Life of an “RA” : Maintaining Enthusiasm

Note: You know what’s funny? I make a bunch of drafts of the different posts that I might want to cover. These drafts may sit in my queue for weeks until I’m ready to work on them. When I go back and review them, it seems like my life at that time is just what I need to write that post. This week it’s maintaining enthusiasm.

Photo credit: UCFFool (Flickr)

Photo credit: UCFFool (Flickr)

One of the challenges I’ve been battling lately is maintaining the level of excitement I had in August. Part of it is because I’m physically tired. Another part of it is because less and less people are coming to our events because they’re tired and busy with their own classes. Yet another part is because the rest of the staff is getting irritable, which is really taking a tole on me.

How do you combat this? I’ve found that by actually typing this question, I’m forced to think about it more than I would if I were just thinking random thoughts throughout my day. I’m trying to be productive for myself but also for other “RAs” out there. Of course there’s the ever popular “take a nap” answer. Sometimes I’ll spend time with my guinea pigs and involuntarily take a nap. Sometimes I watch a movie. But all of this is relaxing.

If I really wanted to get more enthusiastic about my job and what I do, I think the only solution is to delve deeper into what I’m supposed to be doing. Make events that are really interesting and interactive. For example, on Thursday my community is having an event where we’re going to show our residents how to properly interview. We’ve made different advertisements than we normally do, as you can see below.

Video credit: potc4ev (YouTube)

Thanksgiving break is right around the corner. Personally, I’ve been counting down the days until this coming Friday for the past two months. No joke. A break is definitely needed to maintain, and even increase, enthusiasm, which is what I think I was trying to get at earlier. You have to be rested and relaxed in order to be excited….at least I do. You have to remember that you’re setting an example for your residents and the other staff members you work with. You have to remember that your work life and your actual life are separate and that you’re not expected to do everything all the time for your job. Maybe we’ll talk about that next week.

Life of an “RA” : Top 10 Questions You Get Asked

I just want to start this post off by saying that there are no stupid questions. I say this because there really aren’t stupid questions…and if there are…. I probably ask a lot of them. 

Welcome back, readers. Being an “RA” I’m sure you assume I get asked a lot of questions. Ding. Ding. Ding. I do! Here is a list of the top 10 questions I hear the most. 

  1. Is this meeting mandatory? Yes, I put “mandatory” in the e-mail for a reason. There’s a lot of important information that you need to hear before you can leave for your breaks.
  2. Where’s the free food? Er, well, most of the events we host throughout the hall have food. We’re not trying to lure you into our events with food, buuuuuuut we secretly are. Also, finals week, oh boy are you gonna love all the free goodies we’re going to buy for you. 
  3. Something in my room is broken can you fix it? I wouldn’t trust my handyman skills, bud. You’re going to have to submit a maintenance request. 
  4. How do I submit a maintenance request? Go to reslife.missouri.edu, along the left side (7th box down) there will be a box that says “maintenance requests.” Click it. It takes you to this new page, which you should read because it’s the instructions for how to fill the form out, but I honestly always ignore it. See the second box on the left, the one that says “request work?” Click it. This is the form in 
  5. I’m locked out, can you swipe me into my room with the master? Yes, technically I can but there’s this wonderful little form you have to fill out which lets you know that you’re still going to get the $10 charge for the temporary card whether you get one at the kiosk or I swipe you in with the master key. 
  6. [After being involved in an information report] What’s going to happen to me? You will die in seven days. I’m going to write a very detailed and unbias report of everything that just happened. Scott Bosley, the Hatch Hall Coordinator, will read this report and start the conduct process. After that point, I have no idea what happens because after I write the information report I am no longer involved in the process.
  7. What are we doing for Family Night? Guys, I’ve told you: we do what you want to do. [Normally, they’re very perplexed by this.] My question for you is, what do you want to do? Watch movies? Go play Bingo? Roller skating? We have money and we can always ask for more money from hall government.
  8. Can I quit college now? No. You can do it! [Insert life story about paying for own college and car and being a first generation graduate.] If I can do it, you can do it! If you need resources, let me help.
  9. What are “quiet hours?” When you’re supposed to be in bed, you night owl. Just kidding, but really. It’s when we’re supposed to be respectful of the fact that other residents are trying to study or sleep.
  10. Can I get a study buck? Are you studying? “No.” Then no. They’re called study bucks for a reason, goofball. 

