“Wow Haley! Haven’t seen you all summer. How’s it going?”
I had taken the long way home back to my dorm, holding a large stack of community posters to decorate my halls, when I ran into an old friend from my first year in the dorms. We held a quick/friendly conversation in the middle of the street.
“I’m doing just fine what about you?”
“So what’s new with you? Where are you living this year?” he asked.
“Oh, I became an RA. I live in Stephen Epler now.”
That’s when the conversation changed. The street suddenly became silent. I felt a tiny shiver from his spontaneous speechlessness. With TV-series-like drama, he uttered the words, “Oh, an RA? …We’re enemies now.” And simply walked off into the night. No goodbyes were given. His girlfriend gave me a heinous stare before whipping her head around to join him.
It never hit me till walking home that Wednesday night. This is now my life. My name is Haley Heynderickx, and I decided to become a Resident Assistant (RA). I live on campus and try to build community in our residence halls. I introduce students to other students, listen to their problems, and try to make a difference in their lives. I am a good person. I go to school full time, record and play music around Portland, make time for my friends and, to top this off, work.
How am I supposed to feel like a normal student, though, when I have this “RA Sticker” permanently stapled to my forehead? Every day I make an effort to prove to the world that RA’s have feelings and emotions like normal human beings. Our jobs are not to “go and get you in trouble” when the opportunity arises. Our jobs are to keep the peace! We do not seek for drama. We just fix it when it arises.
Please on-campus readers, if you have any space in that Portland-loving heart of yours, take this desperate plea to respect us RA’s. We put time into those posters, don’t rip them down. We make time to get to know you, not annoy you. RA’s are friends, not fiends.