Thankfully I did not have to work on thanksgiving and was therefore able to go back to my hometown of Franklin and spend some much needed time with my family. I have rarely been able to go home and see them this semester, which is the thing I hate most about this job, but I finally left the dorm and went home for a few days over the break. It was a wonderful thanksgiving and my inability to leave school and go home as often as I would like has developed a new appreciation for my friends and family back home. Unfortunately, I was only there for two days and had to return to Memphis for my shifts on Friday and Saturday. Luckily, I was given some desk hours to make some extra money over the break. It was not bad a t all and because there were such few people staying in the dorms over break it made my duty rounds and my desk hours very easy. Before the break I was very stressed, but a little time off and some quality time with my family and friends was just what I needed and now I am back and ready to work again. I have had very few issues this semester but the other week when the power went out was very inconvenient because I had to stay up and try to fix it. On the plus side, I found a really creepy room in south hall that looks like the first saw movie. Also, I have been having a lot of incidents with students burning incense in their rooms. I have told them to stop and confiscated incense on several occasions as have my coworkers. I know it is commonly used to cover up the smell of weed but none of us have been able to find any students with marijuana so they continue to do this. That is annoying but at least it makes the halls smell nice.
I was always told that as a resident advisor my first priority is to be a good student and I have worked diligently at that this past week but because of a very heavy workload I turned in a few assignments that were less than satisfactory. First of all, my community service paper and presentation for RA class was too short and my visual aid looked sloppy and uninteresting. I am very sorry for my poor quality work and I am trying very hard to turn around and produce better quality assignments. I also failed to complete my German workbook and did poorly on a test. It’s not for a lack of effort; I was up all night and barely slept all week. I am struggling to stay focused and at that point in time I was completely overwhelmed by the tasks at hand. I am suddenly relieved that my classes have settled down once more and I have a reasonable and manageable amount of work to do. I am currently getting ahead in my classes and fulfilling my obligations as an RA at work. I had to make a poster tonight which I absolutely hate doing. James and I worked on it and a desk assistant helped us write on it. I just realized that the in-service with the advertising guy did absolutely nothing to change the way I advertise for events. On the other hand the career services in-services have been helpful and I will use the knowledge I gained when composing my resume. I have to work during the basketball game but I think it is cool that resident’s life is helping promote the women’s basketball team. That could be a fun event to go to. I’m not sure what I think about harvest fest and I am somewhat reluctant to go participate in it. I will go because I’m obligated but I don’t know what to expect.
So far this has been a very stressful week. I have been forced to make several important decisions regarding my next semester such as accepting nominations for fraternity office positions, signing the intent to return form, and registering for classes. On top of all that I sprained my AC joint in my shoulder which required me to spend several hours seeing doctors and going to pharmacies over the weekend. That seriously cut into time that I planned to devote to studying and work. I am now playing catch up as I stay up late studying and hanging up posters for my floor; which is quite difficult with a hurt shoulder. I got to spend some quality time in prayer and thought in between classes today which made me feel a lot better about everything. I need to do more of that if I plan to make wise decisions and manage stress as I would like to. Although most things worked out for the best I still feel as if I am under pressure just like before. Hopefully, a good night of sleep will reenergize me and prepare me for whatever challenges I am sure to face. Speaking of sleep, I have not been getting enough of it this semester. Today one of my residents, Tellvin, commented that he always saw me up late and proceeded to ask if I ever slept. I could only answer with ‘no, not really’. Sadly I do not get the amount of sleep that I should to maintain a physically and mentally healthy lifestyle. I need to work on managing my tome more efficiently in order to get the necessary amount of sleep. Another thing that I need to do to manage stress is to get back into a regular workout routine. I slacked a little bit, then I got hurt in the hockey game, but as soon as I recover I will continue doing the Insanity workouts.
So far it has been a good week at south hall. I had my program about alcoholism and alcohol abuse and 17 people showed up. Some did not stay very long, one was a friend who is not a resident, and Fletcher was also there. But for the most part they were my residents and they enjoyed it. Devin, one of my residents, has agreed to help me make my bulletin board for next month. This will make it much easier and I am very glad that he is willing to help. I am still not sure what I will make it look like but at least I know that he is here to help me make it. I have learned to appreciate south hall even more than I did before when I was only a resident. It is peaceful, there is a good community, and there are very few incidents that ever occur in our building. I have made some good friends in the building which makes my job fun. It helps when I spend time at the desk when I am on duty because then I meet people from different floors and some of them even come to my programs now. That helped a lot when Fletcher gave us a surprise roster test. I think I got the 70% that was required of us; especially if he counted the people I know from the other two floors. Immediately after I finished the test I thought of two residents names that I was friends with but forgot to put down and I felt like an idiot. If I am given the opportunity to take the test again I am sure I would do much better. I am glad that we were all forced to take the test because it reminded me how important it is to know the resident and to know who lives in what which room.
