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A typical day in the life of a resident adviser

With Residential Life staff applications due March 13, potential candidates may be weighing the decision about whether or not to take on the responsibility of an assistant resident adviser.
While the job requires a lot of time and personal commitment, resident advisor Dan Short admits the daily life of a Res Life staff member is not as crazy as some people think.
“To be completely honest, it is not dramatically different than the day of a student that is not a RA, nor is there a ‘typical’ day,” he said. “At first [the job] may seem overwhelming. However, a good amount of the position comes naturally to those that enjoy working with others.”
Although Short said the days are pretty typical for a college student, the responsibility that comes with the job is huge.
Prior to the semester beginning, Res Life staff return to campus for extensive training. For the fall semester, staff is asked to come a full week in advance, while in the winter they are asked to come five days in advance. The training educates RAs and ARAs on policies and procedures with help from Bradley administration and faculty members.
However, it’s not all responsibility, lectures and training, Short said. 
“Training is much more than procedural knowledge. It is a chance to create lasting relationships with others,” Short said. “Frequently during training, staff members will participate in a wide variety of team building exercises such as scavenger hunts and camping trips. Many staff members will describe this week of training as one of the best memories of staff, simply because the activities and games have helped them get to know their fellow staff members.”
It is in this week that Res Life members are able to get to know each other outside of the job of managing a floor of students. Short said this week is critical to the job because it helps to create a supportive organization members can turn to throughout the year.
The job, Short said, takes a lot of time and effort, but it can be done. With meetings, office hours, floor programs and keeping up student duties, time can sometimes slip away. However, what really matters the most are the relationships ARAs and RAs must establish with the students on their floors.
“Creating relationships can happen as easy as speaking with someone in the hallway,” Short said. “An ideal candidate has exceptional communication skills.”
Students interested in the ARA position for next semester can get applications from the Res Life Web site, www.bradley.edu/housing/rlssite. The applications can be turned into Sisson Hall 111 by March 13 for consideration, and the candidates will then be invited back for a maximum of three interviews.
Short said anyone who feels they can handle the responsibilities of the job should look into applying.
“There is no specific type of person that Res Life looks for,” he said. “As the residents in the halls are so diverse, it is important that the incoming ARAs are equally as diverse to appear to all of the different people that they may work with. However, there are some qualities that are valued in applicants such as leadership, the ability to effectively manage their time, and exceptional communication skills.”
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