Applications to apply to be a Resident Assistant (RA) for the 2012/2013 school year are now available. Applications are available online or from any RA interest meetings held by Assistant Director of Residence Life Derek Young. Applications are due to the Office of Residence Life by 4:00 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 3.
Becoming an RA is a big responsibility. It is a full-time job and puts a student in charge of a large group of fellow peers. In the Resident Assistant position description, it is stated that, “RAs should possess a willingness to commit time and energy to be effective peer advisers and to facilitate educational and social programming in the halls, suites, apartments and townhouses.” Even when not on duty on a weeknight or over the weekend, an RA is still required to “confront and effectively resolve individual and group conflicts” among their resident students.
“I decided to become an RA because I had seen the relationships between the RAs and residents and I was inspired by it,” said sophomore Alexia Tanski, a new RA in Prince George Hall this semester. “I met many RAs my first year here and I wanted to help make a positive impact on others and I wanted to be able to interact with my peers and meet more people, and becoming an RA seemed to be the most efficient way to do so.”
In the position description, it is stated that an RA has seven different jobs: student; community organizer; role model, listener, peer advisor, and mediator; educator through programming, community standards agent; referral and resource person; and administrator. An RA is first a student; academics are always a priority. But then, they are a coordinator for activities for their residents and a model and enforcer of college rules and regulations.
According to senior Andy VanDeusen, Residence Hall Coordinator (RHC) of Caroline Hall, the qualities that Residence Life looks for in an RA applicant are “leadership, compassion and understanding, quick thinking that leads to effective results, creativity, respect, and openness (not necessarily in that order).”
Even though RAs have a lot of responsibilities, the job can still be fun.
“I have gotten the opportunity to meet a bunch of intelligent, motivated, and classy people (other RAs),” said VanDeusen. He also noted, “I got to stay here for the summer for free.”
“Being an RA has allowed me to put things into new perspectives,” continued Tanski, “I feel as though I am able to reach out to more people now and even though I haven’t been an RA for very long, I am very happy and humbled by being allowed this opportunity.”
“Students should consider becoming RAs because the lessons they will learn as an RA will help them throughout their lives and careers,” said VanDeusen. “Plus, if they get it, they’ll never have to worry about housing selection again.” RAs get to live in single rooms while RHCs get their own apartments.
“Besides the obvious single room at a double room rate and being paid $1,850 to $1,900 per semester, RAs will gain lots of experience in responding to crisis situations, resolving conflicts, community building, and listening skills,” said Young. “These transferable skills are also great resume builders and will benefit our students in their professional careers after they move on from St. Mary’s.”
On the RA Application, students are asked to demonstrate leadership experience, employment experience, and letters of recommendation. One letter must be from an RA, and one from a current St. Mary’s faculty or staff member (outside the Office of Residence Life). Part of the application process involves a submission of an object of “personal expression,” which can be anything that fits into a 8.5 by 11 inch envelope. There is also an interview by Residence Life professional staff and RHCs, at which time the object of personal expression can be explained.
“We are looking for passionate students for the RA position who care about the St. Mary’s community and who are interested in working with a wide variety of students,” Young said. “The Residence Hall Coordinators for the 2012/2013 academic year are excited about meeting potential new staff members and finding the candidates to make strong staff teams.”