me to be there for my residents, even if it means I am not physically present. So despite being available 24 hours, it helps to let my residents know that there are other options for help when I am not available. 

I usually balance my hours by trying to get away from campus once in a while. I think it’s important to rejuvenate by spending some time away from campus in order to forget about responsibilities and commitments by going somewhere new. Whether it’s just going into Westwood or going somewhere new in LA, having that time away from UCLA has been crucial for me to recharge. I think the craziest hour I have worked was having to stay up until 3 am for an incident. Staying up late for an incident has been rare so far in my experience, but it can happen. 

HC: We salute the awesome work that you’re doing. How can interested girls get involved?

TG: RA applications tend to come out during December. So, filling out the RA application and asking your RA for tips on the application is a great way to become involved. You can even become involved with Residential Life by taking on RGC positions or becoming a CR (Community Representative) for your floor. You can visit the reslife website for more information.

HC: You’re graduating this year! What are your plans for world domination?

TG: Currently, my post-graduate plan is to immerse myself in the entertainment industry as much as possible. I love film and entertainment, and the fast pace of the industry. The industry also requires you to be strategic and quick on your feet. Specifically, I want to go into the marketing aspect of entertainment and land a marketing director role with a large media company. 

HC: As you cross the commencement stage in Pauley Pavilion, what type of legacy do you want to have at UCLA?

TG: The type of legacy I want to have at UCLA is helping others. College is such an enriching experience, but it can be difficult to navigate at times. I want to help students with their academic pursuits, but also encourage them to make the most of their 2 or 4 years. By creating a sense of community and inclusivity within my role, I am able to achieve these goals. 

Twinkle- we will miss you but we're so excited to see what fantastic things you do in the future.

Congratuations on graduating and Go Class of 2019!

XOXO, Her Campus