Resident assistants help students adjust to the residence hall as well as the social and academic challenges of college.
RAs strive to develop a sense of community among the residents on their floor by hosting events and one-on-one meetings with students.
RAs serve as positive role models to residents while enforcing university rules and policies.
Jonathan Petesch, a junior communications major, has been an RA for two years in Woods House.
“When I wake up in the morning, I have no idea what the day is going to look like,” Petesch said.
Petesch said a big part of the RA position is being open and available on the floor for residents.
“I’m on-call probably about once a week, but I’ve done it up to four days in a week,” Petesch said.
When an RA is on-call, they must stay in their residence hall, only leaving to eat somewhere on campus.
Last on the agenda for Petesch is the completion of rounds, an evening building inspection to make sure students are safe and the building is secure; this is also the time in which RAs enforce policies like quiet hours.
Petech said while working can often be inconvenient when it comes to being social, the job has made him familiar with on-campus resources which help him get more involved.
Petesch said time-consuming obligations will often come up that consume his whole evening.
“Sometimes the job can throw a wrench in some of your plans when you’re trying to go out for the night or trying to spend some time away from the building,” Petesch said.
Petesch said as time went on he got used to this and planned his evenings more strategically. He said the inconveniences are worth it after seeing students benefit from his labor.
“I have around 40 residents, each one is unique, each one has their own struggles,” Petesch said.
Petesch said he sees the direct impact he’s had on his residents’ lives.
“It’s really rewarding whenever you go and help those residents and give them the support that they need and see them progressively changing and improving,” he said.
Alex Webber, sophomore computer science major, is an RA in the Fruedenburger house.
Webber said most of his friends are resident assistants.
“The Freddy staff is really close, they’re all great. We get along well,” Webber said.
Webber said students often seem to think that resident assistants exist to get students in trouble, which he said is not true.
“This can make things awkward when trying to hang out with new people,” Webber said. “Sometimes people won’t be up front with you when they know you’re an RA.”
Webber said little signs of acknowledgement can go a long way when it comes to residents interacting with their RA.
“Even if it’s just a resident seeing me in the hall and saying hi — it feels really good,” Webber said.
Webber said overall he is satisfied with what he does for students and the university and plans to be an RA next year.
Full disclosure: Jonathan Petesch is a former columnist for The Standard.