Just like the iconic Sour Patch Kids candy, being an RA is both sweet and sour. So, if you are dreaming of the enormous single dorm room you can have to yourself, the gigantic discount off room and board, and the chance to meet some amazing residents — and other RA benefits — then you might want to read this post first to assess if the job is right for you. As a current RA, I know what it takes to do the job, so listen up!
Three reasons why being an RA is sweet:
1. Discounted room and board
If you are struggling to finance your degree and need some assistance paying for college, the initial 75% off room and board is a pretty sweet incentive. Not to mention that in your second year, the position provides an even sweeter deal: 100% off room and board. This gives you the opportunity to spend more money on textbooks and other necessities, reducing your financial burden. As someone who is not trying to pay off student loans forever, this perk of the RA position is so sweet that I almost get a sugar high.
2. Having a single room all to yourself
If you have always wanted a single dorm room with no roommates and the perfect amount of space to decorate, then the RA position might be calling your name. Having a room all to yourself is a nice perk. Being able to sing on the top of your lungs and dance like nobody’s watching (because nobody is) is a liberating feeling. Nothing beats having your own space to recover from a long day of classes or having full control over the layout of your room. Especially when you pay a discounted price or no price at all — the single dorm room life comes in handy like candy.
3. It is a great leadership opportunity
The sweetest aspect of all of these perks is taking part in an amazing leadership opportunity. Being a leader for your community is one of the sweetest things you can do to make an impact on the lives of others. Being able to serve as a resource for your residents and provide them with the comfort and assistance they need is beyond sweet. It is gratifying to provide your residents with support when they feel most alone or have no one else to reach out to. Being an RA at Saint Rose means being a leader and truly making an impact on the place you call, “HOME.” You get to be a part of the college journey of your residents and build connections that may last a lifetime. If you have a sweet tooth for service and helping others, then this will be one of the greatest leadership opportunities you can participate in while in College.
Two reasons why being an RA can be sour:
1. It is a significant time commitment
Being an RA comes with a lot of responsibilities that you cannot avoid or push aside. Once you choose to accept this position, it tops the list of your priorities and requires a lot of your time. Even if you’re feeling sour or aren’t in the mood to be “on call,” you don’t have a choice of opting out of your responsibilities. If you can see yourself committing to assisting your residents at all hours, creating the best programs for them, and handling all the job responsibilities, then you’re in for a sweet ride. If you already have a heavy workload and do not have enough time to dedicate to this position, then you will be as grumpy as the Sour Patch Kids are in their commercials.
2. Your privacy is not the greatest
If you don’t want to be interrupted during your day or are not the type of person who handles conflict resolution well, then you might want to reconsider becoming an RA. On numerous occasions, I’ve had to answer the door with an avocado face mask on or pause eating my delicious dinner because my residents come knocking. No matter what type of comments or questions they have, I have to be there for them. There are times where I have woken up at 3 a.m. to answer a lockout call (when a student can’t find or does not have their key) to let them inside — it is all part of the job. And, if you can’t take the sour with the sweet, then this position may not be right for you.
3. First it’s Sour then it’s Sweet
Just like the Sour Patch Kids’ slogan, adjusting to this position might feel sour at first, but it will slowly sweeten overtime. You may not be accustomed to waking up late at night to answer lockout calls or having people knock on your door when you might want some privacy. The benefits you will reap from this position, however, will make these sacrifices worthwhile. I suggest that if you truly want to be a resident assistant, but are still unsure if you lie on the sweet or sour side of the pros and cons list, then keep doing your research. You can also attend an info session! All students who want to be an RA are required to attend an info session, which is taking place 2/15-2/19 via Zoom. Registration information is available below or on In The Know — click here to learn more.