Residential Advisors (RAs) have been employed in MMU accommodation since 2014 and employ new teams year on year. Rosalyn, one of our RAs this academic year explains about the role below and how to apply…
The RA role
During my first term as a residential advisor, I found the role to be very rewarding. Although there have been ups and downs, overall it’s a great job and I’m looking forward to the rest of the year. One of the reasons I like being a residential advisor is that no two days are the same, which makes it difficult to sum the job up in one article, but I’m going to try! So here are the main duties of an RA…
Drop-in: Once or twice a week you will expected to run a drop-in session from 6pm-7pm. This session is for any of the students in your halls to come and talk to someone about any issues they may be having. The role of the RA is to listen to them, offer advice and help them to come to a solution.
Visits: At the start of the year you will be allocated a group of students which you will visit on a regular basis. After you have attended the drop-in session, you will go round and visit your students. The purpose of these visits is to build relationships with students, help them with any welfare problems, mediate disputes between flatmates and promote university services and events. After you’ve completed your visits for the evening, you will need to write a brief account of the conversations you’ve had with students and report any causes for concern to you co-ordinator.
On-call: After the drop-in session and visits, RAs are on call until 6am the following morning. This means you have to stay on site, but other than that you can carry on with what you would normally be doing, unless you get called out. Security will call RAs to assist with welfare issues if students need someone to talk to during the night.
Team meetings: Each week you will meet with the other RAs in your team to discuss how the RA role is going. This includes planning for future events, updating each other on what’s happened in the past week and helping each other solve problems. Working as part of a team is an essential part of the job, as it is really beneficial to talk to others about their experiences as an RA.
Training: Thorough training is provided for all RAs to prepare you for the job. As well as a full week of training before you start, there are training days throughout the year provided by members of the res life team and other professionals.
Events: RAs have the opportunity to be paid to take students to events, or plan their own events based on what their students are interested in. As well as individual events, each RA team also plans and puts on a team event each term.
My personal highlights
There have been many things I have enjoyed about the job so far, but here are my top 3 highlights from the past 4 months…
- Meeting and working with the other RAs: The training week at the Crewe campus was a great opportunity to get to know the people I would be working with for the next year. As well as learning a lot about the job, we also had lots of fun and I have made some really good friends!
- Our team event: Last term for our team event, we planned and put on a pub quiz at The Union. Although we had a last minute dilemma with our venue (which caused a lot of panic!), we managed to make some changes and the night turned out to be a massive success! I acted as quiz master, and despite it being a bit nerve-wracking to begin with, I really enjoyed myself and it was great to receive lots of positive feedback from the students that attended.
- Making relationships with students: Visiting and chatting to my students each week is definitely one of the highlights of being an RA. The majority of my students make me feel welcome and enjoy talking to me each week, and it’s really rewarding when you get the chance to help somebody and make a positive impact on their life, however big or small that may be.
Applying to become an RA
So hopefully I’ve provided a useful overview of what it’s like to be an RA, but for more information please click here. If you are considering applying to be an RA in 2016/2017, I would encourage you to do it! It’s a great way to enhance your CV, meet some great people and earn some extra money… all while doing a really fun and worthwhile job! The application form can be found here and it needs to be filled in and sent to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than 9am on Sunday 31st January 2016.
Thank you for reading and… GOOD LUCK!