5 Things I’ve Learned Working as a Resident Assistant

During my time this year as a First-Year Resident Assistant, I’ve learned and grown so much and I have my residents, supervisor, and fellow RA’s to thank for this. Today I’ll be sharing my insight as I feel that I’ve learned a few things this year.

1- A friendly smile or a simple hello can go such a long way. I can explain to you how many times I’ve seen this in action! A smile can completely change someone’s mood or day if they’ve had a hard week and it takes zero effort to do. I try to do this more intentionally now that I know the impact it can have.

2- Work smarter, not harder. There’s a lot of time where Resident Assistants sit at the duty desk simply on duty. In the beginning of the year, I would just sit and waste meaningful hours which I could have been doing something more productive. Now, I’ve realized how valuable these hours are and I use these hours more intentionally. I plan my programs, design flyers, and catch up on my work during these times!

3- Regular check-in’s = success! Having regular weekly check-ins with my supervisor has helped my self-development as well as kept me on my toes and always thinking ahead to what needs to be done. If I didn’t have weekly check-ins I would not be as organized or as prepared for the coming weeks! I definitely encourage you to have weekly check-ins with your supervisor as it helps maintain clear communications between all parties involved.

4- Make connections early! As an RA I had 46 First-Year students who I directly oversee. Most of them are super-friendly and I’ve had an easy time getting to know them. What’s a bit harder is getting to know students who are not as social, but just as nice and friendly! I’ve tried my hardest to get to know all students regardless of their exteriors and doing so early in the year has allowed me to establish a relationship with them and get to know them over the course of the year.

5- Have fun! Regardless of what job you may ever have, having fun is something that is so so so important! If you aren’t having a good time working, you’re not going to feel involved or motivated. Altering your behavior in one small way can make one heck of a difference! I’ve started to have a lot more fun this semester by always trying to see the good in situations and making the most out of everything.

These are the five lessons that I’ve learned the past year serving as a First-Year Resident Assistant. I know there will be many more to come as the years progress and I take advantage of all situations that are presented to me.