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5 things I have learned from being a Resident Adviser

  1. Life is bigger than just me.

I interact with people all the time as a student and resident adviser. When my life gets stressful, it is easy to think that I am the only one with these problems, but as I talk to my girls, or other girls in the building, I find that I am one of many. We all have the same stresses, and the same struggles. My life and problems are small in the scheme of things. Being an RA taught me that sometimes, I have to look past my struggles and share in someone else’s joy or happiness.

  1. I cannot do it alone.

Community is not simply a buzzword; it is a way of life. Try as I might, I cannot constantly go. I cannot be a good student, remember everyone’s birthday, plan events, and enjoy college. I learned how to ask for help, when I could not connect with a girl, or when I kept forgetting to celebrate people’s birthdays. Being an RA or nurse or student is not you against the world. It is a collaborative effort to allow all to succeed.

  1. Late night conversations are vital, and should be encouraged.

Some of the best conversations happened at 1 am, 2 am, or even 3 am. These conversations were unplanned and important. Sometimes the conversations were silly or serious. They were important and help me grow and be challenged in my faith. Wrestling with ideas and sharing thoughts is one of the best ways to practice the art of listening to others opinions and sharing yours.

  1. Programs don’t matter, people do.

In life, we will plan events and parties. It is easy to believe that bible studies or programs are unsuccessful based on the low number of people that attend. As a senior RA, having a low number of people can be disappointing, but the people who attend still matter. Having only a few people can end up being a good thing because you can have deep conversations with those present. It is a blessing because

  1. Love can be shown in many different ways.

People have different love languages. My love language is words of affirmation so I wrote a lot of notes to the girls on my floor. It took me a while to figure out that some of them did not appreciate the notes, but preferred face to face conversation. I had to figure out what each girls love language was, and how to reach out to them. I wanted to be an encouragement to the girls on my floor, and show them love.

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