A Housing Staff member’s insights to help you navigate your new home away from home.
Moving into a residence hall is tough. Suddenly, there are people everywhere — you can’t even brush your teeth alone, much less blast your music at midnight like you could in high school. With res hall living comes Housing Staff in your building. We can seem, at times, intimidating. What are we here for, after all, if not to get you into trouble?
As a Senior Resident Assistant entering my third year on Housing Staff, let me tell you: so many things.
Policy: We’re here to enforce policy, sure. That’s everything from making sure that random people who don’t live in your building aren’t wandering the halls to making sure that you can actually sleep. It’s good fun to jam out to Lady Gaga with your bestie; it’s less fun to have an exam in the morning and live next to the people blaring “Judas” until the wee hours of the morning. When your RA finds out about noise complaints, they stop by to tell people to quiet down — it’s all a part of making sure that we can all live our best lives in a hall with over a hundred people packed inside its walls.
While we do enforce policy, it’s all common sense stuff: don’t lose your keys, don’t set the hall on fire, the list goes on. And you’re becoming adults. It’s a time for you to trial-run who you’re going to be once you’re on your own and paying bills with a full-time job. Take this time to consider the feedback we give you. If you’re too loud after quiet hours now, you’ll still be too loud in an apartment. It’s just that, when you live in an apartment, your landlord is called instead of one of your peers.
Duty Phone: Speaking of noise complaints, you can call your RA about those. We hold a duty phone with its own number at night and on the weekends. The number is posted in all the halls. That being said, make sure that you’re communicating with us before the problem becomes a disaster. Talk to your RA about roommate issues before you get in screaming matches. Another thing to remember is that we’re students too. Call us back when you found your key, so we’re not trying to find you for the next ten minutes and calling you back at 3 a.m. confused and tired. And please, I’m begging you: if you call me at 4 a.m., know that I’m genuinely happy to help, but I also haven’t taken my retainer out and might not act like we’re best friends. It’s not personal, you’re lovely. It’s just 4 a.m.
Programs: Housing staff puts on a bunch of programs every semester. Some of them might sound more interesting to you than others, and that’s okay! You don’t have to go to every program. But we appreciate it when you do show up to learn new things or to do cool activities with us. Most importantly: these events almost always have food or something else you can take with you. It’s fine if you’re mostly there because of the food; we just ask that you’re respectful when you stop by to pick up the food and chat with us for a minute.
We’re here to help: We leave our doors open for a reason. We know you’re busy, but we are here to build connections in our building, and we’re excited to get to know you. Feel free to stop by your RA’s door when it’s open, and say hi or wave if you see us in the Student Union. All of us signed up for this job for a reason, and the reason is that we want to help create positive energy and help students. Don’t be ashamed or nervous to take us up on the literal premise of our job.
You might like some Housing Staff more than others: You don’t have to be friends with us if you don’t want. You can even like people on Housing Staff that aren’t your particular RA. We aren’t offended. As long as you’re getting the experience you want out of your stay, and you’re staying safe, we’re happy.
We’re not here to get you in trouble, or to be your parents. We’re here to be a support system and to ensure peaceful cohabitation when possible. And we can’t wait to hang out with you all this year and see you grow. Go forth and have an excellent year my dudes.