10 Things You Need To Know About Dating A Residence Hall Advisor

Having spent two years in university being a residence life staff member, I’ve realised that there are some odd quirks that I have picked up that I don’t think I will ever be able to shake. And why would I want to – they are some very useful quirks! However, I feel like there are some things that I should explain to the person I’m dating, you know, so as to avoid awkwardness in the future. Plus, information helps combat misunderstanding, right?

For those of you unfamiliar with residence life staff, we go by several names: dons, RAs, RLS – it varies with each institution. We are (usually) a bunch of upper-year students living in residence with a community of (usually) first-year students to whom we provide academic, social, and emotional support through community building events. Basically, we’re kinda like older brothers and sisters who are there to help you through the transition from high school to university. We are masters of inclusivity, professional personal cheerleaders, and some of the most wonderful people you will ever meet. Here are some things you should know about dating a reslife staff member.
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Shutterstock

1. Stop telling us that your house/room/apartment is messy. After having done suite inspections, trust me, WE’VE SEEN WORSE.

2. If you come to one of our parties, you might have to do an icebreaker. We are used to making people feel welcome and included and we are EXCELLENT at it. Don’t mock us, this eliminates that awkward period at the beginning of a party when no one knows anyone outside of their immediate circle – everybody wins!

3. Please don’t set your alarm to that blaring ringtone of death unless you want to see us go into super-emergency-panic mode. Keep in mind that, usually, that sound signifies that someone is in danger and needs our help. It’s like our version of the Bat signal, except more urgent. Use it wisely.

4. Do yourself a favour and eliminate the phrase, “That’s so gay/lame/retarded” because we WILL give you a lecture on inclusivity and why you shouldn’t use those terms out of consideration to those who are LGBTQ/physically disabled/mentally disabled.

5. RLS make the best drunk buddies. Why? Because we’re used to taking care of drunk newly-19-year-olds-who-don’t-yet-know-how-to-handle-their-liquor, making sure they get home safely and are put into semi-prone so as to not choke on their own vomit, even while we’re at an elevated level of intoxication. We also have our own secret recipes on how to avoid getting kicked out of the club, act responsibly while supremely inebriated, and reduce the effects of the morning-after-hangover.

6. Don’t be alarmed when we start talking about our “kids”. We swear, they’re not biological. But we do care about them. A lot. You would too if you spent 8 months watching them grow/making sure they didn’t do anything stupid.

7. We spend A LOT of time on arts and crafts. Door tags and bulletin boards may have been a pain to make, but they’re a pain that we miss and secretly loved doing. We will also decorate and celebrate every holiday that exists – Valentines, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Diwali, Rosh Hashanah, Eid, etc. (Told you, we love inclusivity) – any excuse to bust out our glue guns and felt stickers, we’ll take it.

8. Parents LOVE us. After all, we are the ones that they trust to guide their precious little boys and girls through the dangerous territory that is first-year university. Actually, everyone loves us. You know those people who you meet and after 5 minutes you feel like you can trust them with anything? We’re THOSE people. We are inexplicably amazing at making you feel loved and special and safe.

9. We don’t judge. Remember last night? We don’t care how stupid you looked, as long as you enjoyed yourself. You know your crazy ideas? Go for them! Make them a reality! We support you in whatever you aspire to accomplish and we believe in you.

10. We care… A LOT. We will tell you when we think you’re doing something stupid. The final decision is ultimately yours, but we will put our two cents in just so it’s out there. We want you to make good choices; just do what you need to do to be successful. Everything we do, crazy as it may be, is because we just want everyone to be happy. We just wanna make the world a better place.

11. BONUS: We are what they call “extra”: we go above and beyond and then some. We won’t be happy unless we go that extra mile. Whether it’s in school, work, or our relationships, we are always willing to go a little further because we know that the extra mile is absolutely worth it.

Yes, we are super intense. But you knew that when you started dating us and it’s probably what you love most about us, am I right? Of course I am. TC mark

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