Ra Shadowing Reflection Paper

1156 words - 5 pages

On a rather dreary Sunday afternoon, I had the pleasure of interviewing Alex Roscoe, an RA in Haaland Hall, about her experiences as and RA and her thoughts on leadership. Alex was a little tired, but still chipper after staying up the previous night for weekend hall duties, which included rounds at 2:00 AM. Alex has been an RA for two years, previously in Christensen Hall and now in Haaland Hall, so she was able to offer me a wealth of advice based on years of experience.
We began with a brief tour of Haaland Hall, and what an RA’s room looks like. We discussed the difference between working in an all-freshmen dorm hall and a dorm hall that is open to all undergrad students. She told me ...view middle of the document...

We began talking about leadership. Alex told me she felt a leader was a role model who empowered other people to reach their own potential. It reminded me of an exercise we did in RA class in which we compiled words that defined qualities of a leader. Listener, charismatic, and open-minded had been my top three picks, and I remember role-model making the list. But I feel one word we should have paid more attention to was empower. An RA will be the leader of their floor, but should also be someone their residents can call a friend and depend on for support. I am lucky enough to have a relationship like this with my current RA. If I need advice on a matter or am in a pinch, I can trust my RA will be there and have my back. I hope to be someone’s support system, and empower them to do great things. Alex told me her favorite part of being a leader was the impact you can have on people, and the gratification you feel when they thank you for “just being there.” She gave me an example from her first year as an RA in Christensen Hall, when one of her girls was extremely homesick and wanted to move home immediately. Alex talked to her a lot, brought her to the counselling center, and the girl stuck out her freshmen year at UNH, transferring closer to home in the fall. In all her examples, it seemed the simple act of holding a conversation with someone and allowing them the chance to truly be heard can have such an impact on others. As an Occupational Therapy major, this is the kind of effect I hope to have on my clients someday, and I would love to start by having this influence on my residents.
When asked what some of the challenges of being an RA were, Alex told me she struggled with time management in the beginning, and explained to me that knowing so many people can be both a blessing and a curse. She described the sense of community that develops among the staff of each hall, and how as an RA you aim to extend these feelings of acceptance and support to the residents on your floor. However, knowing all these people also means a lot of people recognize you, and...

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