Friday, May 21, 2010

A Long While: Reflections Upon Life As An RA

Junior year is completed. The seniors have graduated and I've technically moved into their place. Who knew such a thing were even possible? In the past year, I've decided to get a minor, to graduate "on time", to take more writing classes than ever before, look at going abroad after graduation, and travel to NYC alone. That last one is probably my most intense experience and one I'm, oddly, most proud of.

The year ended with a hard run. I wasn't sure the five papers would finish themselves but they did. I wasn't sure I would get home but I did. I wasn't sure I'd get a job for the summer and I... well. Still waiting on that one, but I'm looking forward to saying "I did." Ending things has never been easy for me. Ending my time as an RA was hard and strange. I'll miss the odd way that it gave structure to my life and direction for my work. I'll miss having a measure of how I'm doing, even when I see myself missing that measure everyday. I'll miss my team of RAs, even while I didn't know them half as well as I should have liked. I'll miss being challenged all the time to do things that scared me (like address throwing up people or talking to police or not knowing what the smell of pot is but still trying to call it in or...). I've been really grateful to have had that job though. Lots of learning took place and growing.

-Learning how to work under leadership that is very unlike yours.
-Getting the facts straight.
-Not getting personally angry with violations but calmly addressing them
-Receiving compassion again and again for jobs not well done. It's hard to take that!
-Being honest about my well-being with my supervisors.
-The need for teams of people working together, eating together, playing together.
-That where your room is located influences how you interact with people.
-People like to read things while going to the bathroom and get angry if you don't provide Stall Stories on time!
-Putting up bulletin boards that (get this) aren't ugly!
-Tea brings people together. So does stargazing and parties for Bilbo Baggins.
-It is okay to be a friend to your residents. It doesn't have to be awkward (this was a lesson I still needed to practice more)
-Housing staff are the best people you will ever meet. They are kind, loving, and have a servants heart I just had no idea how to respond to.
-Forgetting you are on duty is a bad idea. Keeping a calendar is a great one.
-Be friends with people with kitchens (ie your coordinator).
-Resting is important but keeping the door open is necessary at all times/be ready to be interrupted.
-Not being idealistic, but realistic. Not being fatalistic, but hopeful.
-To quote a wise person who quoted another wise person: "Life isn't a dartboard. It is a soccer net. God is really pleased with you hitting the soccer net anywhere you can. Not the impossible dartboard."

I'm sure that list could be longer. Two years is a long time.

And while it can be interpreted many ways, I am also really excited that so many of my girls wanted to be RAs. I can hardly count that all up to me (it pays so well!), but the fact remains that I had four girls apply for jobs, and one of them was placed in Atherton across the street!

So farewell 323 Simmons! Farewell Simmons Dining Hall! Farewell echoey hallways! Farewell amazing crew that cleans our bathroom messes! Farewell Supergroup meeting on Wednesday night! Farewell the sound of the Mifflin streak! Farewell noise requirements! Farewell GYSTing! Farewell the best team of people ever and the best coordinator ever!

Hello Patty's Place.