As September approaches, students slowly trickle back to Ferris to prepare for the upcoming semester. One of the exceptions to this annual migration are the student staff members of the Office of Housing and Residence Life, who have been back at Ferris for two weeks.
“The RA is a role model and a catalyst for positive social interaction within the residence hall community,” says Ferris’ Office of Housing and Residence Life’s description of the position. “They are responsible for working closely with staff and students in creating and maintaining an atmosphere that promotes academic success, personal development, and an understanding of diversity.”
Every year, RAs and their staff give up their last two weeks of the summer to return to campus and undergo the training necessary for their positions.
“In that time we learn about many topics spanning from university policy, to mediation, to safe place training, to diversity and inclusion,” said Ferris pre-optometry junior and RA Megan Eagloski. “Informally, I feel that every day is a training session for RA’s. We are constantly learning from each other, the Hall Directors, and most importantly, the residents.”
“Resident Advisors are full time students,” said Eagloski. “Many are active in RSO’s or other groups around campus, are on call or on duty frequently and work shifts at their hall’s front desk. This juggling required me to plan ahead a lot more than I had in the past. It is a valuable skill, and I am thankful for the challenge it brings to my life.”
Although the job can be stressful and time consuming, students still find rewards in the opportunity for personal growth and development, which stem far beyond the free room and board.
Ferris first year optometry and senior Kamah Ellena, reflected on her previous years of being an RA and how the position helped her grow as a person and a student.
“My communication and leadership skills have improved immensely,” said Ellena. “I am also able to think more critically about situations. This growth is something that I could not have [received] in any other job in such a short time. This job challenges you in all the right ways, and it’s that challenge that changes you.”
While Ellena admits that only so much can be explained to those that have never held the job, she encourages residents to seek out an RA if they have any further questions regarding what being an RA is all about.