R.A. All Day: R.A’s are People too

BY HEATHER BRILEY-SCHMIDT

I get to see my little pumpkin this week. As an R.A. it is an ordeal to get off campus – people need to be notified, quotas need to be made, and residents need to be happy; however, having a car (when the tires aren’t flat) really helps make the 40-minute trip to Oak Creek where my family resides easier.

About a month ago I had a larger motivation for throwing money into my gas fund, Scarlett. My first niece was born in the beginning of September and I cannot get enough of her.

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It’s hard not being able to see her when I want to. My sister, Brittany, sends me photos every day of how Scarlett is doing or what outfit she is wearing that day.

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My sister and I are very close, so not seeing them as much as I have in the past years is hard, especially now that Scarlett is here.

People tend to forget that we aren’t just R.A.’s. I remember an occurrence that happened in the beginning of the school year. I was in the elevator coming back from class and multiple students were in the elevator. I got all the way to my room, with my residents in tow, without anyone saying anything to me. I was standing in front of my door when one of my first-year residents told me, I’m sure in a helpful manner, that R.A. Heather was not in.

When I turned around it took her a moment to realize her mistake, to her apparent horror. She didn’t recognize me with my backpack on. I was literally asked if R.A.’s attend classes with everyone else. I admit I was shocked, but then I started to think. How do residents see R.A.’s? Can they see past our title? We are so much more than just a stereotypical R.A. We don’t try to be fun killers, or the “alcohol police.” We are here for the residents.

Before this year I was guilty of not knowing all the little things we do, the long nights on rounds, the countless hours of crafting, or the interactions we make with residents every day. Being able to slowly grow closer with my residents is what makes this job worthwhile to me. Helping a student through a crisis makes up for lost weekends with my family. The look of joy on my residents’ faces when they show me a paper we worked on late at night the week before is more than a fair trade to actually getting sleep.

So, the fact that I get to see my niece this weekend is amazing, but the trip back to campus is worth leaving her little face behind. I am a worker, a student, a blogger and an aunt, but I also am an R.A. and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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