A day in the life of a Resident Assistant

Brently Pennington works as an R.A. for Cousins Hall at WT. Photo by Phoebe Sinclair.
Brently Pennington works as an R.A. for Cousins Hall at WT. Photo by Phoebe Sinclair.

Resident Assistants have a special responsibility that most people don’t get the chance to experience. They are required to take on certain tasks that involve interacting with fellow students that they wouldn’t have met otherwise. They represent a model for students at college campuses as someone that will always be there when no one else is.

Brently Pennington, a sophomore English Communication major, decided to represent WTAMU as a resident assistant for Cousins Hall. She gave insight to what a normal day looks like for an R.A.

“A day for an R.A. is always something new,” Pennington said. “It’s never the same. You could be helping a resident solve a conflict, or dealing with a fire drill or even planning programs for the hall. It’s definitely a job that is full of excitement and challenges. It allows you to truly experience the college life and get involved.”

Resident Assistants also have specific tasks they must accomplish during their time as an R.A.

“As an R.A. I have desk hours two days a week for residents to come talk to me if they need anything,” Pennington said. “I put up flyers, update and help with housing status.”

For Pennington, the responsibilities of an R.A. do not end when she goes to bed. The job calls for a 24/7 commitment.

“I also have night duty responsibilities. If there’s an emergency, I help handle those types of situations. You have to always be available and willing to help and be aware of your surroundings. If the toilet is blocked up, I report it. We also plan events for residents to get involved and make connections with other residents living in the halls.”

The process of becoming an R.A. requires a few different steps that students need to take before officially becoming a Resident Assistant.

“When the applications become available online, you will gather everything you need and turn it into residential living,” Emily Legrande, the assistant district coordinator for Cousins Hall, said. “Currently the only stipulations on applying for an R.A. position are that you have to be a full time student with at least a 2.5 G.P.A.,” Legrande said.

Interviews are then conducted to screen candidates and help observe their personalities. There are three interviews in the process, the second of which is conducted by the current R.A.’s that chose their top picks from the applications.

“Once you’ve been chosen from that round of interviews then the district coordinator and the assistant district coordinator get together to have interviews. From there, they will pick who gets the R.A. position. Usually it takes about a month to decide.”

Resident Assistants must possess certain qualities that make them suitable for the job, such as being personable, outgoing and passionate.

“I was the eldest of six kids, so being an R.A. makes WT a home for me,” Pennington said. “I missed this leadership position I had at home, so I decided to pursue being an R.A.”

Shelby Calderon, a senior Animal Science major, said her experience as a Resident Assistant at Cousins Hall led to great relationships with fellow students.

“You of course still have your normal class schedule and have to go to class, but you also have certain R.A. duties like desk hours,” Calderon said. “The most rewarding part of being an R.A. is building relationships with everyone, not just groups like you might have in high school.”

Not only does being an R.A. strengthen old friendships and build new ones, but it also helps the R.A. grow as an individual, according to Pennington.

“As a Resident Assistant it is your job to create a warm environment,” Pennington said. “I became an R.A. because I really wanted to meet people. I was always really shy so I thought having a job where I interacted with all kinds of people would help me overcome this and grow as a person.”