Billy ’17 loved Villiger and its inhabitants so much, he never left. This is, of course, because he serves the community as a Resident Assistant.
College is a unique time in a person’s life, filled with many new exciting adventures and experiences. Even though these 4 years are some of the best times that someone will experience in their lifetime, there are still bumps in the road. Many students are afraid to leave their old friends, nervous about making new friends and having to share a room for the first time in their life. But even with all these nerves, people are excited to embark on this adventure.
This 4-year journey begins at Orientation over the summer. After Orientation everyone is ready to move into the residence halls and start classes. Before they know it, it is MOVE-IN DAY! On move-in day all of the Residence Life staff is there welcoming these students into their new living quarters which they will eventually call home! The freshman Residential Assistants welcome every individual resident with a smile and crack a funny joke while giving them their key and ID, saying “Welcome Home.” The Resident Assistants have been preparing for 2 weeks to meet their new “children” with various programs, activities and many other fun events to help to promote the building of community within the halls.
Being a Resident Assistant usually seems to have this negative connotation about “killing our fun” and being “mean.” Even though students might believe that is what a Resident Assistant is, we in Residence Life are here to foster a community of young adults while keeping in mind the safety of the students. In my eyes, the role of a Resident Assistant is to cultivate a community in an inclusive way that reflects what we at Saint Joseph’s University stand for, which is the Magis. All Resident Assistants, especially those in freshman areas, are very high-energy and super involved within the University community. I encourage all of my residents to put themselves out there: try a new club, meet new people, and push themselves outside of their comfort zones, but there is one thing that I stress more than anything and that is “being yourself.”
All Resident Assistants provide their residents with the tools they need to become involved students in the community. Resident Assistants provide information about campus activities, while holding their own programs within the residence halls. These programs are centered around the learning goals set by the University to help students immerse themselves in the culture. Over the course of one year, students also become more independent, but as problems may start to arise – academic troubles, anxiety, roommate issues and finding your friend group – this is where the Resident Assistant will always be there as a confidential source for students, a space where students can vent, and most importantly, a friend.
After a long year’s work, I can speak from personal experience that seeing your freshman residents become sophomores is so great because you look back upon the school year and you have seen their growth, but also recognized the growth from within yourself as well. Being a Residential Assistant has never ceased to amaze me. The job makes my experience at Saint Joseph’s University that much better, but also creates a great experience for the residents as well.
Billy McAllister ’18 is an Accounting and Finance double-major from Morrisville, Pennsylvania.
Along with being a Resident Assistant for the past two years, he’s also involved with the University Student Senate and the business fraternity, Delta Sigma Pi.