Being on duty... perhaps
there are some exceptions out there, but I doubt most
RAs consider this their favorite part of the job.
I don't know why someone wouldn't. After
all, when you are on duty, you get to carry a cell
phone, which you answer something like, "Uhhh,
(Yawn, groan) Hello? You flushed your keys
down the toilet? OK, be right there."
You also get exercise! Depending on the size
of your residence hall, you can burn some calories
while on rounds.
When you contact someone for alcohol, noise, drugs,
hallway rugby or any other breach of the residence
hall policies, how you do it is important. Following
are some of my thoughts on making contacts and being
- You are not a cop! - While part
of the RA job is enforcing policy, you should not
have an "I'm out to getcha" attitude.
This shows through and will not help with the relationship
you have with your residents.
- Have respect - Mutual respect
is the key here. If you treat the residents
like kids or act disrespectful toward them, it is
not likely that you will be respected in return.
- Be consistent - Inconsistency
will find it's way back to you. Enforce policies
with everyone. If you show favoritism to someone
and let them off for the same thing you documented
someone else for, you have probably just severed
your relationship with the other person, and have
put a big dent into your own credibility and respect.
- Be resident motivated - As a
Resident "Assistant," you are in place
for the sake of the residents. Keep this in
mind as you do your job, even as you enforce policy.
You probably don't want to say "I'm just doing
this for you" as someone pours out their full
bottle of Captain Morgan, but remember that in the
big picture, you are making a difference and hopefully,
you will have a positive impact.
- Stay positive! - As you do your
rounds through the hall, remember that not just
the confrontational contacts matter. You can
make a difference just by smiling and saying hi.
Next time you are on duty, keep these things in mind,
and remember, you will make an impact as a resident
assistant, be it positive or negative. So put
that duty phone right by your head, and when it rings
at 2:35am, answer in a cheery voice, "Goooood
Morning! How can I improve your life today?"
OK, maybe that's going a bit far, but stay positive,
and you will be not only be effective, you will also
enjoy your job!