Written by Kimberly Webber, Resident Programming Assistant in Todd/Phibbs
It’s precisely that—a balance, which is why I identify with the Cyclers who are constantly readjusting. Residence Life is one of the most hectic, rewarding, fun, overwhelming, and worthwhile paths I’ve ever taken. From being Programmer of A/L’s RHA to being the T/P RPA and RA on the third floor, I have had no regrets. I can say that honestly, because I have had the wonderful opportunity of growing with every mistake made, every hour of sleep missed, and every tear shed.
Residence Life is one of those pathways that can grow and expand in ways you couldn’t imagine. It can offer great rewards one day, and cheat you for time the next. It can bring forth troublemakers and paper work as well as genuine friendships, confidantes, and uplifting relationships. As much as you plan, brainstorm, and prepare on the dawn of entering your Residence Life career, there’s no way you can prepare for what lies ahead. This is why it is so lucrative.
Unfortunately this means it can affect those you’re trying to support by breaking down the foundation on which you stand. With my floor partner, I am an RA to 54 freshman residents. From week one of classes to week four, I have seen them grow, learn, adopt new values, encounter tests (both academic and those life likes to throw in), embrace opportunities, try new things, discover new passions, and experience life away from home for the first time. From week one to week four I have seen myself act a motherly figure, a friend, a support system, a listener; I have seen myself encounter new situations and fail, encounter new situations and succeed, learn about myself and learn about others, confide in new people, support my friends in new ways, adjust my plans for the better and for the worse.
Yes, there is such a thing as a work/life balance and currently, I’m still figuring mine out. But for every assignment I didn’t finish, and every hour of sleep I haven’t gotten, I have been made wiser and stronger. Admittedly, I still have a LONG way to go in “maturing” and “understanding” and becoming an “adult” (these terms are in quotes because who ever actually matures, understands or is a full-time adult?!), but I’ve made more strides in these areas in the past 5 weeks than I have in any other circumstances or periods of time in my life. If the way I’m managing my activities, schoolwork, ResLife work and social life are wrong…I don’t want to find a way to be right.
I reiterate again and again: Balance is good… but the process you take to FIND your balance helps define who you are. And I wouldn’t be the same RA/BLPer/Greek Lifer/ResLife Assistant I am without these past 4 weeks of a learning curve and my wonderful Staff Team and residents (who, by the way, happen to consist more of genuine relationships than trouble-makers, thank goodness!). #LoggerResLife