What RAs say they wish students knew

Photo by Hannah Hunsinger | The Collegian Spring 2013 West Hall first floor Resident Assisstant Phil Hill works on the new bulletin board in his hallway about not getting distracted before finals on March 28, 2013. RAs are a great resource for students living in the residence halls, as upper classmen they have the experience and training to help under classmen tackle any challenge. (Collegian file photo)

While they might have a reputation of busting parties and continuously reminding students to keep the noise level down, resident assistants are some of the best resources for students living in the residence halls. With extensive training about policies and campus resources, they problem solve some of the more complicated issues of student life.

In order to make the most out of these valuable individuals, the following tips are things RAs said they want their students to take note of.

Respect quiet time

After a day full of classes, quiet time can be a great way for students to unwind and catch up on homework or assignments. When some people don’t follow quiet time, it disrupts life for all other residents on the floor.

“One of my biggest pieces of advice for students is to respect quiet time,” said Adam Hawkins, senior in finance and Jardine RA. “That does not mean don’t have fun or talk, it just means that your neighbors should not be able to hear you when your door is closed. When I have to come ask you to be quiet late at night, I’m not going to be happy and neither are your neighbors.”

Respecting quiet time goes beyond just disturbing RAs late at night. It shows an awareness for your neighbors whom might need the time to rest and recuperate, which contributes towards a more cohesive living environment.

Use RAs as a resource

It’s common for students to feel bogged down by stress and problems throughout the course of the year. Whether its homesickness, balancing classes or trouble between roommates, RAs can be the best people to talk to about issues.

“It all goes back to us being students as well,” said Carlos Morales, junior in construction engineering and Jardine RA. “We’ve probably gone through the same stuff you’re going through, just talking to us can help us understand how we can solve the problem in a way that works best.”

RAs go through intensive training where they learn about resident hall policies and on-campus resources that students have access to in order to help solve any problems.

“Talk to an RA if you’re having a problem,” said Nathan Bahnmaier, junior in biochemistry and psychology who served as a Marlatt Hall RA in 2013. “We try our best to help you and if we can’t, we will refer you to people on campus who are trained to help you with your problem.”

Know they’re on your side

One of the most important things that RAs said they want students to know is that they are on the same side.

“We don’t want to be the guys crashing the party and stopping people from having fun, but sometimes when a party gets out of hand, we have to shut it down,” Hawkins said. “I just wish that when that happens, the students be respectful and understanding that this is our responsibility.”

Bahnmaier said that while it might not be something that they enjoy doing, being a “bad guy” is something that they have to do.

“A lot of the people who work as RAs want to get into student life at some point in their career,” Bahnmaier said. “It’s not like they enjoy getting people into trouble, but sometimes for the greater good. We have to put our foot down.”

Bahnmaier said that when students perceive RAs as more of a support system rather than an obstacle, it helps RAs do their job better and more effectively.

RAs form an invaluable resource for their students and with these tips, students and RAs alike can have a more positive experience in their living communities.