As a freshman resident, I admire the RAs on this campus. They have a difficult job, but in the end, they all love it and create a positive experience for us. I applied to be an RA at UNH for the 2013-2014 academic year. It’s a long process that started back in the fall semester and the candidates are not notified until February 26th. It all started when I began to see announcements regarding RA applications on the table pamphlets in the dining halls. I then proceeded to ask my RA whether or not I should apply because I was hesitant at first, but in the end, she convinced me to apply and see what happens! Over winter break, I got an approval email from the housing department that my GPA qualifies in becoming an RA applicant and I then had to choose a day and time for a three-week RA/leadership course taught by one of many hall directors. The classes are small and typically range from eight to twelve applicants. The activities held in class allow for you to become more comfortable in a small group environment in addition to learning about yourself and leadership skills. I just completed class two this week and will attend my final class on Monday.
Within the three-week-long process of the course, weekly assignments must be completed. The first one asked us to interview an RA not within our own dorm and write a small essay. I learned a lot when I interviewed a Williamson RA, and it made me want to become an RA even more! Since I’m in a leadership course, he provided me with plenty of advice in taking on leadership responsibilities. The second assignment is a social justice project which requires creativity and perhaps critical thinking in order to produce a visual and a five minute presentation to the class.
All RA applicants must do two brief and informal interviews: one with the hall director leading your specific section of the course, and one with your current hall director or assistant hall director as well as your own RA. I enjoyed both interviews a lot! My first interview was with the course instructor. It was great because she had the opportunity to get to know me on a more personal level and I was able to ask questions and provide her with more information about myself. The second interview was with my assistant hall director and my RA. It was a similar format and the purpose was so that my assistant hall director could get to know me through asking questions for me and my RA to answer in order for her to write me a recommendation.
As this process has gone on, I have talked to many RAs in my own dorm about the position. They all had positive things to say and gave useful advice. I want to be an RA because I want to be a role model (like my current RA is to me) and despite the difficult aspects required within the job, I am willing to accept the challenge in this leadership role. Regardless of whether or not I become an RA, I thought the class was a great experience and allowed me to learn a lot about myself, my peers, and how to improve upon leadership skills in any context.
Written by Rachel Afrow, UNH Class of 2016