I was a Resident Assistant or RA for 3 years while I was at Texas Christian University (TCU).
Not only were the benefits amazing, I still use the skills I learned during my years as an RA today in the real world. I stayed in the freshman all-female dorm and was in charge of about 35 girls a year. My responsibility was to get them involved in campus life, make sure they know and follow all rules and be there for them if anything in their life goes awry.
Here are some benefits of becoming an RA at your college.
The free stuff
At TCU, if you were chosen to be an RA, you were given free housing and free access to the campus dining area. Also, we had this sort of fake money at TCU called Frog Bucks and Campus Cash. That amount was also increased if we continued our position. The free stuff is great and is sometimes the only reason people apply to be an RA, but the process is extensive and usually those people get left in the dust and are out-shined by the students who really want to make a difference.
I am still very close to most of the friends I made during my years as an RA. You become very close to these people after you attend meeting after meeting. You also meet up to bounce off ideas and know when their off-days are to plan fun outings. Plus, as a senior in a freshman residence hall, I needed the maturity level of the other RAs to keep me sane.
Using the training
I was trained on multiple levels as an RA. Professionals trained me to notice and refer those who I thought may be suicidal. I used that suicide training, QPR, in and out of school. I also learned about workplace environments and how to deal with the people I work for and with professionally. There are so many professional opportunities that residence life give you, use them to your benefit.
Helping those younger than you
Remember that time when you didn’t know that you couldn’t sign up for classes with a hold on your account? That sucked. How about the time when you freaked out because you didn’t have your books on the first day of class? It wasn’t a big deal. These are just a few instances that the younger students can learn from if you let them know ahead of time. It felt so good every time I gave my girls tips and advice.
Now, being an RA has a lot of benefits, but it also takes a lot of time out of your day. You have extra responsibility and need to be on your best behavior at all times. I will never regret my time as an RA and if you choose the path, welcome to the #RAproblems club. 😉