A resident assistant can be seen as a person of authority on campus with many identities. As a conflict mediator, an RA helps to resolve differences that may arise between roommates. As an event coordinator, an RA plans and implements social activities and gatherings for residents. As an authority figure, RAs monitor floor behavior and keep the environment as stable and as well mannered as possible, documenting offenses to the code of conduct. As a tutor, an RA will often put aside their own studies to help a student in need of a little extra push to help them pass that dreaded biochemistry exam. As a caregiver, an RA will always be there helping to ease the homesick blues and provide a much-needed hug for students missing home.
A resident assistant is a student leader who makes a difference in the lives of students on campus. Students who choose to become RAs more often than not do it for more than just the single room, the meal plan, the paycheck, the parking space, or any other great perks their school may offer. RAs choose to take on the position of becoming a student leader because they know they have the opportunity to impact the lives of residents. They know they can be a role model to other students, and they have the compassion to care for others.
One of the main duties of an RA is to help students make a smooth transition from high school to college. Change is often difficult; especially when it comes to moving away from a familiar place such as home. Becoming homesick, not adjusting to living with a roommate, and complications with the transition may arise. In this case, an RA is often the go-to person.
Resident Assistants as the Role Model
RAs are often seen as role models to freshman students; they are responsible for setting the standard in what they expect students to live up to. While being away from home does you added freedom, RAs must make wise decisions in order to set examples for their residents to follow.
Building the Relationship
Residents look up to their RAs and it’s often important for the RA to follow through on their word. Residents look up to their RA to build a strong and valuable relationship. When the RA can keep their word with their residents two invaluable fundamentals are built between the resident and the RA—trust and respect.
Creating all Situations Equal
Students look to their resident assistant as a source of stability during the period of change in their lives. RAs can provide students with stability as they lay down the rules of the floor during the very first floor meeting of the year to ensure that all residents are on the same page. RAs rarely bend the rules and will not allow themselves to be pushed around by their residents as they must stick to the rules they set in order to gain respect and send a message to their residents that they are in control. At the same time, residents and RAs are under the basic understanding that all situations are different and no outcome of a situation can be predicted, therefore, the RA will treat all situations and all residents fairly.