Thursday, January 30, 2014

Resident Assistants and the Fordham Experience

This year is my first school year as a Resident Assistant in Walsh Hall. I’m a junior now but my desire to be an RA is rooted in my experiences in my freshmen residence hall. My RA created a program to go see “Hair” on Broadway. To be honest, I was very nervous going into my freshmen year. I was scared I wouldn’t make any new friends, and I missed my old ones from home. My RA’s program to the city alleviated much of my worry right at the start of the school year.  I got to eat great food, dance onstage in a really fantastic show and even meet some of my closest friends. This experience sparked an interest in being an RA that lasted until I applied during my sophomore year.

I wanted to be able to provide that kind of experience for other residents. However, when I was placed in Walsh Hall (a junior dorm) I realized that the residents needed a different style of programming. So I focused my programming last semester on career preparation. My most successful program last semester was a job interview prep workshop. I interned at a corporate communications company over the summer and brought in their top communications coach to offer one-on-one interview prep for the residents. We started by offering a homemade dinner to all the residents who attended while my boss made a general presentation on succeeding in job interviews.
Each student then had a one-on-one mock interview with my boss and got feedback on how they could improve. The program was so successful that I am holding another interview preparation program this semester. This philosophy of tailoring the RA job to your specific residents is something unique to Fordham. Instead of just putting on general programs that satisfy a list of requirements, Fordham RA’s are challenged to make every program mean something to their residents.

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