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Day in the Life: Being a DelVal RA

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Posted on February 4, 2015 by Mariah Beaver ’15.

Courtesy: Delaware Valley College DelVal's Day in the Life series shares a look at DelVal from a different person's view each month.

It is 8 a.m. during finals week. It has been a long, but appreciated semester. I have my most difficult final today at 1 p.m. and have to do my first resident checkout this evening. As a first year RA, I have had many “firsts.”

I had my first Move-In Day as an RA, which was exciting. I baked endlessly the day before and set up a “Finding Nemo” theme in my hallway. I then, met 31 different people who I never realized would change my life.

Now as I sit here cramming for my chemistry final and dreading my first goodbye to a resident who is transferring next semester, I hear a knock on my door. The girls down the hall need toilet paper, again. I swear these girls are selling the toilet paper on a black market. Who can possibly need that much toilet paper? They were just pulling my leg this time. Two residents hang out for a few minutes and bring a little humor to my studying. One of the residents teaches me a few more Spanish words that I won’t share in this blog and they are off to study for their own exams.

It is now 10 a.m. I am beginning to search Pinterest for new bulletin board and door decoration ideas as a much needed break from chemistry cramming. Another knock. The sophomore football players, who, like many of my residents, have become some of greatest friends, invited me to a goodbye lunch. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t melting in a puddle of happy emotions at this point despite my upcoming exam.

 At 12 p.m. I decide to print out some more practice problems and I have my usual run in with Juanita in the computer lab. I’m so excited because I just found Juanita is going home for Christmas to see her family! Juanita is an international student from Nigeria. I have learned more from her this semester than anyone. She explained how their political system works. She also clarified to me that where she is from is mostly Christians so she will be celebrating Christmas. I also found out they celebrate Thanksgiving with chickens because turkey is too expensive.

2:30 p.m.: The final is complete. Now we’re off to Chik-fil-A to say goodbye to Matty. As we eat lunch we talk about anything and everything that comes to mind. Matty’s dad is a pastor at his church and invites us to spend New Year’s Eve there. Kyle tells us about the previous weekend and his birthday celebrations. When we return to campus, it is time to check Matty out of his room. I cried like a baby. It is amazing what a substantial impact these people have had on my life in 15 short weeks. When Matty is leaving he tells me that on his forms he filled out for leaving campus it asked him who made an impact on him at DelVal and he said RA Mariah. When I go into the office to return his key, Area Coordinator Kelly is having a conversation with another RA. Of course she is concerned when sees me crying, but completely understands when she hears why. She reassures me that building relationships with residents is what this job is all about. Having to say goodbye is just another piece to that. She also informs me I will be getting some residents to fill in the open spots so that cheers me up quite a bit.

It is almost 10 p.m. That means my residents will pile into my room to watch “American Horror Story.” I have spent the last few hours sobbing a little over my leaving residents and starting my new door decorations for January. Bow ties to go along with my “How I Met Your Mother”  themed bulletin board that will say “This Semester is Going to Be…Wait For it…Legendary.” Now residents are on my couch, floor, at my desk, and sitting on my bed. This is our Wednesday routine. How am I going to watch “American Horror Story” alone next week?!

When Tim asked me if I could help with the blog I was ecstatic. My only problem was trying to narrow down what to write about. Everyday is a different adventure and brings its own ups and downs. This semester of being an RA has taught me not only taught me how to manage my time while building friendships and watching my residents build friendships. It has also taught me to enjoy work.

I truly do not consider this position a job, but more of an opportunity. I have had the opportunity to learn from some of the greatest community builders who I call my Area Coordinators and co-workers. Kelly has taught me that my personal life should have just as much attention as my RA life and my academics. She taught me how to build relationships with residents who proved to be more difficult than others. Ken taught me how to see humor in my job. Kim taught me how to handle high stress situations with calmness. Tim has taught me how to use this position to make the college experience not just better for myself, but for each of my residents. A day in the life of an RA is exciting, sometimes exhausting, but always an adventure.

Applications to become an RA are available on MyDelVal. To be considered, please submit yours by Feb. 13. If you have any questions about the process, or if any faculty or staff members have a candidate in mind, please contact kenneth.peifer@delval.edu.

Courtesy: Delaware Valley College. A DelVal residence hall room.