South Village, the largest and oldest of the most recent residence hall projects, sits abuzz in the evening with light and activity. PHOTO COURTESY OF MILLERSVILLE UNIVERSITY
On September 15th Julia Yetman, Millersville Sophomore and South Village dorms resident assistant (RA), was just coming from desk duty, her shift did not end until 10 pm. These long kinds of working hours are just an average day for Millersville RAs. Yetman began to multitask, another thing that she has become so accustomed to as a resident assistant. She fixed herself a late dinner.
Yetman says, with passion and pride, that as an Education Major, having RA leadership experience, and coming up with programs for the dorm residents, will help her with lesson plans and other responsibilities as a future English teacher. Unlike some other students’ motives, Yetman is not just doing this for the added benefits that come along with being a resident assistant. Of course, they are a nice bonus though.
“I would say it is worth it, but you cannot be sensitive,” Yetman says. “There are going to be instances where people are not going to take you seriously, they are going to be rude to you or look at you differently because you are doing this job. There are also people that are going to be nice or really accepting. So, I would definitely say it is worth it, and I’m not just saying that because of the free housing. It is also a really great opportunity to be more involved. Before this, I really did not know that many people on campus. Now I feel like I know a bunch of people.”
Becoming an RA, one can pretty much assume it is going to be a lot of work, but every job still comes with its surprises. For Yetman, most of her surprises thus far have luckily been fulfilling ones.
During her RA training, she was given the impression that being an RA would be much worse than what it has been. She resides in the C/D side of South Village, and her residents have been mostly issue-free and eager to attend programs that she creates. Other RAs are not so lucky in that regard.
Yetman explained the easy and hard parts of being an RA.
“I think the hard part is being the same age as everyone else and having to enforce these rules,” she says. “If they are doing something wrong, then I obviously have to do something about it. Even though it is college, and I know how it is. Another hard thing is probably memorizing all the numbers that we have to know for who to call if something bad were to take place, like MUPD, Crisis Intervention, etc. We had to memorize those numbers in a week, and what we should and should not do. The easiest part is honestly desk duty. You kind of just sit there, and people usually sign in or sign someone out, or ask to pick up a package, that is pretty much all we do there.”
Every resident assistant works a set day from Monday to Sunday, and has two weekends out of the semester that they work, from 5 to 10 pm. RAs are also on call throughout the night and residents are able to message them at any time about a concern
“Being an RA, you have to pay attention to things more,” Yetman says. “For example, issues with appliances in a room, when the fire alarm is going off make sure that everyone gets out of the building (even if it goes off at 5am), water leaks, helping the residents put work orders in, etc. Every building has its issues, but how you deal with them is most important.”
Not only is a good relationship with your residents necessary as an RA, but so is your relationship with the other RAs in the building. For Yetman,, there are about 21 other RAs. They all have been getting along well, thanks to the team building activities held for them during training week over the summer. Over the course of this time, they all learned a lot about each other, held meetings, played games like building a castle out of spaghetti and marshmallows, and had a treasure hunt throughout campus to better learn the MU layout. The friendships that Yetman has made with her fellow RAs are ones that she can see herself having all throughout college.
Yetman says one interesting experience is when residents think that they are being sneaky, but they are not. All the RAs are eventually onto their obviously suspicious behavior. So, if that is something that you have done yourself as a dorm resident, know that the RAs are well aware, and proceed with caution.
If you are looking to be an RA, Millersville is often searching for current MU residents that live on campus. That way, you already have a good idea about campus life. But if you are like Yetman, and have been a commuter, you still have a chance too. Whether you are new to the scene, or a broken-in MU veteran, you will feel welcomed with open arms as an incoming RA. However, the job is not for the faint of heart.
“Be prepared for inconvenient situations,” Yetman says. “On our desk duty day, we are on call until 7 am. If we are working on the weekend, we are on call until 12 the next day. So, if you get a call in the middle of the night, you have to take care of that situation. Even if it is something as little as a noise complaint, you have to get out of bed and go deal with the issue. You also have to do midnight rounds where you walk around the entire building. Just be prepared for all these things because if you are stressed with schoolwork and having trouble creating a sense of balance, you may not want to consider this job. I usually am okay in my classes, but adding this on top, it does put a strain sometimes.”