Diary of an RA: Finishing the First Year

April 27, 2023

So, this year was a bit of a challenge… but in a really good way. I wanted to give back to my community. When I was a first-year, I applied to be a Resident Assistant as a fun way to get involved in my community and to make a change in those around me. I got hired and was super excited to see what was ahead for me. But, transitioning from Resident to Resident *Assistant* was more challenging than I anticipated. Nonetheless, I preserved.

I started training in August and met the amazing staff of 20 fellow RAs. They are all super cool. I also met my amazing supervisor, who is now one of my biggest mentors. The training was intense, but it really prepared me for the role. I remember being put into scenarios of what could happen on-call, then learning how to design and implement programs, then how to market. There were a lot of things I struggled with understanding at first. It was really hard, but I got a lot of support and found a community within my staff where I felt supported. The returning RAs helped all of the new RAs adjust to the role and comprehend what was going on in training. I remember the late nights of preparing to welcome all of our new residents, making door decorations, and preparing the rooms for move-in. I remember seeing my supervisor coordinate all the move-in events, training, and our staff team bonding. I was mesmerized by how organized and dedicated she was and wondered how I could do that as well.

Move-in comes and goes, then I begin work fully in the role. I started my duty shifts, planned my first programs, worked with our Resident Faculty member, and met with my supervisor to seek guidance and support. Being real, it was overwhelming. Managing so many different things was difficult, and I was unsure how to stay level-headed and organized. However, my supervisor and fellow RAs provided a lot of guidance, and I began to gain more confidence in myself. I learned how to better serve the residents, our community, and our building to the best of my ability. I was able to better understand all aspects of being an RA and why we do things the way we do. Learning more about the Residential Student Experience model and why programs mean so much to our community’s development was my favorite part of improving my skillset. I’m still learning and growing, but I have gained much more confidence in working as an RA.

Now, I stand here, finishing up my first year as an RA. I’ll be coming back next year to my same community, helping more residents adjust to life at Cal and helping new RAs transition into the role. This one goes out to my amazing hall staff (all 20 of you), my superb Senior Resident Director, and my 41 radiant residents. You all inspire me so much and made me realize my true potential. Thank you for being a part of my Berkeley community and story, as I hope to have been a part of yours <3