I’m not sure if Fletcher will be back next semester which is something that I do not like at all. He has been a great boss to work under and he is a big reason why I took this job. I do not look forward to working under someone else. I made a mistake this week by schedule one on my three monthly programs on the Tuesday of fall break which does not make any sense. I ended up moving it back a day so everyone would be able to attend and so that it could be catered buy Topios Pizza. This is a program that I am looking forward to. It is a sports trivia night. I think that most people think that any trivia night is lazily put together but that is not the case with my program. I have made several categories with for each sport and I am creating 5 different questions for each category. My residents will split into teams and answer the questions on the card. I will by some king size candy bars as prizes and award them to the winners of trivia night. A lot of the residents that I have gotten close to are huge sports fans and we frequently talk sports at the front desk. There are also a lot of football players in the dorms and I think it will be a lot of fun to get all of these people together and test the well roundedness of their sports knowledge. As usual the 20th has snuck up on me and my program proposals and safety checks are due this week. I already have one ready and I will get the other two done by tomorrow. I think I might have to do one with James so that we can collaborate to get our professor program done. I do not really understand why it is so crucial to have a professor program. Safety checks will be a pain as always but I will have them done by the 20th. It does not help much that I have a paper for RA class due on the same day. After all of that is done hopefully I will be able to enjoy my birthday which is also on the 20th.
I feel very irresponsible for forgetting to do my blog last week and I am currently trying to work harder in my classes. I’ve been attempting to work ahead when my work load is light so when my schedule gets busy with work, hockey, or fraternity obligations I will not fall behind in my studies. I have began a more strenuous and frequent workout routine which has helped reduce my stress but it has also taken up a lot of my time which in turn allows less time to sleep. I am a bit indifferent with how the job is going right now. I am not sure if I am doing a good job or if I am doing poorly but I am sure that I am not bettering myself as a leader by ding this job. That comes as a surprise to me because I do not think of myself as a very good leader and although it was not the main reason I became an RA I was certainly hoping to improve myself as a leader and as a worker. I am also beginning to realize how constricting and inflexible the work schedule for this job is. I work nights and I am always on call; being expected to help at any time. That’s not to mention the frequent staff meetings, in services, RHC meetings, and the class. I am truly beginning to envy those who work day jobs and have weekends off. That sort of schedule would make it easier to eat dinner participate in other RSOs, balance my schedule. I know this is unrealistic for an RA job, but it is defiantly something to think about for my next job. Fletcher told me that he is not being considered for the job in South Hall next semester which makes me feel very uneasy about working in the spring. It is something I will have to think and pray about.
At the beginning of the semester I got behind on class work because I was so busy with my duties as a resident advisor. Last week was very hectic and I crammed a lot of reading and studying in. I never thought I would be saying this and I am not quite sure how it happened but I am ahead in all of my classes and I am completing assignments in advance to clear my schedule for meetings, work and some much needed time to me. I do not feel like I have dramatically improved with time management, it is much more likely that my classes are slow right now because I just took two tests and two quizzes. Either way I am taking the light course load to my advantage by working and reading ahead in my classes as much as possible.
One thing about being a RA that I really do not like at all is bulletin boards. I have to decorate my own board as always along with two additional boards that I am doing for a co worker who needs my help at the moment. I am not particularly good at decorating anything so this is not very easy for me to do. None the less I will make something up and get it done on time like I always do.
I have a few more papers to fill out before my inventory binder is complete, in order and up to date; which would make me feel happy and quite relieved.
My residents have been very good this semester and I look forward to the programs next semester so I can get to know them better. I know names and faces but class today made me realize that I need to find out more about them before I plan successful programs and help build a solid community.
I have been very busy this week and I do not have any time to myself. With homecoming, there has been so much to do and I feel like I do not have enough time to do it all. I will be working on the RHC float and the float for Lambda Chi Alpha. I have been up late the last few nights and I am trying to find time to catch up on some sleep. This week was a little hectic because of safety checks and maintenance checks. I also had a program about CPR (Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation) which went very well. I was stressed about planning it and getting food for the program but I was pleases with the results because it went very well. I had about ten residents show up and they all enjoyed it and participated in the discussion on the importance of CPR. I had one resident share his personal experiences as a lifeguard and everyone stayed for a long time after it was over and just talked. We were probably there for an hour and forty five minutes. I enjoyed it and one of my residents who does not come out very often and he came to the program last night. The job has not been that bad recently but I dread designing the new bulletin board. I strongly dislike decorating them and I have no idea what I am going to do for this month. I am not that worried about it because I will eventually get creative and think of a good idea to make a decent bulletin board. I know most of my resident’s names and I will be tested on them at the next staff meeting so I will be reviewing the roster and talking to them on campus to help me remember names and get to know them better.
