Life as a Resident Assistant
In her first year as a Resident Assistant, Andrea Robinson received a Christmas card from a resident named Charlotte, thanking her for helping Charlotte adjust to her new life at college. Robinson recalled that Charlotte was overcome with homesickness, as many first time students can be, and to help boost her spirits, she went with Charlotte to an opening week picnic. That made a huge difference for Charlotte and her gratitude she conveyed in the card. But the message had an extra meaning to Robinson. “I was just doing my job,” Robinson said. But knowing the difference she had made to Charlotte, she asked, “Why wouldn’t anyone want to do this for the rest of their life?”
That revelation came during Robinson’s sophomore year of college and now, 26, she is still living in residence halls interacting with students like she did with Charlotte. Robinson is in charge of more than 400 students and their RAs. “I didn’t even know that my job existed until I was a sophomore in college,” she said. Robinson has been a hall director at State U. since 1998.
Robinson was an RA for two years before she became an assistant hall director at the University of Wisconsin. After Robinson had finished her bachelor degrees, she applied for a director’s position at several universities. “When [Ball State] called me for an interview, I drove down the next day. I fell in love with the campus immediately, and was offered a position right away. So I cancelled all of my other interviews,” Robinson said.
Before coming to Indiana, Robinson grew up in Tomah, Wis., with her two sisters and mom, who divorced her dad when she was thirteen. She attended the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point and majored in speech pathology and audiology. She continued her education at Ball State and received a master’s degree in higher education and student personnel administration while working as a hall director.
What does a hall director do? Robinson’s week consists of at least 20...