This is my RA. For the sake of privacy, his name and face have been omitted from the post.
Movies do a really poor job of showing us what resident advisors are like; they’re portrayed as no fun, stuck-up, and out to get residents at every turn. This couldn’t be more wrong.
I have talked to a lot of people that dearly cherish their RA, and I myself have grown fond of mine. Especially now that many of my friends are getting ready to be RAs next year, I think it is important that incoming freshmen realize what a resource they have.
Yes, RAs are in the building to make sure residents aren’t doing drugs or consuming alcohol or in sum bothering other people, but that is only part of their role. They are in the building to mentor their residents and to build community within the building. Odds are, if you have a question that you don’t know how to answer, ask your RA. They love talking to you and are super excited when you want to talk to them.
For instance, RAs put on community events, and they are (most of the time) really cool. They try to come up with a variety of programs that can relate to everybody in the building, and usually there is food involved. My RA in particular has put on TED Talk Taco Tuesdays, Yu-Gi-Oh tournaments (I didn’t go to that one), and in April he is hosting the Columbus Zoo so we can meet some of the animals (penguins!!!!!).
Not only that, but RAs are also great for writing letters of references. It’s like having your best friend write a letter of recommendation–they get to see you all year in your living quarters, so they really know what your good qualities are (and probably your bad ones, too). This is a huge deal in college when you might not necessarily know any of your professors or advisors yet.
Most of all, it is important to remember that your RA is a student, too. They’re going to have bad days and they’re also going to struggle with their school work (and yeah, they also go to parties sometimes). That being said, they are still mandated to be there for you. Automatic friends are so underrated sometimes.
If you’re headed to Ohio State next year, look forward to that call from your RA over the summer–that is your first connection to campus.
(And maybe consider
becoming one your second year!)