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Freshmen 101: Getting Along With Your RA

As a freshman, your RA may be one of the first upperclassmen you meet at Penn State. They’re there to help you with whatever you may need, and like it or not, you’re stuck with them. Maintaining a positive relationship with your resident assistant may come in handy, so while they may be a drag, don’t alienate them too much. After all, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.

1. Attend Building Events

As you get deeper into the semester and become involved at Penn State, it becomes more difficult to budget and balance your time, and obviously floor meetings or building movie nights aren’t likely to be a top priority. While floor events are pretty forgettable, it’s best just to suck it up and go. If you don’t, your RA will probably end up tracking you down to fill you in on what you missed, and you wouldn’t want them to check on you at say…around 10 p.m. on a Friday night. Who knows, there might even be free food, and you’d be foolish to turn down free food.

2. Don’t Cause a Scene

If you can follow a “don’t be good, be quiet” way of living, you have a much better chance of making it through the year unscathed. So when you return from a night of debauchery and the elevator opens to a quiet floor, don’t scream or recount the night in your bathroom or hallway. Don’t continue the festivities. Go to bed. If they’re worth telling, the stories will just as funny in the morning. Don’t be that guy that needs to wake the entire floor up whenever something exciting happens.

3. Don’t Be a Jerk

While there may be a lot of rules living on campus, it’s pretty easy to coast through the year without drawing attention to yourself. If or when you do something that attracts the attention of an RA, the best thing you can do for yourself is to cooperate. Really, if you think arguing with your RA, or any RA for that matter, will help anything…surprise, it doesn’t. If an RA approaches you and asks you to stop doing something, just stop. If you’re caught in a questionable situation, debating or continuing the behavior isn’t going to make the outcome any easier for you. The best way to handle it is just to remain level-headed and just deal with the outcome. Chances are if you’re not difficult, things may be easier for you in the long run. Nobody likes getting in trouble or dealing with the backlash but RAs have a job to do, and if you can understand and respect that, the smoother things will go.

4. Try to Be Enthusiastic

Whether you like it or not, your RA isn’t going to anywhere. As long as you’re living on campus, you’re going to have one, so why not take the chance to build a good relationship? They’re there to help you. They (probably) want to be some kind of a help to you, so if they’re being friendly to you, be nice back! Your RA isn’t just there to bust you if you’re drinking or tell you to be quiet, so don’t be afraid to ask them for help.

Have you had positive experiences with RAs while living on campus? Share them in the comments!

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Posts from the all-student staff of Onward State.


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