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My Favorite Parts of Being an RA

Juanita writes about her experience as a Resident Assistant (RA)!

Juanita writes about her experience as a Resident Assistant (RA)!

Being a resident assistant (RA) has been one of my favorite things here at Carleton. I came in my freshman year during the peak of the pandemic with a lot of questions about what my Carleton experience was going to look like. Luckily, I was placed on a first-year floor in Myers Hall. I had two amazing RAs who did their best to create community during a difficult time. 

Juanita, Janellie, and Yahnee at New Student Week introduction

My RA Placements

After my first year, I knew that I wanted to do the same for the incoming class of first years and applied to be an RA. I was placed on Goodhue third which is arguably the best floor on campus (I am extremely biased). It was a mixed floor made up of all class years. My time in Goodhue Hall was spent baking lots of brownies, using the Superlounge for programs, and making some super cute door decorations. I loved being an RA in Goodhue, so I decided to reapply again for my junior year. 

Juanita holding penguin.

My junior year I was placed in Ground Evans which was a primarily Sophomore and Junior floor. “Grevans” (ground Evans) was an exciting placement. I knew there would be new challenges and opportunities to test the skills that I had gained during my RA training (which that happens in the fall). RA training is an exciting time because you get to meet your team, make your door decorations, and welcome the new incoming class. 

Cow door decorations

Roles as an RA

A lot of the time, people ask me if being an RA is fun. I have to say it is! Part of my job is creating community through programming and interactions with my residents. Some of the ways I do this is by making sure that I am available to my residents whenever they have questions, and sending out weekly emails detailing what is going on around campus. 

RAs and Area director at Hall dinner

Another part of my job is being on duty and doing rounds of the buildings in my area. During my duty shifts is when I make the most brownies and hold a lot of my programs. Some of my favorite programs I have held in the past are a Super Bowl Sundae event. This was where I bought ceramic bowls and acrylic paint markers that residents could customize and have some ice cream in. I also held a mini canvas painting and fall treat night, and a coloring contest. 

One of my favorite residential life events that I participated in was NOlympics, which happens at the beginning of New Student Week. RAs choose a theme for their floors and then battle against other floors for a cow trophy and bragging rights. Another notable event is the UNI RA conference that happens in late January. This conference took place at the University of Northern Iowa, and 6 RAs got to go and learn more about residential life at other schools. 

A group photo of Resident Assistants and Area Directors

All in all, my experience as an RA has been a positive one. Through this job, I have been able to meet amazing people. As I prepare for my senior year, I am looking forward to creating some fun programs for the townhouses (where I am placed next year). Although I am away from home, I’m happy to be able to find a community here!

A fun fact about Juanita (she/her/hers) is that she can tell when it’s going to rain because her elbow will hurt! Beyond this real world superpower, Juanita is a member of the Latin American Student Associate (LASO) and is a Resident Assistant (RA) during the school year. You can find her walking in the arboretum in Fall or Spring, or relating to the energy of the mini bald spot, which, just like her, has so much happening all the time!