Dorm life on a college campus is one of the most important aspects of a freshman’s life as their first year away from their parents. For most, their roommate is someone they had never met until move-in day. While the roommate is someone that may eventually become a large part of the freshman’s life, there is someone else that can make an impact: the dorm residential assistant, or RA.
The RA is an underclassman, usually sophomore or junior level at the college or university. While some RAs continue on to working in their senior year, most want to move off-campus to live with friends and get the experience of owning their own place, or at least paying bills. The process of becoming an RA begins with the potential candidates in their freshman year. For some, like Drew Overton, it was something they wanted to do because they felt they could make an impact. Overton said he became an RA because, “I wanted to help the freshman become men and… seeing past residents grow into more mature men is very rewarding.” Overton is a junior RA in Pritchard Hall on the campus of Virginia Tech. In his second year, he has seen a change in how he likes to handle immature freshman and how to deal with them on a daily basis.
While some RAs do the job in order to make an impact on the lives of their residents, others simply want the job because of the benefits. One potential RA for the school year 2016-2017 is Matthew Iglesias. Iglesias is currently a freshman living on-campus and likes the campus so much that he would like to stay living on-campus for his sophomore year. But since the expenses of living on-campus are high, Iglesias decided to try and become an RA. Though he does not have the job yet, Iglesias is starting his interview process and said, “I am extremely excited and nervous for my interview. I hope I get this job because I am in need of housing for next year.”
Once the freshman decides on becoming an RA, he or she must go through a rigorous process that includes attending interest meetings, turning in resumes, attending interviews, and going before the RA selection committee. If he or she is lucky enough to become an RA, they must be available for training about three weeks before the start of the new school year.