Your Resident Advisor (RA) may be the most important resource you have at college. Not only can they provide you with vital information regarding how your university works, but also they can give you emotional support when you need it. Even if they don’t have all the answers, they can most likely connect you to the person who does. Here are the different ways your can help you:
1. Connecting you with academic resources.
Your RA is most equipped to connect you with resources on campus that can help you with your classes. Most often, these resources are free and include, but are not limited to, tutoring services or university online resources. Sometimes, they or a friend of theirs have taken the class with which you are struggling, which means they have first hand knowledge of how the class works and for what you need to study.
2. Connecting you with university resources.
RAs are privy to knowledge of the vast number of opportunities and services available to every Undergraduate student. They are given information about how the library system works, what resources you can access online, where you need to go if you are sick, just to name a few. They can tell you what to do if you lose your ID or if you don’t know how to get to a certain class. They can direct you to a wellness center, center for LGBTQ students, or women’s center, or any other facility on campus that reaches out to minorities or advocates of minority groups.
3. Advertising academic opportunities to you.
RAs often have the ability to help you and your fellow peers gain access to an academic opportunity, whether that be a professor or program. Occasionally, they will bring attention to lesser known campus wide opportunities. But, often, these opportunities are hall or dorm specific, so look out for these resources.
4. Creating a community.
A good RA will implement programs to help their residents become a community. Whether that is having monthly movie nights or cooking for their residents, RAs should be doing something to get all their residents together voluntarily to bond. Having this sense of community, especially during your Freshman year, will help you acclimate to your University’s social scene, as well as learn about the different academic and extracurricular pursuits of your peers. If your RA is not planning and executing an events like these, talk to them and say you would like to know the people in your hall or on your floor better.
5. Providing you with emotional support.
Your RA should be the one person you can count on when you are upset, angry, or anxious. They will listen to you for as long as you need and offer you advice. They will not judge you for what you have done or belittle your problems. Even if you are happy, they want to hear your success and share your joy. If they cannot help you deal with your emotions, they can refer you to a professional on campus that can provide you with further help.
6. Providing you with social support.
College is a huge adjustment, especially socially. You might not know a whole lot of people or are not as close with people as you would like to be. Either way, talk to your RA. They can provide you with helpful insight and tips to help you sail through this social transition. They can even make you aware of social opportunities, such as mixers or other events, that will help you break out of your shell.
Whether you just broke up with your boyfriend or do not understand how your school’s dining system works, your Resident Advisor is there to help. Your RA is the modern day Renaissance man – they do it all. They can be your miracle worker, but it all depends on you and if you let them help you.