Fornicating in the community kitchen? Shooting up coke! Dealing with pregnancy hormones from the girl down the hall! Fornicating in the laundry room too?! Throwing a party in a no-alcohol dorm? Again!?
College life can be crazy! It’s even crazier when you’re the resident assistant in charge of 50+ other people. That was my life for two years of college, and it was quite the experience! Thanks to my resident assistant gig, I was able to save a little money during college. I got my dorm room (all to myself!) for free, and they threw in a free meal plan. Free cable and some spare money (which basically covered the cost of laundry) was also part of the deal.
Looking back, being a resident assistant prepared me for life in ways I never could have imagined. Those statements in the first paragraph? All true. Every.last.one.of.them.
Here are some of the life lessons I learned as a resident assistant for two years.
1. People do stupid things. Learn to deal with that.
Fornicating in the laundry room? Yep! Not really the smartest thing ever. After all, they each had a dorm room. Maybe they were being considerate and not waking up their roommates… Sigh. Moving on!
2. Even if you’re the one in charge, you can only do so much.
3. Sometimes people have to pay. Make them clean what they messed up.
“You did what in the community kitchen? And now you’re bragging to me about it when I’m the one in charge? You think it’s funny that other people eat there? Not! Didn’t we already chat about how this behavior is not ok after you were caught in the laundry room? Well, we’ll see what you think of being woke up at 5 am to clean the kitchen!”
The above paragraph is pretty much the inner dialogue I had with myself as a resident told me she and her boyfriend had had sex in the community kitchen of our dorm. Eww!! As soon as she left my dorm room, I called my resident director. She agreed that having the girl clean the kitchen would be an appropriate punishment since chatting with her about having sex in the laundry room obviously hadn’t worked.
At 5 am the next day, I was pounding on her dorm room to have her clean up the mess. She was not impressed, but there were no more fornicating problems in our dorm that year!
4. Sometimes you can’t make people pay. Deal with it and move on.
5. Don’t micromanage people.
6. Sometimes you have to call in backup.
7. Let things go.
8. Learn to take a joke.
9. Everyone is dealing with something.
Everybody out there has something going on in their life – good, bag, or ugly. It’s not always about us! The resident mentioned in the first paragraph who was pregnant? She had a LOT on her plate! Going to class, preparing for a baby, and planning a wedding were a lot for a college sophomore to handle. We all need to remember a little kindness and show compassion for others.If you have the opportunity to become a resident assistant at your college, I can’t recommend it enough! Was it tough for me? Yes! But it was an extremely eye-opening event that taught me more life lessons than I could have ever imagined. So go ahead, apply, and see where the journey takes you!
What lessons did you learn in college? I’d love it if you’d share them in the comments!