The East Side Residence Halls RA staff. (image credit: The Office of Residence Life)

Being a new student on any campus is hard. Often times you may find yourself trying to adjust to a new atmosphere, being around new people, and following a new set of rules. It’s perfectly fine to be confused during one’s adjustment period. In fact, it’s encouraged to be honest with yourself about those feelings. One of the best resources on campus to help with adjustment is your designated Residence Assistant (RA).

While the reputation of Ras may not be great (due to teen media’s portrayal of us as blind, angry policy enforcers) we do have an innate desire to help our residents. Still, sometimes it’s hard to even know what you should talk to your RA about. If you at any point feel as though you need direction or help of any kind, talk to your RA.

Even if we don’t have the answers, we have access to countless resources around campus and can refer you to numerous departments. If people in the room next to you are too loud, and you don’t feel entirely comfortable confronting them, talk to your RA. We won’t make a big deal out of it if we don’t have to.

We’ll address your complaint in a way that helps everyone in your surrounding space. We’re students too, and we care about your safety and health. We also understand the workload associated with classes. We can work with you to make every aspect of your experience here (be it academic, social, emotional or otherwise) better.

It’s also important to note that there are some awkward moments. If your RA comes along while you’re breaking any kind of policy, they may have to document you. It’s not personal, it’s just for the sake of ensuring everyone’s safety.

Though that’s arguably less awkward than the person who gets locked out of their room in a towel and has to come to you to let them in. Still, learning to embrace those moments and laugh them off is a key part of being an adult.

Don’t feel intimidated by your RA. They’re a student and a person just like you, and likely want to befriend you and have a pleasant conversation. Whether you’re struggling with a class, need to vent about a harsh situation in your life, or mediate a conflict with a roommate, your RA is there for you.

So after your opening floor meeting, take a chance to go stop by and visit with them. Get to know their personality. Get know your RA.

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