As I’ve mentioned before, this is the first summer I’m spending NYC. It is insanely expensive to live here, so in order to do so without putting my parents even further in debt I applied to be a Summer Assistant (SA). This is simply the summer version of a resident assistant (RA), the upperclassmen student who is notoriously known as a narc to ‘ruin your fun’ when you are partying in your dorm.
Of course there is more to the job than that, but I’m sure you Lovelies all think of that subtly when I mention RA/SA Here is my story.
Once I received the job, I was thrilled. The major perks included free housing and a free meal plan for the entirety of the summer. If it’s free, it’s for me! But of course, there’s a catch. Each week I have to work 20 hours in our Resource Center downstairs. The Resource Center is the fancy name for the help desk where students pick up packages ask questions and come with any concerns. In addition, each SA is required to be ‘on duty’ a certain amount of time as set on a schedule for the summer.
Being on duty requires you to carry a phone with you for an extended period of time (usually two to three days) where the public safety officer stationed downstairs can call you in case of an emergency. You can also be called regarding a room lockout or if a resident needs medical assistance. Since most of our residents are out of state and we don’t have a large budget, all the programming RA’s are known for doesn’t happen in the summer. One less thing I am responsible for.
In context, this may not sound all that terrible. But here’s where I have myself a little pity party.
I am able to work well in situations where I am the leader. When working at the Resource Center, it’s great. But the nights I’m on duty are some of the most painful hours I have experienced. Although it comes out to only being about fourteen days for each SA, I seem to be getting all the really insane nights. Last night there was a robbery outside of my dorm and a resident was attacked. I had to accompany him to the hospital. If any of you have ever been to NYC hospitals, you can relate to how really awesome they are…not. I had been to this hospital when I was a freshman with my roommate who had really bad stomach pains, so I knew what to expect.
I sat in the hospital for a good four hours until the resident was finally discharged. I came back and had to write a report all about the incident so my supervisors would have all the information needed. At that point, it was about 6:30am. I smelled like hospital so the only thing I could think to do was shower. Finally at nearly 7:00am I fell asleep… only to sleep through my alarm for my shift at the Resource Center at 9:00am.
My body is not one that can handle a lack of sleep lightly. I looked droopy eyed and miserable, and that was after getting to work over an hour late.
Lockouts can also be miserable. The public safety desk can call you on two hour intervals for lockouts, meaning you could essentially be called at 10:00pm, 12:00am, 2:00am, 4:00am, 6:00am, or 8:00am. Imagine a night where you get a call every two hours and tell me if that’s a good night sleep.
For each lockout, a resident is charged $20. Often times, my co-workers and I won’t charge the first two lockout times since we are most likely still awake and if the resident is courteous, we feel the same. But of course then residents get greedy. Sorry my friend, I don’t want to bargain with you about a $20 charge at 4:00am on a Wednesday, I want to go back to sleep.
Some might believe this is a small price to pay for free housing and a meal plan but I beg to differ. I’ve never wanted to quit a job more, and I am not a quitter in the least. On the bright side, if anything this experience has taught me to get more sleep and that I should never apply to be a regular school year RA.
Lovelies, have any of you ever been Resident Assistants? If not, what are your memories of your own RA’s while in college?