When students first arrive at college and move into a residence hall, they usually have a few questions. To assist and help answer these questions, West Virginia University puts Resident Assistants in every dorm.
But the job and rewards of being an RA do not start nor stop there.
"I applied to become an RA because I’ve always had the goal to go through college without having to take out any loans," said RA Dan Niess. "This job allows me to get my education without having to (go) into debt, which is a lifesaver."
While there are many responsibilities of being an RA, Niess is happy he decided to pursue the position.
"The best part about being an RA is the sense of family among staff members… Everyone has each other’s back," Niess said.
The responsibilities of an RA include providing personal help and assistance to residents, promoting their growth and development and maintaining an orderly and reasonably quiet environment. Although these are not all of the jobs an RA must do, these are some of the most time-consuming tasks.
Students interested in becoming an RA have to start applying for the position roughly seven months before the fall semester even begins.
Before even applying, students must ensure they meet a few requirements. Requirements include being a full-time student and having "appropriate academic and residence hall student conduct records," according to http://wvu.edu.
If these minimum requirements are met, the student can then apply through an online application and submit multiple references from past or present employers.
Students are notified once Housing and Residence Life makes its decisions and can continue with the RA employment process.
The benefits of being an RA do not come easy, though. On top of managing a full class schedule and a personal life, RAs have to make time to assist and help students. Niess said the toughest part of being an RA is time management and being able to balance everything.
"As an RA we are still students, so having time for work, school, social life and being able to get enough sleep is a task in itself," Niess said.
Niess said he didn’t believe there was anything bad about being an RA, despite the job’s challenges.
"...Overall you come out of the experience with a lot more positives, and rarely are there any negatives," Niess said.
Even though there may be sleepless nights while being an RA, it is definitely rewarding, according to Niess.
"Being an RA so far has had its challenges, but overall (it) has given me skills that have made me more responsible, better with my time management, more accountable and overall a better person," said Niess. "It’s a great job to have while getting an education."