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The 5 Types Of RAs On Campus

Being a freshman is a lot to take in. Everything is new, from your social life to your academics to newfound independence. Though each student is unique in terms of extracurriculars and interests, they all have something in common: living on campus. Penn State freshmen are required to live on campus.

Freshmen may be living without their parents for the first time, but they still have to call either East, Pollock, South, North, or West halls home for the next few months. Though there are pros and cons of each of these residence halls, they all share one thing: resident assistants, AKA the beloved RAs.

Not all RAs are created equal. Just like any other student on campus, they are unique and interesting individuals. Some of them, however, have certain common characteristics. Here are the five most common types of RAs on campus:

1. The Ghost

This RA made an effort to introduce themselves semi-energetically during the first week of move-in. They probably even had some fun and engaging “ice breakers” during your first weekend. They follow through with the essential rules and disciplines, and occasionally send out emails. However, this RA does NOT go above and beyond.

The Ghost is essentially always missing in action. That one time you and your floor friends were blasting Kanye West, begging to eventually be yelled at? Never happened. Either The Ghost has the ultimate level of chill to the point of complete paralysis, or they simply don’t give a crap. This RA is a toss up — though you may get away with everything, your obnoxious neighbors will too.

 2. The, for lack of a better term, Complete Asshole

I find it hard to believe it is someone’s hopes and dreams to become an RA. Yes, it is a noble and respectable duty that comes with free room and board, but knocking on doors and scolding freshman boys is not exactly the common Penn Stater’s idea of a great time. For this RA… it is.

Maybe this RA gets a power high from being the boss of the floor. Perhaps they feel like their hall is their kingdom, and they are the all-mighty ruler. Whatever the reason is, this RA enforces all rules and loves every second of it. If this RA lives on your floor, do yourself a favor: never stumble in drunk at 2 a.m.

3. The One You Would Actually Be Friends With

It’s a slippery slope trying to befriend someone who is also an authority figure in your life. However, these RAs make that slippery slope a little easier to climb. Maybe you two bonded over a favorite TV show or a similar major, because this RA immediately came off as approachable, genuine, and friendly. Sometimes they make you feel so at ease and comfortable, you forget they’re technically responsible for you and could rat you out any second.

Nevertheless, this RA is like your older sibling. Even if you didn’t become besties with them, they’ll still be the ones eagerly waving and smiling at you when you pass them on the way to class.

4. The Uncomfortable One

Okay, don’t get me wrong, this RA means well and genuinely wants the best for everyone. They are smart and respectable individuals with a sweet personality. However, they are certainly a bit bashful and shy. They probably have never been in a major leadership position before, and get a bit awkward and nervous when being confrontational or stern. If you’re being rowdy in your room they may knock and greet you with a stammer along the lines of “Hey…guys, uhh…can you, um…like, turn it down.. please?”

Unfortunately, people love to take advantage of these RAs. The rowdy and meddlesome students on your floor will start to sense their fear of confrontation like a lion sniffing out a scared little lamb. Be the good guy and just follow the rules for this RA’s sake.

5. The Mother Goose

You can’t help but love these RAs. When it comes to arts and crafts, they go hard. The themed name tags hanging on your dorm’s door are probably quirky and extremely detailed. They most likely stayed up making them all night, and had a little too much fun with the whole ordeal.  You may have even passed them knitting a sweater in the study lounge before.

These RAs wildly encourage activities such as “Bingo Night” and “Movie Night” in your designated halls’ commons. If your hall had a kitchen, you can bet they will always be busy baking cookies. In fact, they probably greeted you on the first day with a cupcake and/or a huge hug.

This RA is the mother goose, and you are their baby chickadees. Accept it.

Whether you are a current freshman experiencing your first RA ever or an upperclassman feeling nostalgic, these RA stereotypes probably applied at least a little to your RA. For freshman: Embrace whichever one you have. There is no escaping their wrath (or warm, loving embrace), so just make the best of it!

And remember, no blasting music during quiet hours.

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About the Author

Carolyn Popescu

Current senior studying Advertising and Visual Arts, Carolyn has a passion for entertainment and music. She also loves photography, film, graphic design, social media, and all things in between. She's the current Sony Music Marketing Representative for State College, so be sure to reach out to her with any local music scene questions, ideas, proposals, or if you just need someone to geek out about music with.

(Contact her through [email protected] or [email protected])

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