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Top 10 Things to Know From Your Friendly Neighborhood Residential Assistant

Sierra Madden | Staff Writer

With over 2,000 students living on Eastern Connecticut State University’s campus and 13 active residential halls, RAs are an important factor in keeping housing running smoothly. Most seem to fear their RAs or think that we don’t care but in actuality we do! Here are some things that many of us would like our Residents to know.

1. We are not trying to get you in trouble: it can be alarming when you get a knock on the door and hear the wonderful shout “RA,” but it is not because we want to come get you in trouble. Many times, we just try to make sure everyone is safe, and we are doing our jobs. There is this wonderful manual that RAs are given that has all the things we cannot do as Residents. Most of them are pretty silly, but in the grand scheme of things, probably there for a reason. Rule of thumb: we don’t want to SEE anything that gets you in trouble and we do truly feel terrible when we must act.

2.We want to be there for you: As an RA it can be hard knowing your residents have no interest in talking to you. Many RAs have taken on their role because they are empathetic and would like to get to know other students and be there for them. If you have something you feel like you can’t go to your roommates or friends for, know that your RA is there for you and does not see you as a burden in any way.

3.We are students as well: If you are struggling in a class, you bet your RA is probably also struggling in one too and you can totally rant with them or study if you guys are in the same class! If we don’t respond to you right away, we might be in class, sports, or clubs, but don’t let that discourage you from reaching out! It just might take us longer to respond but it doesn’t mean we don’t care.

4. We are people outside our job: To quote a fellow RA, “I hate that everywhere I go, I am called ‘RA Jordan’ as if I am not a separate person from my position.” We do not want to be on the job at all times! We don’t want to be seen as the bad guy or as just an RA. There was a time when a few of us went out to eat and were called the RAs even though we were off campus. When we are being introduced to new people or talking to friends, we want to be regular people, not residential assistants.

5. For upperclassmen: Please use the stove properly: Did you know every time you set the fire alarm off, we must write a report in the system even if it was just your room alarm? Make sure to put those fans above your stoves and start on low heat! The fire alarms are really sensitive at times so stay safe and learn how to cook a burger!

6. We can be friends; but don’t let it compromise our jobs: Don’t be scared to befriend us outside of the building and hang out, just know that because we are friends does not mean we can give special treatment because that puts our jobs at risk. Again, we don’t want to be the bad guy or a bad friend, but we also have a job to do.

7. We put a lot of effort into our events: Events take a lot of time to plan out and prepare for so please take the time to come to an event or two! Even if it is to just to stop by for the priority point, we would love to see people around! We must document attendance and meet goals we set for ourselves, so it is helpful and more fun the more residents that join us.

8. We hold the answers; or the resources to them: We have learned so much information about this campus and it's actually super helpful stuff. There is a resource for everything if you give it a chance. Worst case: it doesn’t work but you tried it and that is what helps the most. We have been in your position, we have gone through our own struggles, let us help you find what you need.

9. You’re allowed to follow us on social media: If you want to be friends or follow us on social media, you are totally welcome to, we just won’t follow you first. If we were to do so, it might seem like a conflict of interest. Social media is such a great form of communication and connection so of course we would love to get connected, but on your terms.

10. Please keep track of your keys: Did you know if you lock yourself out more than three times, we must write a report? It is a very silly thing, but it is so important for you to keep track of those keys! There may be times the desk isn’t open, and you can’t get in right away. I like to keep my keys on a lanyard and on a hook. Works like a charm. Make yourself a sign!

Thanks for reading some common things RAs would like their residents to know. Always feel free to reach out to any RA even if they are in a different building if you ever need anything as a resident or just need a friend.



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