College is a huge financial investment, especially when living on campus. Even with the help of scholarships and financial aid, paying can be a huge struggle. A way to lessen the blow of this huge investment is to become a resident assistant (RA). Resident assistants have their room and board fees paid for by the school.
The thought of this may sound very appealing, however, there is a price to be paid in order to become an RA. RA’s are the students who live on each floor of the dorm buildings and act as a kind of parent to their floor. This job may be very tasking and even annoying sometimes because it is a job that you cannot escape.
Before choosing to become an RA, be fully aware of what you are getting into. Here are the Pros and Cons of becoming a resident assistant.
Depending on the school you attend, housing can vary in price. Either way, living on campus is expensive. When becoming an RA, that bill disappears. Being an RA is just like a real job. You have tasks to do and responsibilities to uphold.
However, instead of getting paid with a check every other week, you get paid in housing. RA’s do not have to pay to live at school. This takes a great load of pressure off students who are paying their own way through college.
Because being an RA is such a great responsibility, it is an immediate plus on a résumé. It shows future employers that one possesses great leadership qualities. During an interview it is a great way to demonstrate your use of “practical experience”.
When becoming an RA, there is RA training. This means about a week before school begins, all of the new or returning RA’s have to gather together and attend training to make sure they are more than capable of handling any situation. During this period, all of the RA’s have a chance to meet one another and bond.
Over the course of the year, the RA’s also have to work closely together to make sure things get done and get done correctly. This may cause each of the RA’s to become very close and make new, long lasting friends.
Major time commitment
Being an RA is not an easy job. It involves being responsible for an entire floor of students at any time of the day or night. While being on call, if a student is in need, they must drop everything and report to their duty, no matter what that RA is doing, They may be studying, writing a paper, or even sleeping, but while on call those things come second because they have a job to do.
Because RAs are in a position of power and leadership, they are held to much higher standards than ordinary students. They are expected to be role models and to be examples of how to act for all other students. Even when they are not on the job, people are watching to see how they act. Being an RA comes with a lot of pressure and will affect one’s entire life, even when they are not on the clock.
Dealing with freshmen
An RA does not always get to choose which year of students live on their floor. They may get stuck with freshmen, which may sometimes be frustrating. Freshmen tend to have to deal with certain issues that other students have already gone through.
First-year students tend to have issues such as being homesick, self-confidence, or time management. It may be difficult to deal with someone who has been at school for two weeks crying about their experience, when you have already moved past those things years ago.
Being an RA is not an easy job but it is a self-gratifying job. RAs keep students safe and in check while caring for them as a parent would. They do good work, help students out, build a sense of community, and make a difference in people’s lives. It may be a difficult job, but it will make you feel like you are doing something good with your life.
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