December 22, 2020

Schooling at State Fair Community College has brought about many new opportunities for me, one being the opportunity to work as an RA for the campus apartments. You may be wondering, what even is an RA and what do they even do? An RA is a residential assistant, they work for the Director of Student Life, Charles Howell, in exchange for a housing and dining waiver (Basically, free housing and food). I wish I could outline specifically what we do, but to be quite honest, it changes from day to day; however, I can elaborate more on my experiences, especially taking on this role during a pandemic. 

My time as an RA didn’t begin with training, it began with a COVID-19 test. The morning after moving onto campus (RAs moved in before most other residents), every one of the RA’s loaded up and headed to Katy Trail to test for the virus that had affected our way of living from the moment it had emerged. Training began after that; however, according to Howell, it wasn’t training like we normally would go through. Instead, we read the guide to Residential Life, and met on zoom frequently, and worked on independent projects to prepare to open doors to residents. There were special new pandemic rules separate from the guide that we had to become acquainted with. These new rules are probably the ones that residents have given us the most trouble with to be quite honest. 

Once we got our test results back, we began going from apartment to apartment and room to room to evaluate what kind of condition it was in before new residents moved in. This is so that residents aren’t charged for damage that was there before they moved in. From there, we checked residents in. Residents had to be tested for coronavirus at the Residence Hall before moving in, as well as complete the required paperwork. 

After residents began moving in, each week from there on out began the rotation of RA’s being on call. One person for the Residence Hall, and another for the campus apartments. Being on call essentially consists of carrying a phone 24/7 so that residents can reach out with any emergencies or issues that may need to be addressed. Along with carrying this phone and being available to residents comes the task of making sure rules are being followed. While most residents have obliged, the transition to requiring masks and prohibiting outside guests is something that has been challenging. It’s important to remember that being an RA for the apartments may come with different experience than that of being an RA for the Residence Hall. 

These are people who I’m friends with and people I interact with daily. Having to constantly remind friends and classmates to abide by the rules tends to be something that causes a lot of strain on both parties. As an RA, you have to be someone who is friendly and kind, but also able to stand your ground when it comes to following rules. Everyone has their own expectation of how you should act, whether it be a friend who thinks you should ignore their disregard for rules, or a resident who thinks you should write up the entire apartment above them because they walk too loudly. Everyone expects something, and it can be difficult to cater to each individual’s needs. 

While this position seems like a piece of cake, it honestly isn’t. Nonetheless, I recommend that people give it a try should they have the opportunity. It really helps you grow as an individual, and not to mention, free housing and food. Yes, I’ve had to write up friends and learn how to walk this imaginary line, but it’s helped me drastically improve my conflict management skills. I used to be a doormat; however, working as an RA has helped me to step up and face whatever is thrown my way. I’ve learned to look at every side of an argument, and I wish I could go into further depth of exactly how it has influenced me; however, I feel as though it’s an experience that others simply need to face for themselves. So, if you’ll be at SFCC in 2021-2022, maybe apply to be an RA and see what happens. Applications open in January and are online at > Campus Life > Living On Campus ( The form will likely not be open until January 11th, 2021. It’s an experience that has helped me grow as an individual, and it may help you as well.


Written by Taylor Ireland.

About the Author
Hi, I’m Taylor! I’m a sophomore at State Fair Community College. I’m heavily involved around campus as a residential assistant for the Student Life apartments, TRiO President for the Fall 2020 Semester, an active participant in our school’s theatre, and a work study for Student Success! I’m around campus a lot; unfortunately, I don’t often have time to chat with everyone, so hopefully blogs about my experiences at SFCC will help to aid you into either getting back into the groove of things, or help you start a groove if you’re new!


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