1) Interest in Position
Explain why you are interested in the RA position and what skills you possess that make you a good candidate for the position. My interest in a Resident Assistant position comes from my desire to help. I was born with a very strong sense of empathy and if I see that a person is struggling I do all that I can do to alleviate them. Whether it is a person with a learning disability who struggled in class to the “weirdo” in high school who just wanted a friend, I’ve been there for them. Nothing is more painful to me than seeing a person being mistreated, under respected or neglected and I do all I can to protect people from this. My goal is to make every person feel as if they have someone on their side, someone rooting for them and someone who cares about them.
To me, nothing is more rewarding than to be that someone’s “someone”. I believe that all people, no matter their pasts, deserve this. As a Resident Assistant, I feel that my helpful nature will be put to good use. I want to be there for students who need advice, who need a friend, who need help getting settled into their new lives. For many, the transition into college is not an easy one and I feel that as a Resident Assistant I can be of great support to any and all who need it. 2) Personal Management
If hired as a Resident Assistant, how will you balance the demands of being a student, meeting expectations of the position, and maintaining a social life? If offered the position, outside of academics, what time commitments would you have? If hired, I don’t see time management being a problem for me. I know my responsibilities as a student and an employee are a priority and I don’t mind making social sacrifices to meet expectations placed on me by a professor or an employer. I am self-disciplined and motivated and through these I am able to use my time in a proactive and productive way. I am very time-oriented and hate being late so I conduct myself in a way to assure that all my “have to’s” are met before my “want to’s”. To keep my life running smoothly, I like to keep a weekly “Priority List”.
My list consists of all the tasks I need to complete that week by order of their urgency. By keeping a schedule of what I need to accomplish I am able to optimize my time in a way so that I can fulfill my responsibilities in a timely manner. Even with my vigorous work-ethic, I do believe that personal and social time is a necessity as well. I do not fear that a commitment to being a Resident Assistant will hinder my personal and social obligations so greatly that it would deter my interest in the position. 3) Leadership
Talk about the importance of leading by example. Give an example of a role model in your life and why they are that person for you. Being the oldest of 3 daughters, I have always held the responsibility of setting a good example for my younger sisters. I believe that the way I can be most influential in impacting the way my sisters live their lives by showing them through actions how I chose to live mine. I chose to lead an exemplary life with the hope that in doing so my sisters will learn how to live theirs. Leading by example is one way of showing that actions speak louder than words. If I live admirably, then others will be more likely to follow my example so that is what I have always tried to do.
Growing up, my role model was my older cousin Brittany. Brittany was a “straight A” student, a member of The National Honor Society, a varsity member of her high school’s dive team, she was beautiful and fashionable, she had a really cute boyfriend, she was confident in her abilities, she had a million friends and a great relationship with her mother and father. People naturally flock to Brittany like a magnet. To me she could do nothing wrong. I thought that Brittany had known some magical secret to life that allowed her to reach such success in all aspects of her life. I purposefully chose to live like she did by being faithful to my obligations and by being friendly, open and honest. Looking back on the impact Brittany had on shaping my life, I hope to be that to someone else. By living my life intentionally, I hope that others will follow suit. 4) Community Development
What is the importance of community? Please talk about your experience with working with diverse groups of people and how you interact with others that are different from you in a community setting. Community is the difference between being and belonging. It is just too easy to just be a part of a group, but to feel like you belong to the group is far more meaningful. You can go to the meetings and know everyone’s names but none of that means anything if you don’t feel that you are a significant component in a group. To be a part of a community means that you are a part of group where inclusion, support and friendship are highly-regarded. The beauty about community is that everyone has their own gifts, talents, opinions and experiences to offer to it, therefore making each member valuable.
