Confessions of an RA

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To say the least, it has been a crazy couple of weeks. I guess I had expected that, but never knew how to prepare for it. You can’t really prepare to be an RA until you have actually experienced it. So yes, the new job has been a bit overwhelming, but I honestly think I am doing well. I’m trying to look at this year as a learning experience and not compare myself to other RAs. I am different and my girls are different, and that’s okay. That being said, it is difficult for me to accept the fact that not everyone is going to like me or want to hang out with me. However, if I can touch even one girl’s heart and lead her closer to God, I feel like my job will have been worth it. Still, I hope to become close to all of my girls this year. I have high expectations for myself, and I’m not about to lower them because this job is tough. All I can do is love on them, even if I may not feel like it.

These girls are nothing like the girls on my floor last year, which I know isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Most of them are pretty independent, and sometimes I feel like they don’t need my help. My door is open 24/7 and I talk to my girls as much as I can, but lots of times they’re studying and I don’t want to be rude by interrupting them. There are so many things I wish I could say to my girls like, “What can I do for you? How can I show you love? What do you want to do as a module?,” but I just feel like they will be unresponsive. It saddens me. Another situation that has been popping up is roommate conflict, which I guess explains why the girls don’t all hang out together. Last week I had to sit down and talk with two rooms. These girls came to me pouring their hearts out, and I feel so helpless. All I could really do is listen to them and check in on them. I have also been tying to help them create respect agreements for their rooms, which are basically rules they all agree to follow. I really hope the girls take them seriously.

There have also been moments where I remember why I wanted to be an RA. A few of the girls are very attached to me, and it makes me feel like I’m doing something right. My first event, “Welcome Home,” was a success because I got about 15 girls to come and at least stop by and make a craft. The girls seemed to enjoy decorating their mason jars. I even bought the right amount of supplies so that there were no left-overs. I have to admit, I was pretty proud of myself. Next week I hope to get some of the girls together to make posters for our athletes that we can take to their games. I have even been planning ahead by purchasing discount tickets to Skywalk (a trampoline arena) that we can use in a few months. This part of the job is very exciting for me.

I guess the question I have now is, “How am I going to bring change to this mod?” I’ve been focusing so much on being kind to the girls without being overbearing. I want them to feel comfortable around me. It’s a struggle for me to put myself out there and invite people to do things with me. Nobody wants to be rejected. I’m very aware of the fact that my residents have their own lives and several other commitments outside of school, and so I don’t want to waste their time. However, I recognize that I need to grow closer to them. I don’t know any of their stories, but I really want to. I think maybe by sharing my own story they might be encouraged to do the same. I guess we will see what happens. Please pray for me in this time of change.

Vanessa Montes

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  • Steve, thanks for this. A very nice write-up. Talked about it at presbytery today and mentioned you. So glad to do this kind of thing together.