An RA’s Duties Go Far Beyond the Desk

Calling myself a Resident Assistant is an understatement. I’m more like a “Life” Assistant. Maybe a role model, considering my life is constantly scrutinized. To others, I’’m a convenience store with arms and legs.

However they view me, I’’m an RA, and for three eventful years, I’ve served the campus community. I work in Paddyfote, or “The Foot” as some soldiers call it. I became an RA for many different reasons. But the main reason was to impact the lives of FAMU students. Other RAs have their reasons, like free housing, or a stipend. The motive, however, does not remove the hardships of this job.

My journey starts in a room about the size of a small storage unit. It’s my sophomore year, and my first week on the job. At 2 a.m., one of my residents came to my door looking for sugar. At the same time, another resident was throwing wet rolls of tissue at people using the sitting stalls. In between sugar and wet tissue, I could smell another resident’’s smoke from a Black & Mild through the vents above. If this job has taught me nothing else, it’s taught me to be prepared. The worst can happen at any given time, and if you’’re not ready, the situation will crush you.

There’’s one situation that I’’ll never forget. A resident was mugged on campus. In addition to her being mugged, she was shot. The bullet had pierced her shoulder. Her boyfriend carried her from the scene back to the office. Without hesitation, I leaped over the desk, called 9-1-1, and assisted them to the best of my best ability. There were other times where residents came back drunk from a wild night at the club. They couldn’’t remember their name or where they lived. From drug busts to bloody battles, I’’ve seen it all. I was placed in some pretty unlikely circumstances, but they have shaped who I am today.

My different experiences have given me college wisdom, enabling me to encourage students through their difficult times. I’’ve learned to persevere, which has been one of the greatest benefits of being an RA There were many times when I wanted to just bury myself in a hole. The “I wanna give up” feeling was heavy, but I persisted. I’’ve learned to be bold when I didn’’t want to. This job has also taught me responsibility, developed my leadership and has shown me how to have integrity in a position of authority.

The RA position hasn’’t necessarily made me better; it has made me more empathetic. I can relate to almost anyone because of the diverse encounters this job presents. It’’s helped me to establish genuine relationships, while creating a wonderful avenue for networking. I not only made great friends, but a person who was my friend, who I later worked with, is now my fiancée. The work is rigorous, but this job has definitely paid off. The benefits of being an RA are endless, but know this— it’’s not for the light-hearted.