Life of a Resident Advisor at the University of Kentucky

Submission by Sarah Tran, University of Kentucky student


Being a resident advisor, some may think, is considerably simple. At the University of Kentucky, resident advisors receive free housing and a meal plan and to others, that sounds like an ideal job. But the position is much more complex than that.


Ines Elena Martin, a psychology major, has worked for the university as a resident advisor for 3 years now. Her experience has been nothing but simple.


“The hardest part I would say is the time commitment to it,” Martin says. “Because every time you’re in the building, your home basically, you are always on-call or expected to be available. It’s like working from home except you can never stop working when you want to.”


The majority of UK’s residence halls are freshmen who, for the most part, have never lived away from their families before. The main role of a resident advisor is to help them transition to college. They do so by ensuring their residents are mentally and physically stable, offering resources whether it is academic or personal related, creating an inclusive community, and many more.


Not only that but resident advisors have to address issues that arise in the building, most frequent being alcohol and drug incidents. Adding on to all the tasks they have to do, they also have to work the front desk each week and be on-call throughout the night, meaning if there is an emergency, they are the ones that have to handle it.


“I’ve had nights where I would get calls at like 12 a.m. another one at 3 a.m. and then another one at like 5 a.m.,” says Quin Smith, a pre-med student, who has been a resident advisor for a semester now.


While it is hard, the position allows resident advisors to meet so many diverse people and get the opportunity to build friendships.


“I’ve come to really care for the residents,” Logan Gilliand says, an economics and finance major, who has been a resident advisor for 2 years now. “And seeing them go through really hard times is stressful to deal with as a RA.”


“My resident advisor is like my family here,” Abbi Peck, a sophomore, says. “I know when I need anything, I can come to her.”


Before applying for the position just for the perks, think about how being a resident advisor is demanding yet rewarding at the same time!