For the last two years, I’ve called myself a Residential Advisor – commonly shortened to the infamous title: RA – at my university. If you don’t know what that is, I’d direct you to the title of this blog entry because that’s essentially what I did. But I’ll elaborate: college students move onto campus with their hopes and dreams, and evil little plans that they would see hatched upon an unsuspecting campus. My job is to thwart their efforts to raze the hallowed halls to the ground, while simultaneously being a college student myself… With my own little plans.
Yes, I was Lord of the Flies…
An elevated student…
King of the Playground…
Oh yes, indeed, I was an RA.
I’ve been trying to figure out a way to write about what it’s like to be a collegiate hall monitor, which – by the way – was the kid I’d hate back in the grade school days. How to describe the irony of job that expects you to stop things that you’d describe as pretty cool. Well, enough with the fluff; I decided I’d do it journal entry style.
College: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the Residential Advisor. Its two year mission: to explore strange new dorms, to seek out new students and new communities, to boldly go where no student has gone before.
Entry 047: I’m told in training that saying words such as ‘retarded, gay, raped, and faggot’ are offensive to certain communities, and RA’s are discouraged from using such language because it’s not inclusive. I wonder if I’ve gotten in over my head.
Entry 342: A resident comes to me and explains that someone pooped in the communal showers – and that he hadn’t noticed it when he first got in – but the smell was horrific and turds don’t wash down the drain; they block water from draining causing a soup of syrupy poop and water.
Entry 121: It was a quiet night. You learn to appreciate those.
Entry 232: Fellow RA’s and I have discovered a college student drunk in his room; instead of leaving his quarters to use the bathroom, he’s decorated his dresser with cups of urine. One of the RA’s remarks how she can’t handle this and leaves the room to sit in the hallway outside. I ask the – still drunk – college student to take the cups to the bathroom and pour them out. He agrees, but stumbles while leaving the room and spills pee onto the RA sitting on the ground, who couldn’t handle it. I think she still blames me for that.
Entry 009: I receive the email saying that I was hired to be an Residential Advisor at OSU. I’m placed in a dorm housed primarily by freshmen, which means that a lot more foolery goes on. I figure that it can’t be that bad.
Entry 262: The supervisor that hired me informs us that he’s moving to a more civilized dorm.
Entry 381: I still use words that aren’t all-inclusive, but I have made progress. I hear my neighbor open his door and scream down the hall, “If you do that again, I’ll come down there and rape you… Faggot.”
Entry 345: One of my residents is carried into our community lounge, black out drunk, and proceeds to pee on himself while leaning on a desk. He continues until there is a sizable puddle forming on the carpet. I’m so desensitized by this point that I let him finish before taking up my responsibilities as an RA.
Entry 149: A fight starts right outside the dorm. I decide that it’s not my jurisdiction and that, perhaps, speculating wouldn’t be so bad. One of the two turns out to be a wrestler – mind you, the university I work at has an excellent wrestling program – and the fight turns out to be alarmingly one-sided. A fellow spectator tries to stop the fight, but gets punched in the face by a wildly thrown haymaker. I decide to intervene and hold the wrestler at bay while asking him is it worth beating someone up if it gets you kicked out of college. In the back of my mind I wonder if I’ve become lame.
Entry 201: I chase a student down a stairwell in my socks because he was smoking inside the dorm.
Entry 312: Find an alcohol poisoned student – male – passed out in the bathroom of an all-girls dorm. He’s unresponsive until a police officer digs his fingernail into his collarbone. I wonder if that’s legal. The student wakes up but then starts vomiting. The ambulance show up and put him on a stretcher. One of the paramedics warns that he better not throw up in the truck. The student replies, “Are you gonna kick me out if I do?” I laugh.
Entry 174: I’m informed that one of my residents has captured one of the geese from the college pond and released it on the fourth floor. I wonder how he snuck a goose into the dorm without anyone noticing.
Entry 304: It is that bad.
To be continued…