BYU resident assistants gain as much as they contribute

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The resident assistant, or RA, position is sometimes overlooked by students seeking a job at BYU, but those who claim this position often find opportunities for growth in more ways than just monetary compensation.

Current RA Shalae Ryder, a junior studying socio-cultural anthropology, said she favors the perks of the RA lifestyle, but that helping her residents figure out college life is her favorite part of the job.

“These girls are adjusting,” Ryder said. “It’s another big step in life and it’s awesome to see them grow, learn, and adjust to this new time in their life.”

Jessica Newman, a 20-year-old from New York, said she enjoyed her time as a resident in Helaman Halls and has fond memories of her experience.

Resident Assistants have many different responsibilities. (Savannah Hawkins)
Resident Assistants have many different responsibilities. (Graphic by Savannah Hawkins)

“RA’s are fantastic people who care more about others than themselves,” Newman said. “They were very supportive and real friends at a time when I was struggling to transition into living by myself across the country from my family and friends.”

Newman said that adjusting to college life was full of surprises, but she was glad to have at least one person to talk to during life’s turns.

A resident at Heritage Halls Marisa Johns said she has appreciated her resident assistants.

“I’ve had two RA’s in my college experience and both have been a great resource to go to when I have questions or just need a laugh,” Johns said.

In thinking about possibly becoming RA’s themselves, Johns and Newman had different opinions.

“I wouldn’t want to be an RA because I would prefer to live with and be surrounded by people my age,” Newman said.

Johns said she would consider the position.

“It seems to be a great job where you can live with people who grow to love and respect you,” Johns said. “It can be a hard job at some points, but it looks awesome at the same time.”

Another resource that both residents and RA’s have is a Hall Advisor, or HA, who aids in learning process and acts as a mentor for the resident assistants.

Former Helaman Halls HA Melanie Storey said she enjoyed working with her resident assistants and helping them to meet the goals set by Residence Life.

“I definitely learned a lot as a HA,” Storey said. “I strengthened leadership skills, learned a lot about conflict resolution, had experience interviewing and hiring employees, and learned effective ways to give feedback and help employees improve.”

Storey said this helped her become more assertive and confident as a leader.

She explained there are many different responsibilities that RA’s  and HA’s have to handle on a day-to-day basis, but in the end, it seems to be worth it.

“My advice for future HA’s and RA’s is to not stress too much,” Storey said. “Learn to laugh and not take things too seriously. Be ready for things to happen that are out of the ordinary.”

The possibilities for personal growth–and a little extra cash–are nearly endless with the opportunities for RA’s at Helaman Halls, Heritage Halls and Wyview Park, according to Storey.

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