For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Kat Pillischafske. I am a junior majoring in anthropology and economics, but more than that, I am a second year RA. Last year, I lived in Elder, and I live in Rogers House now. It is pretty safe to say I have had a wide variety of experiences as an RA. I hope my insight can help anyone who is considering becoming an RA make their decision.
Let’s start with the questions that always come up. Is being an RA hard? Yes. Does being an RA take up a lot of time? Yes. Is it hard to balance work and school? Sometimes. Do you think being an RA is worth it? Absolutely. Like any other job, being an RA can be time consuming and stressful. If you are in five clubs and sing a cappella and work as a freelance journalist in your free time, being an RA probably isn’t for you. On the other hand, for anyone who is looking to meet new people, create a home away from home, and become part of a supportive team, I encourage you to apply.
Being an RA is unlike any other experience I have ever had. To be honest, I applied on a whim. I got an email in the middle of the summer from Residential Services asking for applicants. I figured being an RA might be fun and it would help with my student loans. Thinking back, I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but if I had the chance to do it over again, I would still apply.
I have gained so many things from being an RA. I learned better time management by trying to organize my hectic schedule, conflict resolution through roommate disagreements, reliability from my staff team, and responsibility from some less-than-ideal emergency situations. I also learned the definition of “dank” from my residents and how to play a variety of board games, but that seems less applicable.
More than skills, I gained friendships. You form communities with your residents, staff teams, and co-RAs that can turn into lasting relationships. I still see a lot of my residents from last year and one of my co-RAs from Elder is now my best friend. These people, who I would not have otherwise met, are my favorite part of the job. The amazing people living and working in the residence halls are the reason I will apply to be an RA again next year.
Overall, my message to anyone even considering to be an RA is to do it.
Working as an RA can be difficult, but it is an extremely rewarding experience. I can say that even after being woken up at 3 a.m. on a regular basis last year, after dealing with angry parents, and after doing tons of duty rounds, I still love my job. You will never know if the job is for you until you try.