As a Resident Assistant, I intend to create an inclusive community in which each person is accepted and encouraged regardless of race, gender, religion, sexual-orientation or ability. By promoting diversity in my community, I hope that everyone gains a sense of belonging. In my community, I will have an open mind and tolerant attitude and will encourage my residents to do the same. Because understanding that no two residents are the same, I will conduct myself through equity. I will try to learn about my residents individually so if the ever require my help, I know how to successfully assist them. For example, I cannot assist an introvert the same way I would an extrovert and expect the same method to work on both. I understand that “one size doesn’t fit all” and I plan on being sensitive to individualism so my residents feel as comfortable as possible in their new community. 5) Creating Relationships
How do you plan to build personal relationships with all of your residents? (Please provide specific examples of ways you intend to do this). Why are these relationships important? Encouraging and establishing relationships with my residents will be my main priority if hired as a Resident Assistant. My greatest hope is that my residents will feel welcome to UNC. I believe that my residents will benefit very much from relationships with their fellow residents and with myself and my goal is to promote the formation of these relationships. By forming relationships with the people who live with and around them, my residents will have an enriched experience at UNC because they know they can always rely on their friends when life gets tough. If they become home-sick, if they need help studying, if they need someone to take their mind of their stresses these relationships will prove to be vital.
I wish that no matter what they are struggling with, my residents never feel alone but instead feel like they are a unique and important member of a community. I plan to have a monthly (or by-weekly) event called “Café RA” where my residents can meet and mingle with myself and their neighbors for a few hours on a Sunday morning over hot chocolate, coffee and breakfast goodies. I hope this will encourage my residents to form lasting relationships with myself and their neighbors that will help them feel like they belong. 6) Teamwork
Please talk about your experience with working in a team. Why is it important to work with others and how would you interact with your fellow staff members? My last job was at a preschool where I was employed as a Teacher’s Aide. I worked in Green Room with three teachers and two other aides. Green Room was one of five rooms in the facility and every room had their own set of teachers and aides. Teamwork was exercised every day by all staff members. Coordination, communication and support between the staff were crucial to its success. The school accommodated around 200 kids each day during the summer and the school was so small it could barely hold everyone. With so many kids and so little capacity, coordination between the rooms was a fragile balancing act. No one would do anything without getting consent from their fellow staffers to ensure that everyone’s needs were met.
In order to be a successful member of staff, you really needed to have a teamwork mentality. My experience at the preschool helped me acquire this. I learned the importance of communication for one, but I also learned what it means to be a member of a team. As a member of a team, everyone must have the same goal. Some members of the team may try to reach the goal in a way that you don’t agree with, but it doesn’t mean they are wrong. Sometimes a teammate must make sacrifices in order to benefit the wellbeing of the team and not because they know they will be compensated for it but because they know it is good for the collective good. Also I learned the importance of respect of teammates. All members of the team can reach their common goal if teammates were respectful and courteous to each other and never wavered in their mission. Teamwork is so, so important because alone we cannot do near as much as we could do when we work together.
7) Departmental Values
Look at the six values of the department of Housing & Residential Education. Please pick one and describe why it is important in the Resident Assistant position. If hired as a Resident Assistant, my priority will to promote an inclusive community. My transition into college was blissfully easy thanks to my wonderful Resident Assistant and my fellow residents. I immediately felt important and welcome. I fell in love with this university, and I give full credit to my community for that. Because of the friendly and inclusive community I was given, my experience at UNC was made perfect. I want more than anything for my future residents to have a similar experience. I wish they could see all the good that this place as to offer and I feel that I could really help them in finding it.
I genuinely care about my futures residents experiences here. I feel that a lot of times Resident Assistants get bad reputations because they focus too much of policy enforcing (which is a characteristic of the position that should not be overlooked, but should not be the focus). I feel that Resident Assistants have great potential to influence their resident’s lives and that cannot be put to good use if they are only concerned with whether or not their residents are following the rules. I plan on creating an environment of care, support, and mutual-respect. I believe it is though community building that my resident’s lives will be meaningfully influenced.