How to Think Like a College RA in the Real World

When planning an event or get-together, always expect there to be a low turn-out, then when the whole guest list shows up, you will be more than glowing.

As a college Resident Assistant (RA) you wear a lot of hats. You’re a mom. A dad. A peer. A psychiatrist. An event-planner. A medic. And…a full-time student. Regardless of your age or of whether or not you were, plan to be, or are an RA in college, anyone (yes, anyone) can think like an RA. Here’s the how-to.

  1. Assume everyone is up to no good. Your boss. Your boyfriend. Your barista. Then, you will be pleasantly surprised when they each do something splendidly pleasing.
  2. When planning an event or get-together, always expect there to be a low turn-out, then when the whole guest list (that really should have RSVP’d, gosh people!) shows up, you will be more than glowing.
  3. If people get on your case for doing your job just turn to them and say, “I’m just doing my job” or better yet, get them to admit, “I know you’re just doing your job.”
  4. You are not always going to be popular. Accept it now. Everyone is allowed to dislike someone and the disliking adds that necessary drama to your life that keeps you humble.
  5. Spend just the right amount of time with your coworkers outside of work. Don’t be MIA, but also don’t overstay your welcome.
  6. Let people miss you. At an event, make an appearance and then bow out gracefully. Always leave them wanting more.
  7. Stand your ground. If people are giving you a hard time, assume a power pose and speak firmly. You know what Eleanor Roosevelt said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” And they can’t.
  8. Never let your coworkers see you angry or otherwise overly emotional. Take a step back, cool off, and start again. In five minutes it will have all blown over and you won’t walk away from the situation embarrassed.
  9. If you are reprimanded by a coworker and disagree with what was said or the way the material was presented, take that person aside and explain to them how the encounter made you feel. Give an explanation and then work with the criticism. Say, “Yes, I apologize,” or “Next time I will be sure to do it that way,” or “I will work on that in the future.” If they were completely out of line, realize that they were probably projecting their own insecurities about how they are executing their job out on you. Smile. And move on.
  10. Don’t be overly available for covering for people to the point that you are being used as the office “yes (wo)man.” You need time off too to stay sane!
  11. On that note, have some time away from your place of employment, even if it’s just a 30-minute lunch break. Eat outside, not at your desk!
  12. Be thankful for your job everyday! There are so many people out there who would love to be in your position.
  13. Remember that you have something remarkable to offer your part of the world, you just have to bring your A game!

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