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RA gives insight into dorm life

By Tony Romain
On August 9, 2011

The semester is starting back and the time is approaching to move back into the dorms, or for some, to move into them for the first time.

It can be worrisome to wonder about having to deal with a roommate, someone you may have never even met before. Fortunately, there are Resident Assistants (RAs) stationed in rooms on each floor of the dormitory buildings and they are there to help students get accustomed to life on campus.

Senior kinesiology major Chris Kamm is an RA on the first floor of the Zachary Taylor dorms. He sat down with The Lion's Roar and gave some insight on what it is like to be an RA, and some helpful hints to dealing with dorm life.

The Lion's Roar: What are you required to do as an RA?

Chris Kamm: "As a Resident Assistant, on paper, I'm required to work student hours, do duty rounds and do paperwork. But, that's not what an RA is supposed to be. A Resident Assistant is supposed to be somebody that's the go-between between the residents and the school. And instead of taking it from a business perspective, a Resident Assistant needs to just stay on level with the student and try to help them out as best they can on a personal level."

Do you get any frequently asked questions from your residents?

"We always get asked to unlock rooms. Every week it happens. Another frequent question is ‘Can you tell my neighbor to be quiet?'"

 What are some tips for living with a roommate?

"Always talk. Never let anything build up to upset you. If you let it build up you're gonna flip out on each other and then it's probably too far gone to actually repair. So if something's tweaking you, go ahead and mention it to your roommate."

How do you, as an RA, deal with a disagreeable roommate?

"If the guy was just not willing to compromise in any way, shape or form, or contribute to coming to a resolution to the problem, I'd probably take him off to the side and talk to him myself.

Because sometimes it's not a good idea to have the RA and the two roommates in the same room because the two roommates might argue with each other instead of trying to come to a solution. So I'd try to talk to one of them at a time and see if I can get the different sides of the story and work things out."

What kinds of activities happen in the dorms?

"We're always gonna have dorm programs and things like that. This semester in Zachary Taylor, I have a projector so I'm going to be projecting video games and movies. For at least one dorm program last semester we had Slip and Slide and [Raising] Cane's and pretty much whatever the residents want. If they have an idea and they bring it to an RA, we'll do our best to facilitate."

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