What It Takes to be an RA and How You Can Be One Too

By: Quincy Fuehne

Senior Brittany Bentley became an Resident Advisor (RA) after following a friend around on duty.

“I would see her helping people in unique ways,” Bentley said. “I really liked how she was there for them in ways nobody else could be and I wanted to be that for people.”

This is Bentley’s second year as an RA. She was an RA her junior year and now serves in the Student Living Center (SLC).

“I get enjoyment out of helping others,” Bentley said.

Bentley found that being an RA has helped her develop more than one skill that will help her in her future career. She is currently in nursing school and has already begun applying these skills.

“It teaches you conflict resolution and how to deal with situations that a normal day doesn’t consist of,” Bentley explained.

In the hospital, Bentley has to deal with conflicts between the patient and family or the care team and patient.

Being an RA has also helped her with following up with patients.

As an RA she tries to follow up with residents who she knows filed a maintenance request. She wants to make sure the request was fulfilled.

In the hospital, she uses this follow through skill with patients who receive, for example, pain medicine. She wants to ensure that the medication is working like it is supposed to.

RAs should come in with some skills, but not all RAs can be the same. Junior RA Kay Bettendorf says not all of them can be vocal leaders.

“If you have a ton of bulls in the room, it’s like going to be a bull in a china shop. It’s going to crash stuff down,” Bettendorf said.

Leadership and teamwork are two qualities that are important for an RA to have, and with that comes confidence. While Bettendorf says she is not the most creative person, she has to use creativeness with this job to put on events (programs) and decorate the halls, like making door decorations.

RAs are required to put on two programs each semester for the students. Some past programs include a midnight breakfast, movie nights, open mic nights and pumpkin painting for Halloween.

These events are for all students, but some students say they don’t have enough time in their day to participate. For Noah Randall, school and volleyball take up most of his day.

“Typically when I do have free time I don’t spend it going to these activities, I spend it resting here (in my room), doing homework and stuff like that,” Randall said.

Even though Randall does not typically attend programs, he is thankful that the RAs are there to keep people safe and to help him when he locks himself out of his room.

RAs are on duty on weekdays from 8 p.m. to midnight and on weekends from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m.

They begin duty by calling into security and the Resident Director (RD) on call so both know who is on duty in each hall.

While on duty, RAs have to go on rounds throughout the night.

“I usually vary the times I go on rounds just to mix it up and make sure I don’t miss anything,” Bentley said.

She makes sure all doors are locked and that the residents are being respectful of each other.

At the end of the night, the RA documents anything that happened while on duty, if anything.

With being a nursing student, Bentley no longer has any classes at QU. Therefore, it would typically be harder for her to make relationships with other students outside of the nursing community.

“This is my true tie to QU, besides my clubs and organizations. It’s just a way for me to get to meet more people and get to know others,” Bentley said.

Students who are interested in following in Bentley and Bettendorf’s footsteps are in luck. The Office of Student Development is starting the hiring process for student leaders on campus for the 2019-2020 school year.

On November 7 students received emails with applications and information to be RAs and Orientation Leaders. Both positions are open to all current students.

Orientation Leaders are apart of the Orientation Team that help with new student orientations in the summer and spring. They ensure new students have a smooth transition into the university whether they are freshmen or a transfer student.

Students who submit an application should be engaged at the university, engaging as a person and positive. The Office of Residence Life will check GPAs and conduct records of all applicants. Orientation Leaders have to maintain at least a 3.5 GPA.

It is required that the student be available for the Group Interview Day that takes place in the spring. They also have to participate in spring training which takes place on six Fridays from 12:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Spring Training Dates:
Friday, March 22
Friday, March 29
Friday, April 5
Friday, April 12
Friday, April 26
Friday, May 3

Orientation Leaders also attend Hawk Preview Days in the summer. Applicants are required to provide their availability for dates. It is stated on the application that “applications will be prioritized by applicant availability”.

Students should contact Andrea Gruger if they have questions about the Orientation Leader position.

The RA application that was sent out is more lengthy than the former application. It asks the applicant more subjective questions.

Some questions ask the applicants campus involvement and commitments and awards and achievements, while other questions ask what the applicant thinks will be the most rewarding and challenging part of the job.

Like an Orientation Leader applicant, RAs must maintain a specific GPA and are required to attend certain interview and training days. Those dates will be provided to applicants at a later date.

RAs are student leaders who strive for personal and interpersonal excellence by building relationships and communities in the residence halls.

Both applications have a strict deadline of December 14.

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