**Note: these questions were not in order of frequently asked, they’re just in order of how I thought of them. 

Life of an “RA” : Homecoming Revisited

Photo credit: KOMUnews (flickr)

Photo credit: KOMUnews (flickr)

As promised, this week’s blog is going to be a continuation of last week’s Life of an “RA” : Homecoming.

First of all, it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought–probably because we lost (by a field goal at that!). At one point I actually thought that the phone was broken and that I had missed all of the calls. (Apparently the other staff have been having this problem but, in general, I’m pretty paranoid when I’m on call.)

As I said in the post last week, part of being on-call includes going on rounds at 8pm, 11pm and 1 am. My on-call partner and I decided it would be a good idea to wait until 1:30 to go on our last round, just in case there were residents that were looking to avoid us. (I know, we’re so sneaky.) I didn’t have a problem with this decision since we were watching Mean Girls with a lot of the other staff members.–I find it easier to stay up when you’re in larger groups…I’m not sure why, but I do.

My first call of the night happened at 1:55am (I know because we have to record them). Noise violation. That’s no big deal: you just go up to the room, knock on the door and tell them to settle down. Next call–2:20am…from one of my coworkers. (Really?!?) Alcohol. Now, that’s a little bit of a trickier situation that I can’t delve into details about but, long story short, I was up until around 4am writing and information report because the other staff member didn’t want to handle the situation himself when he was fully able.

So, whatever, the whole situation was over. BED. NOW! As soon as I get all situation and comfortable the phone rings again. Another noise violation. Go up, check it out–it’s completely quiet.

All in all, there’s nothing to fear. You realize that all the training you had in August was worth it. You realize that you didn’t forget everything like you thought you would since you’ve never had anyone actually call the phone when you’re on-call. You realize that sleep, even though it turns into extended naps sometimes, is a wonderful thing.

…Now to conquer being on-call for Halloween. Wish me luck!

Life of an “RA” : Homecoming

Photo credit: KOMUnews (flickr)

Photo credit: KOMUnews (flickr)

Guess what? (No, not chicken butt!) Mizzou’s 102nd Homecoming is this Saturday, October 26, 2013! If you’re a Mizzou fan you already know this and are super excited because this season we’ve been kicking butt and taking names! If you’re a ResLife staff member on-call this Saturday, you’re dreading it. I fall into both categories this week.

The way I see it, as I see everything else, there are a bunch of pros and cons. At a glance the pros would be:

Photo credit: Anselmus (openclipart)

Photo credit: Anselmus (openclipart)

  • I saved the majority of the Hatch staff from doing this shift (which is a “thank you” gesture for helping me rearrange my on-call shifts to accommodate my travels back to St. Louis to support my sister through the birth of my nephew)
  • I won’t be the ONLY one on-call (because Homecoming is on a Saturday night, there will be a secondary on-call person to help me)
  • The football game is at 6pm (so I’ll get some quiet time…at least for my first round)

In all honesty, since this is my first (and last) Homecoming as a student staff member I’m not quite sure what to expect.

Photo credit: raemi (openclipart)

Photo credit: raemi (openclipart)

Right now I’m assuming that I’ve made a mountain out of a molehill but it might be justified. The cons at the top of my list are:

  • On top of being Homecoming day, it’s also a Saturday (AKA, a lot of residents will tailgate, go to the game, come back, pre-game, and then go out)
  • I am expected to do three rounds at 8pm, 11pm, and 1am (normally I have trouble staying up till midnight)
  • I don’t really have time for dinner (I have to work at the front desk until it’s almost time to be on-call)

In next week’s blog I’ll post about how it went. Wish me luck!

