Secret Life of an RA

So we’ve all probably heard of that weird acronym called “RA” before, right? Well, RA stands for Resident Assistant. RAs are older students who live in the residence halls and help new and continuing students become accustomed to campus. The RA also puts on events to build community among the floor of students.
Whether you are a current Berkeley student, or alumni of Berkeley, you will probably never forget your first RA’s name. Freshman year, I lived in Unit 3 Norton, and my RA’s name was Miki. I lived on an all-girl’s floor, so I’m sort of confused how a majority of my friends at Berkeley are male… but that’s beside the point. During my freshman year, I really loved meeting everyone on the floor and in my building. The residence hall was such an easy place to meet new people and make new friends because we all shared a communal bathroom together and had numerous lounges to hang out in. From game nights to birthday parties, we all became super close friends. Being an out-of-state student and not knowing anyone at Berkeley, I really appreciated the opportunity to meet a bunch of people, especially because I know I will be friends with them for life.
My entire experience in the residence hall my freshman year is why I wanted to be an RA. I was super interested in putting on events to help my residents build the same community and friendships that I was able to have my freshman year. This year, I am an RA at Clark Kerr Campus to 55 first-year students. I love all of my residents. Getting to know everyone’s interests, quirks, likes, and dislikes has been such a rewarding part of this experience. I truly feel like I can be friends with my residents after they move out of the hall at the end of the semester. Seeing these first-year students grow from a fresh-faced, just-out-of-high school student who may be experiencing freedom for the first time, to a more mature, studious student who is discovering their identities has been amazing to observe.
Being an RA and having all of these new experiences is a great talking point when meeting new people. Many friends usually ask if I have any crazy RA stories (I do) or they ask if I have ever written anybody up (I have). In addition to creating community and helping students adjust, the RA is also responsible for documenting residence hall policy violations. This job can be very stressful during emergency situations or just living in the residence hall in general and hearing students being loud in the hallways passed quiet hours. But, all of this is what makes the RA job truly unique: it is definitely a hands- on learning experience.
The RA is the mother bird and all of our residents are our little chicks. I’m going to be sad when my current residents move out at the end of the semester into other living situations, but I will be excited for the upcoming group of residents that I will get next fall!

Author: Rachel Lin

Hi y'all! My name is Rachel and I am a current second-year student studying Business Administration and Cognitive Science. I am originally from the great state of Maryland and I have a ton of Maryland and California spirit! In addition to being a Campus Ambassador, I am involved in the Associated Students of the University of California (ASUC), a Resident Assistant at Clark Kerr Campus, and am the Housing Chair for the 2018 PACURH Regional Business Conference. In my free time, I love watching the TV show Survivor, as well as shopping, hiking, and swimming. I was super nervous leaving my hometown to attend Cal, but I can truly say that I love it here! Go Bears!