It’s about that time again. Time to think about where you’ll be living next year! It’s scary, nerve-wracking, exciting, time-consuming and every other emotion possible.

It’s at this point that some of you might realize that Resident Assistants (RAs) get free room and board!

That settles it. You’ll become an RA, and your housing woes will be no more! However, hold your horses, because there’s a lot more to being an RA than just a free single room all to yourself.

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Being an RA is seriously time-consuming and has the potential to be extremely difficult if you’re not in it for the right reasons, like just for the free room and board. Nevertheless, many things about being an RA make the job an amazing experience!

Before you sign up, make sure you know exactly what the position will involve:

1. You’re expected to be in your room quite frequently
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Being an RA also means that you’re making yourself available to your residents. This means being in your room more often, checking your email a million times a day and keeping your door open so residents feel comfortable talking to you.

2. You’re responsible for responding with issues your residents may face

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Being an RA means that you’ll also be responding to potential problems and issues your residents may face. Sometimes they’re challenging, but sometimes they’re very rewarding – even both. Don’t worry! You’re trained extensively on crisis management, which I’ll explain next.

3. You’ll miss the last part of your summer

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The last part of summer in the beginning of August is RA training. It’s about 2 weeks long, and it’s super extensive and intensive. By the end of it, you’re trained on anything you’ll encounter within your position.

4. Sometimes you have to be the bad guy

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Sometimes people break the rules, and those people may be your friends. Within this position, you have to respond to things you may come across. This may even mean reporting your “friends” or people you know in the building if they’re breaking rules.

5. At times, you will be disliked

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This goes along with #4. You may get someone in trouble – but you need to remember that they chose to get in trouble, not you. Use these opportunities to better relationships with people. If you have good rapport with your residents, they’re less inclined to get in trouble because they don’t want to let you down.

6. You’ll need to maintain your integrity in and out of the job

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The whole department is a fishbowl effect. This means that your personal and work life is visible in and out of the position. This means that you have to be more mindful of your actions and things you say even if you’re not on duty. Essentially, do the right things even if no one is there.

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John Otis

John graduated in 2016 with a BA in Organizational Communication and minors in History and Global Studies. He is from Pine City, MN and his interests include photography, camping, hiking, and basically anything outdoors with friends.