It’s 10 p.m. on a school night. Most of you will probably be home, studying, or finishing a night with friends, but for a few students on campus, their night is just beginning. These students are on-call Resident Assistants (R.As).
Do, beep, do, beep, do, do, do….The phone is ringing and I’ve just begun my night on-call. I pick up and the voice on the other end says, “Hey, I’m locked out of my room.” I walk a few blocks in the rain to get to their building, the entire time my mind is on the fact that I still have to finish the last few pages of my essay due at 9 a.m. I let them in and then continue on my rounds, checking to make sure that all the doors are locked, nothing’s amiss. Ew! What did I just touch? One of the handles is covered in a semi-opaque, slimy, sticky substance. Suppressing my gag reflex, I head to the nearest office to find a sink and some hand sanitizer. I go back to clean up the mess and hope to never find out what I just touched. Something tells me I don’t want to know the answer.
The night goes pretty smoothly as I finish both sets of rounds. There’s the call I seem to get every week complaining about the upstairs neighbors, so I write another information report. All I hope for is no call from Campus Public Safety, as last time they called about a party with underage high schoolers, and the week before it ended up with somebody in the hospital. Those calls are always the worst. Finally, I fall asleep around 1 a.m., but it is of course too good to be true; the phone rings again at 4 a.m., waking me from a dead sleep. The alarm is set for 6:30 and I still have to finish that paper.