Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Residence Life

One of the best things I've done at U.Va. was to become an RA. Oh no, another acronym!! But I'm sure this one you've heard before: a Residence Advisor. From movies and older-sibling stories, you've heard about the role that is played by a single student in every dorm (or floor or suite(s) or house). Whatever you've heard out there, here's from an actual RA:

Who are we?

Language Houses Staff 2009-2010

What do we do?
  • RA's help create a positive living and studying environment in the dorm
  • We solve issues, enforce policies, and refer our residents, when necessary, to the proper information
  • Serve as a role model for students and promote a community of trust and support
  • We support residents in their time of need (a shoulder to lean on, an ear to listen, a cookie to eat)
  • RA's host programs for residents to get to know each other, bond, and come out of their comfort zone
Why do we do it?
  • Because we love people (especially U.Va. students!)
  • Because we love the community feel of dorms
  • Because the free housing and meals can't be beat
  • Because the experience is one of the best you can have at U.Va.
Every RA has his/her own reasons for being an RA and each one brings something different to the program. This is why I applied to be an RA: the dedication of the people. This relatively small group of people is so passionate about the work that makes me proud to put "Resident Advisor" on my resume. We are all such a diverse group, no matter where on-Grounds you are placed, the experience will be unforgettable. I've learned more about interacting with people and hosting events from being an RA than from any other experience here. The friends I've made will last me a lifetime and the skills learned will follow me into any and every profession I choose.

Now, a little bit about my specific community. I am in the Russian House, which is on Ivy Rd., next to the International Residence College. The small house of 7 people (plus a professor and his wife in the separate, upstairs apartment) has made the residents a tight-knit group. We host a weekly event "Russian Tea and Conversation" where students and local residents meet to practice their Russian skills and learn more about Russian culture and each other. In addition, we host other events (both within the House and open to the community) to improve our language skills, start friendships, and learn more about each other. Having lived in the House for two years as the Resident Advisor, I've met many new people and learned more about myself than I thought was possible in such a short time period. The Russian House is the cherry on top of my U.Va. experience.

 The Russian House from our driveway

In short, I hope everyone has the experience I've had here! And maybe I'll see more RA's in the future (maybe some who've read this post!).

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