I've always been interested in becoming an RA. However, since I'm going to be the yearbook editor next year, I wasn't going to give much thought to it until my term was complete.
When I saw the ad and realized the classes wouldn't conflict with summer school, it was calling my name. So I called the housing office to make sure the class would count for my senior year, when I would have time to apply for the job.
All systems were go, and off to class I went. The first class was an orientation. We were told about the position and given the law of the land for the selection process: To be eligible, one must attend each RA class, meet GPA and enrollment requirements, submit an application and undergo a two-part interview consisting of group observation and individual interview.
The classes were like a mini-retreat every Tuesday and Thursday. I learned more about myself and met some wonderful people along the way. But these were no ordinary classes: I did leadership activities, designed programming based on my pager, mixed chocolate chip cookie ingredients, watched a movie while waving a balloon, role-played and helped plan a party based on sentences taped to our foreheads.
While it may sound strange to you, it taught me to be open to whatever happens, because you never know what will happen in life. I've also learned some great leadership skills I can apply to other aspects of my life.
RAs don't just sit in their rooms all the time; they work hard to make life better for their residents, and the room and board received is a reward for their service. It's like a scholarship: You work hard and you get rewarded. That's not to mention the personal rewards, such as satisfaction in a job well done.
Like many student leader positions, the amount compensated isn't high when you break it down into an hourly rate. But if you're doing something that you love, it doesn't matter, and through the class I've met some RAs who truly enjoy the challenge.
So even though I won't have the time until next year, my RA class was an experience I'll never forget.
Chmiola is a junior journalism major who can't wait to move into the residence halls.
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