Economy Makes Being an RA Seem Like a Good Idea
It’s amazing what starts to look enticing when the economy is sucking. Nationwide, colleges and universities have reported phenomenal increases in the number of applicants for RA positions. RAs (resident advisors) are the long-suffering, non-freshmen, adult(ish) folks who agree to live in vomit-splattered, high-volume dorms in exchange for free room and board at their institution of higher education.
It is a thankless job, and, as Tara J. Hart, director of housing and residence life at Seton Hall points out:
“When we’re recruiting students, we put out there that if you’re doing this for the money, you will have earned it by Halloween,” she said. “The nature of this job is that much will be asked of you.”
Beyond the short-term savings, the experience can also help in an increasingly slim job market.
“These kids learn problem-solving, conflict resolution, crisis management, communication skills and programming,” said Mr. Dunkel, director of housing at the University of Florida. “You can translate that skill set to any career. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a teacher in a classroom or an accountant.”
During my freshman-year stint in the dorms, it was widely considered among the resident hall population that only an upperclassman with an extreme lack of tuition money would ever consider putting themselves in harm’s way (that would be in the way of a pack of newly-liberated-from-parental-control freshmen) for what is basically a non-paying job that totally wrecks your sleeping and studying schedules.
However, it was also considered by the lot of us that only someone with a higher degree of motivation to become educated than any of us college-fund-having kiddos had would accept such a job. So, while on the one hand we thought of our RAs as an especially cranky variety of fun-hating babysitter, we also had to admit that out of all of us, they were the most willing to do whatever it was going to take to earn a college degree—even put up with our played-out antics (which we thought were phenomenally original, but which the RAs and the janitors always knew exactly how to clean up, thereby calling into question our actual level of inventiveness). Flame Ball was our only impossible-to-erase hijink because, as it turns out, you cannot erase fire from carpet.
Posted by Alexa Harrington