P.S.- Gooooooo Tigers!! M-I-Z

Final Project Update 6

I think this is the last project update that I have to do since next Friday is stop day and there won’t be any classes. Yay! (I really should continue blogging though.)

This week was another productive week. I know I said I was going to edit the photos that I took of John and start writing the text story, but that didn’t get done. At least I’m honest. Lol. What I DID do though was set up an audio/video interview with Fred (the man that DOES use technology a lot). I was having some ethical dilemmas because I wanted to shoot photographs but it would have been falsifying information if Fred didn’t go out on a regular basis with his laptop. I asked him about it (before telling him about the problem) and he said he does go out and about. Thank goodness! I feel that have the part of being a journalist is getting lucky with who you meet and how things actually go down.

I’m also scheduled to do an audio interview with John tomorrow (Saturday) at 2 pm.  Hopefully it goes better than the first time! Maybe I’ll also be able to do some editing while I’m at work (since I just work at the front desk of one of the residence halls).

Final Project Update 5

Hello again!

All the time I took doing nothing I’ve made up for this week. Although the first part of my week was very busy I managed to fit in an interview with John, the man with little/no technology. Originally the plan was to do an audio interview and take photographs but I hadn’t reserved an audio recorder that I was familiar with so that didn’t really work out. I did go to the Journalism library and check out a recorder but it was very old school, and, like I said, I had no idea how to properly use it (ie, change my levels so I would have good quality). I got some good photographs, but I feel like I need to go back for more because it quickly turned into “and take a picture of this…and this” and that’s not going to work for my multimedia project. I’ll probably go back next Wednesday and see if I can’t have some good audio and take some more pictures.

Yesterday I was at Dobbs (the dining hall at Mizzou, not the tire place) and one of the employees that makes the omelets (Fred) and I were talking. Since I used to work there I know the employees and since I see Fred every day I’ve developed rapport with him. ANYWAY, I asked him if he’d be interested in helping me with this project (because I know he just recent got an iPhone 5 so he’s obviously keeping up with technology). He said he’d talk to his wife and get back to me on it but he really wanted to help. Today I talked with Fred again and told him specifically what I was looking for and how he could help me. He agreed and said that his only concern was that his family has accumulated a lot of clutter throughout the years and it would be better if we could go to another location for the project. If this other location is somewhere else that he normally goes I don’t see it being a problem and I told him that and gave him my cell phone number so he could contact me with a time that would be good for us to meet up.

While I wait on the other half of my project to get started I can start writing my news story for this project, edit the photos of John that will work, and RESERVE THE PROPER AUDIO RECORDERS! (Lol.)

Final Project Update 4

So, I was productive at the beginning of the week. I’ve scheduled times to go to the Daniel Boone Regional Library to attend a few technology information courses. I got the contact information for the woman in charge of scheduling the classes. I had planned on going to visit John, the man who uses NO technology, yesterday but I was unaware if he worked or was retired. After talking with Alyssa I believe that he’s retired so I’m going to try to fit in a visit during this weekend (even though I’m going to be very booked).

I might have to skip a couple of my EPJ classes in order to get this project done. It shouldn’t really be that big of a deal since we’re just working on our websites and I’ve already finished mine (except for where my multimedia project is going to go). Feel free to view my website! I’d love to hear your comments.

If for some reason I can’t find an elderly person taking technology classes at the library I’m sure I could find one at Paquin Towers (where John lives). I know that’s probably a random thought but I was just thinking about worst case scenarios and that was one of them. I know I procrastinated a lot on getting this project started but I don’t feel like I’ll need that much time to do it; I feel like I’ll still be able to turn the project in on time.