mayhaps wrote:Hi all,
I just got a job as an RA (Resident Assistant) next year in a four-class dorm, and I was wondering if anyone had any experiences they wanted to share related to it. That could be suggestions for me, complaints, hopes, anything! -- really what I'd love to hear is what details you loved about your past RAs or what you'd wish your RAs had done.
Great things are done when Men & Mountains meet,
This is not Done by Jostling in the Street.
HTML Mencken wrote:A good 90% of your job will be dealing with people who forgot their keys. If you do not have a policy for charging people who forget their keys, you might want to bring this up at a staff meeting, as the cost of $40 or so can often help concentrate the memory.
would not spend too much time on preparing social activities, if that falls under your duties. Most people will not attend, and there are venues which will always be superior to what you can organise. If your employer insists, then do it, but do not push yourself too hard, as attendance will always be terrible. The only exception to this will be at the start of the academic year, when you might want to concentrate on a few activities which will get people to socialise.
I certainly hope that doesn't happen! But I can definitely see how the stress of the job, plus school, plus regular life might cause it to. You're right - it wouldn't be legal to buy beer, but I could do something else nice.TheKrikkitWars wrote:At some point, you're going to have a really bad day then have to deal with someone who's slightly out of order, at which point you'll unjustifyably go off at the deep end and put the fear of god into them... When this happens, be honest and magnanimous about it, appologise for getting carried away, explain what the actual problem you had with them is and if you really went over the top buy them a pack of tinny's or something (This might not be allowable/legal in the US?).
Hmm... I think a typical house rule has been to allow one lock-out per quarter, and for any more after that, students have to write a poem/song or draw something for the RA and present it in front of the other students. Achieves mostly the same effect as monetary charges, without any resentment - just a little effort and embarrassment.HTML Mencken wrote:A good 90% of your job will be dealing with people who forgot their keys. If you do not have a policy for charging people who forget their keys, you might want to bring this up at a staff meeting, as the cost of $40 or so can often help concentrate the memory.
Both great ideas that I hadn't thought of, thank you!HTML Mencken wrote:Keep a pile of leaflets from local doctors, pharmacies, bus and train timetables and other basic services with your paperwork or in the nearest common room. A map with these necessary services highlighted and pinned up may also be helpful.
This is an important one: when you are off duty, be completely off duty. Turn your phone off, leave the building, go somewhere else and do something else. One of the downsides to living where you work is that you can sometimes feel like you're not off-duty, even if you're not working.
We will have weekly meetings, probably communicate mainly by email and group-text each other for more urgent things. I'll check about the building admin, though I think most students are responsible for reporting their own room's maintenance needs.HTML Mencken wrote:How do you communicate with the other RAs? I would suggest using emails, along with weekly meetings to discuss any particular issues. It may also be a good idea to include the building administration in such meetings, if you do not already. If your responsibility involves reporting maintenance issues, this would be a great place to bring them up (email copies to the administrative office though, so you have an electronic record you can refer to).
This is what I am most nervous about. I've never been in such a situation before. It's definitely good to keep in mind that I have backup, so to speak, with both co-RAs (who are male) and the police. The school tends to be pretty lenient about their alcohol policies, emphasizing safety over everything else. Thankfully, the dorm I will be in is less of a party dorm, but you never know who will be there and what activities/atmosphere they will bring. Which will also sort of dictate how social events planning will go. It'll be four-class, so I want to make sure freshmen have opportunities to bond with each other and to meet upperclassmen, but I also want to allow the upperclassmen to have them own social lives while still feeling welcome in the dorm. How to do that, in practical terms, I'm not sure. I suppose just providing opportunities for get-togethers or off-campus outings with food involved would be both simple in my planning needs while still possibly being fun. Everyone loves free food, anyway. One of my co-RAs has pretty good ideas for social stuff (or so he says) so it should help being able to bounce ideas off others.HTML Mencken wrote:Is your building non-alcohol? If so, I would strongly recommend if you have to shut down any parties, make sure you do so with another RA present, and with the police on speed dial. ...shutting down a party can be a tense experience, especially depending on how late it is and how much alcohol has been consumed. If ever the situation looks like it is beyond your handling, do not hesistate to pass it off onto the police.
Puppyclaws wrote:You can also make people hate you intensely if you do this (and make people with memory and anxiety issues entirely freaked out), so maybe think twice. YMMV, all that.
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