Being a resident assistant more than just busting freshmen


My name is Steven Pitcairn and I am a second-year resident assistant (RA) at Wehrle Hall. I took the job to help build community in the hall of Wehrle and have fun doing it. I have made so many friends that I would never have met before if I did not sign up for the job.
My favorite part of being an RA is being there for residents and helping them in times of need. I have helped many residents with scheduling for classes, during lockouts, and feeling they are part of Gannon. I love to program events like going to an Erie BayHawks game, painting with RA Steve and board game night.
The programs are well-attended and lots of residents ask me all the time when the next program will be. I love to sit in the lobby and talk with residents whenever I get a chance and just have good conversations back and forth about life.
One part of the job some people do not like is doing rounds. It is when an RA checks the bathrooms to make sure no one is passed out, makes sure everything in the hall is working properly, and checks that common areas are not trashed. I love to connect with residents during this time to see how they are doing, ask about school work and help if they are in need of something. I am very active in listening to residents’ problems and try to help them out in any way possible.

The one thing I have learned about during my time as a resident assistant is to expect the unexpected at any moment. I have handled a lot of situations as an RA and a lot of times just have to trust my instincts.
It is a job, and I have mostly handled situations with other RAs on staff. I have learned as an RA that it is OK to use other RAs to help in any situation or even call up to a higher position.
Being an RA has taught me how to balance school with a job. I am up sometimes until 2 a.m. on weekends and up until midnight on weekdays to kick out visitors who do not live in the building. The resident director will usually notify RAs if someone is spending the night. The position can be taxing in planning for programs but it is fun to build a community for residents and I have enjoyed it a lot.
I applied to be an RA two years ago and never really knew how big of an impact I would make on campus until I was hired. I have made a difference in helping residents through tough times and have made a difference by helping them with homework.
I was a shy kid when I was a freshman, but I have learned that through being a resident assistant I can be a role model and show residents that I can balance school with a job.

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