Q. What is the toughest situation you have had to deal with as
an RA, and how did you do it?

A. I had a resident come to me with a family situation that encompassed nearly every heinous thing you can imagine. She had never told anyone before and could, literally, barely get the words out. I spent hours and hours with her. Maybe too many. But I thought maybe, just maybe, she would look back in ten years and see the time she was finally able to open up to somebody – her RA – as a turning point in her life. I referred her to Counseling, I went with her, I brought them to her, I went in her place. It was exhausting. But she is still here, and I can’t imagine her having made it without help. I’m glad I was able to give it to her.
Sara Schaeffner – University of Vermont
A. The hardest thing I’ve ever had to deal with as an RA was helping a resident who had just been sexually assaulted. Fortunately, on our campus, we have the Victim Assistance Team, and we’re able to page them whenever we need them, as they always have an advocate on call. For me, the most important part of helping that resident was allowing her to make all the decisions about what happened–whether she went to the hospital, filed a police report, talked to anyone else or even if she wanted to tell me what happened. She decided to talk to an advocate from VAT and go through the proceedures to collect evidence and press charges.
Amber Benoit – Colorado State University

A. Two residents were fighting with 2×4 boards in the hallway. I used my voice – not my body – to seperate them, had a trustworthy resident call campus security to explin it, and meanwhile discouraged onlookers. Oh yeah… I shook a lot too – those nerves will get to ya!
Michael Wilde – Concordia College

A. I was put on suicide watch for one of my residents for a weekend.
UC Davis

A. One of my residents that became a really good friend of mine was caught walking down the hallway with a beer. He wanted me to just let it slide “this one time” and it was really hard for me to not give in. I knew that if I didn’t handle the situation right away, I would be forever haunted by it for the rest of the year. Who was to say how many “just this once” times would arise later in the year.
Leigh Ann Lorusso – University of Wisconsin at Whitewater

A. I had to confront two of my underage residents about having 18+ bottles of beer in their room. I had just begun to develop a repoire with them, and I had to break that because of their mistake. I feel very lucky, though, that they respected my role after the fact, even though they were pretty upset at first. I think what made them start talking to me again was the way I always said hi to them. They can only not respond for so long.
Jennifer Anderson – Southern Methodist University

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