I actually feel a lot better about the job this week. I helped to vent about it a little through my last blog and it really helps to talk to older RA’s about stressful situations and how to handle to job. I’m finally getting to know my residents, which makes this job fun and now it seems that there is not a face in the building that I do not know. That is an exaggeration of course but I have most of the names on my floor down and I am starting to connect with some of the people on my floor. I have a problem with meeting my residents and I am not sure if it has to do with coincidence or location. It seems that I am much closer to the residents on my side of the floor. Although the only thing separating our side from the other is a staircase, I hardly hear from my resident on the other side of the stairs. This makes me wonder if they are shy or if I seem distant and preoccupied with the residents closer to my room.
Luckily I got my weekly shift changed so I can attend hockey practice. The coach changed dates on me at the last minute so I had t switch my schedule. I thought I would not be able to do it but I was thrilled to find that I could switch my duty night.
I am actually somewhat interested in the RHC meeting tomorrow. I do not know what to expect, but I would like to make my voice hears and have an input in residence life. I probably will not become deeply involved but I will most certainly help out. I will also help with that homecoming competition that for some reason or another is actually not a competition at all. In other word I will assist with the float build although I will most likely be focusing more on building a float for my fraternity.
I think I might be getting the hang of this job but I realize that I still have a lot to learn about being a RA.
Well, I’ve enjoyed journeling for several years now, but I’ve been hesitent to begin blogging. Now that the RA class has forced me to do this i guess i’ll give it a shot.
First of all I would like to express my true feelings on being a Resident Advisor thus far. This probably is not the most accurate representation of what it is like to be a RA because i have not been working this job for a very long time, but I will say what I am feeling at this point. I would not go so far as to say I am too stressed to handle this, but I will admit to being spread a bit too thin and I have very little time to complete the amount of work I need to do. Honestly, I did not do any of my first reading assignment and although I did read the chapters for the Thursday class, I am a little behind in my other classes. I have several frustrations with the job thus far. first of all I think the that amount of programs we are required to put on is both excessive and unnecessary. If we only had to do two a month, the programs could be more closly monitored by the prostaff and it would allow the RA’s more time to make it worthwhile for the residents in attendance. After my first program was denied i was given 10 minuets to come up with a new program and i was not allowed to fill out a canteen. When I was forced to put on a program that i didn’t want to do I was not excited to do it and part of me hoped that no one would show up and I would have an easy night which i could use to catch up on some sleep. I also was not very excited about my academic program.To give you a little background, I had a previous commitment to fufill my summer job contract by lifeguarding in my home town of Franklin; which is approximatly a three hour away. I drove home worked all weekend and as soon as my last shift ended I drove back just in time to make my 7:00 duty rounds. Needless to say, I was not able to put as much effort into my second program as I should have and fatige was starting to set in. Little did I know, the DA working the 4:00 am shift would be a no show, as usual, forcing me to work and have a full day of class on less than two hours of sleep. On a side tangent, that workers lack of any sort of productivity is begining to annoy several other employees in my building.
Another thing that is frustrting me about the job is the length of training. We did some activities that were not a successful use of our time. For future refernce We should cut out some of the guest spekers and focus on serius isses such as suicide counseling. I’ve been told it is a liability but I think it would be a good thing to certify RAs in CPR/AED and First Aid. I understand that it is a liability but the fact that residents live on campus makes the university liable anyway and it wouldn’t hurt to have staff members on hand who know how to deal with emergency medical situations. For example, a Ra who is a good friend of mine has a resident with epilepsy. Would it not be safer for her to know how to care for a person having a seizure than for her to sit back watch and call an ambulance. In medical emergancies response time is key and I’m not if sure every paremetic will be able to reach the top floor of richardson in time to save a life. I think a more wfficient use of training time could be spent on first aid certification. It would also help if we had alloted more time to work on bulliten boards and door decs.
On a more optimistic note, i am enjoying getting to know my residents and I will brag on my floor a bit by saying that I have had very few problems with anyone on my floor. I hope this is an appropriate length for a blog.