RA positions teach leadership

University of Indianapolis students recently applied for resident assistant positions for the various on-campus residencies. According to freshman exercise science major Ashley Goeckner, students who applied to become RAs sent in applications and resumés and roughly 60 students were accepted.

Goeckner, who will be an RA starting in the fall, explained that being an RA forces students out of their comfort zone in terms of being responsible for other students and by giving RAs the feeling that people are relying on them to be there in that leadership role. Goeckner said that she wanted to be an RA because of how important  her RAs were during her first semester of college.

“My RA enjoyed being the mother goose for a bunch of college kids and just being there for all of us, and I really wanted to be that kind of person for people as well,” Goeckner said. “I am from Altima, Ill., and I didn’t get to go home very often because it’s a long drive, and my RA was a comforting factor for me. She was a great facilitator in my growth and getting used to the new environment, but most of all she helped me get to know and engage with the people around me so that college felt more like home.”

According to junior Central Hall RA and executive director of the Residence Hall Association Brittany Lake, there are many benefits to becoming an RA, such as free room and board, a single room, resume benefits, the experience handling crises on any scale and team building with the other RAs.

“Being an RA can be for everyone. The simple act of stepping out of your box and doing something new is good for anybody and everybody,” Goeckner said. “Eventually, one day, as we grow and climb our career ladders, we might find ourselves in a leadership role.”

Sophomore psychology major Raisa Kanji said second semester freshman through seniors are all eligible to apply for a RA position. Kanji said that she applied, last year, to be an RA but was not accepted. Because she was determined to be a part of the RA program, she applied again this year. Kanji was accepted and will be placed on an RA team in a residence hall, this fall.

“Making an impact and a difference in someone’s life is a reward you get…”

“As an international student from Kenya, college was a huge adjustment for me, and I did go through some tough times adapting to the culture and lifestyle,” Kanji said. “Being away from home and being in a new country where I knew absolutely no one, when I came here, was the hardest thing for me. My RA was not only my first point of contact here, but she was also my first friend.”

According to Kanji, for a lot of students, and especially international students who are not able to go home on weekends, the RAs make it possible for the dorms to feel not only like homes, but also where people feel like they belong. Kanji said that being an RA will definitely take a lot of work, but it will do nothing but add to her college experience.

“Making an impact and a difference in someone’s life is the reward you get for being an RA,” Kanji said. “You don’t have to be a certain type of person, in fact, RA teams need all different kinds of people so that they work well together.”

Kanji said that being from a different cultural background, she hopes that her different experiences and new knowledge will shine through and have a positive impact on her residence hall.

Students wishing to become an RA next year can talk to any current RA about their experience. Students can also contact Residence Directors Kyle Johnson and Lauren Drogo and Residence Hall Association advisors to get more involved in Res Life or learn more about the program.