Few jobs during college can help you connect as closely to your school or provide as many benefits as a resident adviser. The resident adviser is a campus leader who creates a sense of community within the dorm and helps students make the best of their college experience. As a junior, I had the privilege of heading a floor of 24 sophomore girls. The relationships I developed and the experiences I had that year definitely made my college life richer.
Resident Advisers Get Paid
You won’t likely receive a paycheck from your school, but resident advisers do receive room-and-board kickbacks. During my junior year, my entire room-and-board fees were waived, which made my parents pretty happy. In addition, you can receive a complementary meal plan and other benefits. Talk to your residential life board at your college for more information on what you can earn as a resident adviser.
Being a Resident Adviser Shows Leadership
Many employers look for concrete evidence on your college resume that you are capable of being a leader in their organization. As a resident adviser, you will employ a number of skill sets that translate perfectly into your first job – organizational skills, creativity, problem-solving and personal communication. Many students often came to me for advice on personal and academic matters, for example, so I was able to help them figure out the best answers to their issues and steer them in the right direction. A few times, I had to step up and manage dorm disturbances on the fly, which showed my ability to calmly assess a situation and solve problems. I also held weekly meetings to address dorm issues and to provide entertaining study breaks and get-togethers. When it comes time for that first job interview, you will already have a number of great examples to show employers what you are made of.
Get to Know Your School Better
It felt great to do something unique on campus that very few people got to be a part of. I worked closely with other leaders on campus, interacted often with members of the faculty and staff, and participated in events that I would not otherwise have known or cared about. In addition, as a leader in my dorm, I communicated news and events to the students I managed, so I always knew what was happening on campus.
Enrich Your School Experience
I made an amazing group of friends by joining the residential adviser team. Although we had to come to school early and stay late, we spent quality time together making plans, hanging out and doing cool and interesting things on campus. It was an unforgettable time that helped me connect with other students on a whole new level and helped me get to know myself better in the process. It also helped me academically. Having a schedule and an important role to fulfill inspired me to get even more organized and to take advantage of the time I had to study, write and do projects. Sometimes a rigorous calendar can help you be even more industrious!
Next time you see your resident adviser, ask him or her about the job. They can share with you a typical day or week and give you valuable insight to help you consider joining. Even if you only participate for a semester or two, the resident adviser experience will add an extra, interesting dimension to your college life and help you prepare for the future.