Photos by Grace DeSanti.
Although being a resident assistant (RA) can be a difficult and oftentimes thankless job, University of Rhode Island students Katelyn Raimond and Alex Obiurka are two RAs who love being RAs.
Raimond is a senior cell molecular biology major who’s been an RA for three years and currently works in Butterfield Hall. She decided to become an RA because she wanted to get more involved on campus.
“I decided to become an RA because my freshman year didn’t exactly go as I wanted it to,” said Raimond. “I kind of was lonely in my hall… but my parents pushed me to get involved more.”
Obiurka, a junior elementary education major, has been an RA for two years and currently works in Adams Hall. Obiurka had a similar experience as Raimond, which also made her want to become an RA.
“In high school, I was involved in everything and freshman year coming here I was like, ‘Oh this campus is so big, there’s nothing for me to do here,’” said Obiurka. “So then my RA was like ‘You would be a great RA, you should apply.’”
Both Raimond and Obiurka said that applying to become an RA was one of the best decisions they’ve made at URI. Holding an RA position has forced the two of them to grow as people.
“[Being an RA] just totally changed who I am as a person,” said Obiurka. “I’m so much happier now.”
Raimond’s favorite part about her job is that she gets to build communities with the people in her hall. The connections she has made have been impactful and she still talks to some of her former residents.
“I love to get to know my residents, my residents like to get to know me,” said Raimond. “It’s basically like building a big family community in your hall.”
Obiurka also enjoys the connections and the sense of community that comes with being an RA. Despite this, one of the most challenging parts of the job can be adapting to create these meaningful relationships.
Since the residence halls are split up by different living and learning communities (LLCs), the challenges faced by each group of students tend to be different. For RAs like Obiurka and Raimond, who’ve worked in two different buildings, changing their approaches to building communities can be difficult.
“Every year the new class that’s coming in is really different so our staff does kind of have to adapt,” said Kayla Mosko, assistant director of Residential Education. “What might work one year for an RA might not work the next just based on the certain students that they’re working with.”
In order to work through these challenges, it’s important for any RA to balance their responsibilities and stay organized. Obiurka said that keeping a planner is a great way for her to stay on top of her work.
“I literally have everything in my planner now because it’s not just like schoolwork and RA that I’m balancing,” said Obiurka. “I think it’s pretty manageable, I just think you need to take the time to figure out how you’re going to manage it.”
Raimond, Obiurka and Mosko encouraged anyone who’s interested in becoming an RA to apply online through eRezLife from Nov. 10 through Jan 5.