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My Life is GrUV: Inside RA Life

We’ve all had RAs here at UVM. Ever wonder what goes on behind the scenes? Two RAs are here to let us know:

1. Most surprising thing you learned when you first started out as an RA? 

RA 1: Some people are really talented at creating cheers and showing team spirit. They give us a surprising amount of free candy. Also, I was amazed to realize that every single night, 2 or 3 RAs have to walk an entire residence hall more than once and then fill out mundane paperwork. I really do think there are good intentions behind it, but it still baffles me. One thing I was not surprised about: icebreakers get old real fast.

RA 2: There’s A LOT that goes on around this campus and Burlington that stays well-hidden from the general public. As an RA you kind of get an inside scoop on it all, whether that’s for better or for worse I’m still not sure.


2. Funniest RA stories?

RA 1: Sometimes, you encounter some interesting things in the rooms during inspections… I have seen a stripper pole, a headless Barbie, and handcuffs for example. Not all in the same room. Somehow, it has happened twice that we are doing an inspection in a seemingly empty room, when all of a sudden a body moves in the bed. The first time it happened, my fellow RA screamed, ran out, and was afraid of entering every room after that. I have walked in on people having sex in the laundry room on duty walks.

RA 2: Naked bike ride…residents have the “anything goes” mentality that night, so when the next morning roles around and you have that “oh, I saw you prancing around naked last night” moment….that’s always fun.


3. Most frustrating thing about being an RA?

RA 1: There is no limit to how many mundane activities you can be asked to do. People will most likely have meltdowns during staff meeting at some point. I have given up trying to do homework at the front desk, because no one cares that you’re trying to work.

RA 2: Residents not treating you like a real human/student. Just walking in the halls you’ll hear people whisper “oh she’s an RA” or people will just act differently around you, more robotic and afraid to talk about real things. Once you are an RA, that’s kind of your first identity to residents before they get to know you.


4. Most enjoyable part about being an RA? 

RA 1: You get to meet some really interesting people and learn from them. Some of those people will be incredibly cool and make being an RA easier. In a rare and fleeting moment, residents might thank you for something you did for them. It gives the job more purpose. The free food is a gigantic plus.

RA 2: Meeting an entirely new community of people outside of your classes/major or clubs. You get to be pretty close with your staff and definitely learn how to deal with a lot of bullshit that makes you better prepared for life outside of Reslife


5. Things you want people who aren’t RAs to know/understand about being an RA?

RA 1: Many RAs are doing it for financial reasons, but we also usually try to make the most out of it. The job is much more time-consuming than it seems. Most of us absolutely hate documenting people and just pray to the college gods that residents are quiet during walks.

RA 2: There’s a strong stereotype around RA’s that we’re power hungry and like getting people in trouble, when really most of us just take the job because we’re paying for our own education and would rather not pay $11,000 for a grungy dorm room and Sodexo food.

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