At approximately 2:03 a.m., you hear a forceful knock on your door. Your friends scurry under your bed, beneath your desk and behind your dresser, trembling with fear. They all know the identity of the monstrous figure on the other side of the door…your RA. You pray she disappears, but she knocks again with more vigor, and you know you can’t escape. You slowly turn the door handle and take a deep breath, knowing it may be your very last. Wait, hold it right there. Time to clarify all of these misconceptions about Resident Assistants (RAs) once and for all.
1. Myth: When your RA goes on rounds, he or she listens through each door for 10 minutes to make sure no audible sound exists.
Wrong. RAs, don’t have the time, energy or desire to listen through every door while on rounds. If they walk through a hallway and hear glass bottles clanging as people yell, “SHOTS SHOTS SHOTS,” expect them to pay your room a visit. “If my residents choose to drink, then I expect them to do it in a smart way. If they do it in a smart way, they’re doing it in a safe and quiet way, and if I can’t hear them, then I can’t document them,” Resident Assistant Alexa Schroeder said. If you decide to experiment with alcohol (RAs do not encourage it), please make smart decisions. They’re RAs, not idiots. They know college students will drink, and their primary job is to ensure the safety and comfort of their residents’ living environment.
2. Myth: If you have a person of the opposite gender in your room past 2 a.m., your RA will storm through the door with a super soaker and spray the guest until he or she leaves in fear and embarrassment.
False. Believe it or not, RAs are over the whole “cootie” epidemic (and they hope you are too). “With the intervisitation policy, I tell my residents that if they have a significant other who wants to sleepover, they have to make sure it’s okay with their roommate. As long as their roommates are comfortable with it, it’s fine,” Assistant Hall Director Jess Skjonsby said. “If it’s 2 a.m. and you’re being very loud, for whatever reason, it’s hard to ignore that when we’re on rounds.” If you and your visitor play your friendly game of patty-cake peacefully, then nobody gets documented.
3. Myth: Your RA finds your decision to pull the fire alarm super funny and original.
Not even close. If you force everyone in your residence hall to frantically run outside in their pajamas in the middle of winter, you just plummeted to the bottom of the “cool” scale. Not only will your RAs disapprove, but the other residents in your hall will glare at you in passing for the rest of the semester.
4. Myth: Drawing a penis on your RA’s bulletin board will make him or her “LOL.”
Nope, definitely not laughing out loud. Your RAs pour a great amount of time and energy into creating visually appealing and informational bulletin boards, so please leave them alone. Also, if you choose to partake in acts of vandalism, you probably aren’t ready to handle college and should consider going back to grade school for a while to develop some maturity.
5. Myth: RAs try to document as many situations as possible to receive a pay raise.
Incorrect. RAs do not need to meet a quota regarding how many residents they document. In fact, they would prefer to escape rounds without encountering any incidents. “Policy enforcement is what 99 percent of RAs dislike and want to avoid unless necessary. It’s also totally not the reason why most RAs even consider taking the job,” Resident Assistant Meredith Bruster said. Unlike the evil villains in superhero movies, RAs take no pleasure in ruining your night.
6. Myth: If you sing High School Musical songs on a Friday Night past 11 p.m., and your RA hears you, he will immediately document it, and it will go on your permanent record.
Nope. Despite popular belief, RAs don’t carry around a “fun detector” to identify fun and immediately destroy it. “If it’s past quiet hours and somebody is watching High School Musical at a really loud volume, I would be disappointed that I wasn’t invited, but I would simply knock on the door and tell them to quiet down because they’re disturbing the overall environment,” Resident Assistant Claire Lutter said. See? No cops called. If you react with compliance and respect, RAs tend to give you a verbal warning and go on their merry way.
7. Myth: Your RA can absolutely not be your friend.
Think again. Establishing a positive relationship with your RA could be one of the best decisions you ever make in college. Why? RAs are cool people who genuinely care about your wellbeing, so they deserve respect. Also, if you’re kind to your RA, she’s more likely to understand when you find yourself in a sticky situation. “A lot of times, it makes it easier for me to approach a situation when I know that a resident has a good track record. I can usually read their personalities and actions and assess that accordingly,” Resident Assistant Lukas Phillips said. An RA certainly values and upholds his or her duties to enforce policies, but a little respect always goes a long way.
College Magazine does not promote underage drinking. Please drink responsibly.