What type of person is most likely to flag you down before your 7 a.m. class just to give you your first smile of the day? You got it—it’s your Residential Assistant. Though RAs have been feared throughout history for their uncomfortable icebreakers and their “fun-patrol” duty rounds, they’re still human (Mostly, we think). That means they too need a breather in between their lockouts and parties and classes. Check out a few ways you can give your RA a break, and even better, stay on her good side.
Learn How They Can Actually Help You
Though I’m sure RAs enjoy getting yelled at because your toilet isn’t working at 3 a.m., remember that isn’t their fault. The majority of a RA’s job is to guide you to resources on campus that can help you grow academically, socially and emotionally. Another part of the job is to report anything to their supervisors and fellow staff members that they can’t immediately handle. Plumbing needs, electrical outages and fires are things that RA training just doesn’t cover.
Don’t Assume All RAs Are The Same
The stereotypical RA is bubbly, energetic, approachable and always seems to be buying someone coffee or handing out candy, but departments are now doing a better job of hiring more diverse staff members. Now, they even hire introverts to be RAs (Surprise). Take a moment to notice the specific style of your RA and don’t stereotype. Some RAs may prefer business cards over bulletin boards.
Notice Their Hard Work
RA Appreciation Day is a very real thing and you have to admit–it’s deserved. Your community is decked out with more glitter than Dolly Parton World and that’s saying something. Generally, RAs create programming and bulletin boards around their community. That means you. Just once try out a new event or compliment an RA on her bulletin board. I promise you that she’ll appreciate it.
Don’t be Afraid to Approach Them
If you were bleeding, would you hesitate to turn to a doctor for a little assistance? Definitely not. Why, then, do you feel uncomfortable approaching your trained RA for help when you need it? RAs are connected all over campus and will gladly help you with any and every thing you need. But that doesn’t mean to leave them guessing what kids are into these days. Approaching them with questions and ideas for possible events will quickly win you the #1 spot in their hearts.
Try Not to Do Dumb Things
Apparently, this is harder than it seems. Don’t drink if you’re underage. Don’t try to flush towels down the toilet. Don’t play flag football in the hallway when it’s 3 a.m. before finals. This goes back to point four. If you’re not sure if you can throw a bonfire party in your room, JUST ASK. That last answer, by the way, will always be no.
Own up to your mistakes
So, you got caught with alcohol, a pet and a group of parking signs that you thought would add pizzazz to your room. Stop. Running won’t help. Your RA has a roster, and knows where you live. Literally. Take a first step towards some res hall maturity and own up to what you did. I promise your RA will never harbor bad feelings because of an incident because, honestly, they just want to move on as well.
Just Smile Back at Them
OK, I’m sure you have experienced the RA smile: the big, all-teeth grin that is some sort of unofficial name tag. Trust me—RA’s genuinely love to smile and aren’t planning your early demise. Next time, turn to them and smile back, I dare you. You’ll have made your RA’s day (That is, until you get locked out of your room…again).
College is a crazy time; in general, RAs are supposed to be your anchor in all that mayhem. Take advantage of their services and be nice as a rule of thumb. You never know who you’ll be working for in 10 years, and who knows? Maybe you’ll want to be an RA someday…