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RA selection begins at SMC

Brigid Fenlon | Wednesday, March 21, 2007

With the room selection process only days away, Saint Mary’s students are choosing their future roommates, dorms and lottery numbers. Many other students, however, have filled out out applications and interviewed to become a part of the Residence Life staff, which was chosen just days before spring break.

The Saint Mary’s resident assistant selection involves a three-part evaluation, which includes a written application, a group process interview and an individual interview. Saint Mary’s expected to hire 42 RAs just before break, but the number could still change, depending on whether or not all floors of residence halls will be needed for the upcoming year.

“The RA job allows a student to work with their peers in a way most campus jobs don’t. The RA not only plans section events, but acts as an adviser for a student with a simple problem or serious crisis situations,” Director of Residence Life Michelle Russell said. “The RAs receive valuable training in conflict resolution and intervention. They are great resources and role models.”

RAs are not only expected to be present for the students in their section but also to devote many additional hours to working with the hall staff on administrative tasks, Russell said.

“It can be stressful if the RA doesn’t manage her time well,” she said.

Junior Brittany Taylor, who is currently an RA in McCandless Hall, has both enjoyed and learned from her experience.

“Being an RA at Saint Mary’s has been one of the best growing experiences for me. I have been able to work with some great women here at SMC,” she said.

Taylor, whose hall is mainly composed of freshmen, said she understands the importance of RAs in supporting first-year students.

“There is an excitement and energy among the first years that makes my job enjoyable,” she said. “They are always willing to step up and partake in section events, and hall programming.”

The Residence Life staff attempts to place RAs in the dorm most suitable for them after they are selected, Russell said.

“The pro-staff knew that my personality would work well within the dynamics of the McCandless hall and staff,” Taylor said. “They knew what was best.” 

Applicants are asked to rank their dorm choices, although their first choice is not guaranteed. For Taylor, McCandless was her third choice.

“I am grateful for being placed in McCandless, even though it was not my first choice,” she said.

While the evaluation and application process is difficult, it has not changed much over the years, Russell said.

Students, too, recognize the need for a rigid selection process.

“The RA process is tough, and I think it weeds out people who don’t care either way if they would be an RA or not,” said sophomore Andrea Krebs, a current RA in McCandless.

The majority of RAs said the biggest benefits of the job are the people they meet.

“The other RAs are amazing – not just on Holy Cross’ staff, but in the other residence halls as well,” said Kathleen Dudek, a sophomore RA in Holy Cross Hall. “The biggest benefit has to be the people you meet. The girls and hall staff that I have become close with have made this year phenomenal.

“At times it is stressful and tiring,” she said, “but in the end it is all worth it.”