A Day in the Life of a DelVal Resident Advisor
Posted on December 12, 2016 by Taylor Edgington '18.
It's 3 a.m.; A resident advisor hears a commotion outside her door. When she opens the door, the squeaky hinges alert her to take a look. The room down the hall has music spilling out of the open door. Numerous people are dancing in the hallway, pretty girls twirling and stumbling around in heels. Meanwhile, the gentlemen that live in that room are going shot for shot in a game of flip cup.
While this scene is very scandalous, it is assumed that all students party while earning their undergraduate degree in college. Resident Assistants at DelVal, however, experience very little resident uproar, and party-goers are a rarity. It may come as a shock, but parties like the one described do not frequently happen on our peaceful campus. RA leaders on campus strive to create a sense of community within the resident halls and across resident buildings. Healthy living and strong relationships make earning your undergraduate degree much more enjoyable! As an on-campus RA, I am writing to remove one stereotype about universities, and show a typical day as an RA at DelVal.
It's 7 a.m.—well, that's what my alarm clock is telling me as it chirps out a tune to wake me up. I turn the alarm off and immediately open my blinds to see how my morning looks outside. Thankfully, the warming sun is racing up into the sky. The picturesque scenery promises a beautiful day with high spirits. I always love looking out my window and appreciating the life on campus, but it's time to start my day.
While grabbing my books and walking to my first class, I always seem to run into people I know. With a lot of “Good Morning!” greetings and waving to my friends, I finally enter the mansion-like Samuel P. Mandell Science Building. The Mandell Building has a pearly white exterior with large pillars and a magnificent marble staircase. The majestic structure of the building is fitting since it holds some of DelVal’s unique undergraduate degree programs in the environmental sciences. Our undergraduate degree options range from food technology to equine management!
Once I am inside, early for my class, I take a seat in one of the big, comfy couches in the lobby and check my phone for messages. I have a new email from our undergraduate degree admissions coordinator asking me to do a tour after class. I am a Rambassador on campus, which means I volunteer to show prospective students around the school. This change in my schedule is usually unpredictable due to the unexpected nature of these tours, but I am always glad to talk to a prospective student about DelVal. I love being able to talk to visitors not only about the social life here, but also about all of the amazing undergraduate degree options. I believe that my ‘dual hat’ as an RA and Rambassador allows me to learn new skills and give back to my community.
I take pleasure in helping my community grow and flourish. Not only am I helping current residents, but I'm also helping future residents at DelVal. As an RA, it is always important to look ahead to the future. By doing so, I can plan exciting events on campus that allow residents to connect and bond with each other. As they do so, residents begin to recognize my part in events and feel comfortable when opening up to their new RA. Now that I have entered my first class, one may think I become a typical student. To an extent, they would be right! I must keep up with class work and do well in college to earn my undergraduate degree. However, many may not realize the impact an RA has in the classroom. Other students recognize me as a leader in the resident halls and on campus; they all watch how I handle myself in class. With this in mind, I always do my best to attend class on time and participate during lectures. I enjoy the challenge of raising my GPA, but more importantly, I always take the opportunity to collaborate with my fellow students in group study and class projects.
Earning an undergraduate degree at DelVal is not only rewarding, but it's also fun! My favorite class to partake in is limnology, the study of lakes. With this class being the most hands-on, it's hard to find many negatives when a lab is spent outdoors on a sunny lake. This is the only lab where we are graded on our fishing skills! Haha, yes! My lab partner and I have been working at Lake Alena. We test the lake’s water quality, oxygen saturation, temperature, and create a fish census. The skills I learn in this lab will help me when I finally gain my undergraduate degree, and ultimately, a professional job in research.
After classes are over for the day, I still have plenty to do. From homework to clubs and RA events, I always have something to occupy my time. One of the organizations I am involved in on campus is the Rock Climbing Club. We often go to high rock climbing sites and rock climb outdoors. This group encourages strong team bonding, especially since a climber puts his/her life in the hands of the club members. Belaying is the process of securing and safeguarding a rock climber by using a climbing rope to hold the climber’s weight if he/she falls. When I climb, I enjoy the rough feeling of the rocks under my hand, trusting that my partner will catch me if I slip and fall. Who says college has to only be about getting an undergraduate degree? There is so much more to learn here at DelVal than what we study in class.
When not climbing rocks or working on homework, I am planning events for my residents. Events in our resident halls allow the opportunity for students to bond and make new friends on the floor. This influences community building and makes the hall a nice place to live. One of the events I am planning is Halloween-themed. For Halloween, I am hosting a dress-up contest for residents and their pets. Yes, pets! Since I am a resident assistant for the pet-friendly floor of Samuel Hall, I must also keep up with the residential pets. I believe that this event will allow residents to learn about new pets and explore the opportunities on their floor.
While life as an RA seems busy and overwhelming at times, it is hugely rewarding. I am present when students need help with roommate mediation, outreach for campus resources, or simply a person to tell their worries and troubles. I am a friend for my residents, and I am glad to have the opportunity to make their stay enjoyable. We are a community at DelVal, and we are always striving for amazing experiences. College requires a lot of work to get to achieve an undergraduate degree, but it can also open new doors that would never have opened otherwise!