Coming into the position a year ago, I assumed my life would be consumed with drugs, alcohol, and an array of roommate conflicts. While there was plenty of the above, I never dreamt that being a Residential Advisor for 65 freshmen would change my perspective on people and relationships as much as it has.
1. “Was I really this lost just last year?”
It is a bizarre feeling seeing parts of your former self in the freshmen standing before you. Not to mention seeing the whole year of maturity between then and now. There were times I felt like I had wisdom to offer, and even more where I felt like the young grasshopper. It reminded me how much I have changed and made me appreciate how much more I have left to grow.
2. “I’ll just walk to the peep-hole and make sure there is no blood or tears.”
The reliance my residents had on me at the beginning of the year was sometimes unbearable, making we want to hide in my closet and pray the music would quiet down on its own. As my relationship grew with my “kids”, my priorities changed and I was constantly concerned about them. I felt like the one person between them and a stupid decision. I felt responsible like a big sister of sorts. This sisterly affection was what drove me to get up to knocks at 3 AM and peep through the peep-hole.
3. “I can’t go to a god damn party without being the mom.”
It would be a lie if I said I was the perfect student or even remotely perfect RA. On my nights of typical college debauchery, that sense of responsibility from my floor never left me. I am extremely grateful for this because as much as I like having a good time, I love my friends more and that instinct helped me in a lot of close-call situations.
4. “Maybe if I open my door, I’ll catch someone walking by.”
As spring semester rolled in, knocks were spare and emails were rare. I began to miss a lot of them as they grew up, solved their own problems, and lived their own lives without my help. I began leaving my door open while I worked just to catch them on their way in or out.
5. “I hope I helped them as much as they helped me.”
As much as much as my job was to help all my residents transition into a life on their own, I found myself inspired, motivated, and taking advice from them more than they did from me. They began asking me how I was and I began giving sincere responses. Sincerity rewarded me ten-fold and I received advice and support that I will always carry with me.
You get what you give.