An Interview with a RA
To many undergrads, RAs are “those people that want to take your booze.” An interview with my very own RA, Ed Torres, however, shows they are actually quite amiable (even if they would take your alcohol). If you read closely, you might just learn something.
OS: What are some of the perks associated with being an RA?
ET: I think the biggest on is free housing and free food. There is a $500 stipend. Also, you gain leadership and managerial experience. Socially, you meet a lot of people, not just your residents. You really feel like you’re a part of the school. It doesn’t really feel like a job. You feel integrated into the school system.
OS: Do you have any special RA rituals?
ET: Haha. I haven’t been doing [this job] long enough to notice. I make a point to say hi to my residents and take the extra step in getting to know them.
OS: Ah. Why did you decide to be an RA?
ET: The free housing helps a lot. I lived off-campus and wanted to get back on campus. It’s the only way you can do it once you end your contract. You get to know a lot of people, in addition to your residents. Being an RA gives you an additional skill set. It’s also a résumé builder.
Continued after the jump
OS: Nice. How did you get assigned to Simmons?
ET: Everything is random, but Special Living Options, like Simmons, are a whole extended application process with additional interviews, but nothing is guaranteed. You aren’t guaranteed to be an RA, even after taking the class. My friend, who took the course with me last year, wasn’t an RA this semester, but he will be next semester.
OS: Oh. That would be rough not to get a spot. How often are you on duty in Simmons during the semester?
ET: You normally pick up four or five weekend days per semester. Thursdays count as weekends. You also have some weekdays. It’s really not that bad.
OS: Wow. I definitely thought it was a lot more often than that. Do you have any stories about times you’re been on duty?
ET: Craziest story I heard was about the slip and slide on our floor, but I wasn’t on duty for that. It’s been pretty laid back for me. I haven’t even seen a drunk person. Well… I’ve seen them, but not an explicitly drunk person.
OS: Hmm. Seems to me like you’re missing out on some of the fun. When do you get the Stall Stories?
ET: The Friday before, in the RA mailbox.
OS: You have a special mailbox?
ET: Yeah. The RAs have a room in Redifer.
OS: Do you feel that being an RA gives you some street cred?
ET: No. Not at all. People think you’re a loser because you’re “that guy” trying to get them in trouble. If anything, it gives you the opposite of street cred, except, of course, with Residence Life people.
OS: Speaking of Residence Life, how often do you have to meet with them?
ET: You meet with the dorm coordinator every week as a super group (all the RAs in the building). Every other week, you meet one on one. This meeting is used as an update to keep in touch, basically socialization. Your coordinator becomes a kind of colleague. You become friendly.
OS: Thank you for your time.
ET: You’re very welcome.
Wasn’t that enlightening? RAs are people too. Take from that what you will, but it seems to me that RAs know what’s good. After all, they get free room and board for very little exertion. Hopefully now the world of RAs isn’t as obscure and you and your RA can even grow to be… gasp…friends!
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About the Author
Our photographers were on hand to capture the sights of Penn State basketball’s return to Rec Hall.
“I’ve just been super interested ever since that first year trying to grow my personal THON story, get more connections to it, help as many people as I can, and be that person [my mom] is for other people.”
The series is set to be written and created by “Top Gun: Maverick” and “Anyone But You” star Glen Powell.