Katherine Marshall (SHA’07), who has been a resident assistant at BU for two years, talks to BU Today about her experience as an authority figure on the eighth floor at the Student Village.
BU Today: How has your time as an RA affected your experience at BU and your plans for the future?
Marshall: Being an RA has taught me a lot about responsibility. During an on-call shift I am responsible for 850 residents. You have to be available and ready to respond. Being late or lazy is unacceptable. These disciplines have translated into my personal life as well.
In general, what has it been like to be an RA?
Being an RA is certainly not what I originally expected — it’s better! I have experienced both the good and bad of the RA job, and I know I have made a real difference for a lot of residents. It’s a good feeling to know that I can help so many other students.
What do you enjoy most about your job and what is most difficult?
The most enjoyable part of my job is meeting and getting to know my residents. The most difficult part of being an RA, however, is documenting incidents and knowing that the residents could face disciplinary actions. Of course, I like the enjoyable parts better.
What are some of the other challenges?
For me, it is challenging to say no to residents. RAs are frequently faced with residents asking for exceptions for this reason or for that reason. It can be difficult to put your foot down and tell them, "Sorry, I can’t help. Those are the rules."
RAs have had to talk to their residents about the recent off-campus fires involving BU students, making sure they understand safety practices and information. How have you dealt with that?
One of my residents was affected by the recent losses due to the fires in off-campus housing. In my role as an RA, I felt it was best to give her privacy. After I felt she might be in better spirits, I addressed the situation in person to make sure she was getting along well and keeping up with school, work, and life.
Meghan Noé can be reached at email@example.com.