RAs: Does the School do Enough to Compensate Them?

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Ricky Rodriguez , Contributing Writer

 

College is about living, about loving, and of course, laughing. College is about intentionally engaging with the world around you, especially the people that bring out the best in you. College is about discovering who you are and building a foundation strong enough to support you on the journey to becoming who you want to be. All these things, this idea of an amazing experience, is not attainable nor does it come easy to all people. 

Understanding that the college experience — especially at Bucknell — is one big nuance is integral in becoming more aware of the extra work and extra time certain students have to put in just to survive (on this campus). 

I think a lot about the experiences of RAs and JFs on this campus and the sacrifices many disadvantaged student leaders make in order to build a network from scratch and prove to the world they’re nowhere near mediocre. 

The RA position is challenging in many ways. It pushes people to find ways to be respected leaders within a group of peers; it bestows a certain level of responsibility that often means being an (unpopular) enforcer; it places people in situations where they interact and have to deal with very very very rude people, among many other things. 

My personal experience as an RA follows much of the aforementioned.  However, I’m truly grateful for the support of my dope friends and supervisors that motivated me to push boundaries and create meaningful relationships with intention. 

As a current Lead RA, however, I do my best to not gaslight the group of RAs I’m overseeing and try to be as real and transparent as possible when discussing their experiences and overall feelings. There are some truly disrespectful people on this campus that do the absolute most when it comes to causing unnecessary messes RAs have to clean up. 

Not to mention, many RAs come from low-income backgrounds and have no other choice but to become an RA in order to relieve a financial burden from their shoulders. Additionally, a large number of RAs are BIPOC and represent the MOST marginalized groups on campus and endure double the microaggressions when compared to other student leaders.

Whether it’s through the establishment of respect for others/community expectations from the start of orientation or the implementation of real consequences for spoiled little kids that know a slap on their wrist is the worst that can happen to them, the university administration needs to do more when it comes to acknowledging the root of entitlement many people on this campus feel when it comes to wreaking havoc. 

I hope university officials are able to realize the vital role RAs play and the many hats student leaders within this position put on in order for this campus community to function as well as it does. Whether it’s peer support, resource referrers, or simply people that put a smile on their residents’ faces and make their days better – RAs do it all and I’m more than proud to be part of such an amazing community that goes unrecognized every single day. 

So…yeah, admin. Up the semester honorariums. Throw some pizza parties. Give RAs the same energy you give other student groups that do the bare minimum. We all know who I’m talking about. 

With love, 

Ricky Rodriguez <3

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