RA Training: Day 10

Do you know what happens when you release 3 RA’s into Walmart with a massive shopping list?


Chaos happens.

This chaos doesn’t come from the fact that we weren’t prepared, because we were. We had a list of things we needed to buy. It was mostly because there was 3 of us shopping for events for potentially 500 people. Now, let’s be realistic here, not every resident is coming to every event. But how many of them do come depends on the type of event and a bunch of other factors. Each event has an estimated 20-100 residential attendance and we are planning for at least one event a day due to the fact that it is welcome week.

As one of the 3 select RA’s that went to Walmart for our building, I was able to help get some shopping done. One of the things that got me is that, I came from a small hall in comparison to the hall that I am in now. For us, a great event is one that has 20 residents tops, not 100. Due to that my perception was way off. For one of our events, I thought 50 bowls would be enough, because that’s more than any event that was hosted by my old hall (which I still love dearly) but I was told to bump it up to 200 bowls.

To add to the chaos that is Walmart, we were also on a time crunch because we were not the only RA’s shopping for Welcome Week activities for their halls either. Quite the contrary, it was our whole campus. That’s about 16 resident halls ( if I’m not mistaken, don’t quote me). So there’s also stress because in order to use petty cash, we all have to check out at the same time and follow a specific system and whatnot.

Going to Walmart with some of my staff was really fun. Like I’ve said many many times, my staff wonderful and I’m excited to make even more memories with them. I may or may not have ridden in a cart and taken an unneeded amount of selfies, but who’s keeping track?

After Walmart adventures it was time to finish decorating the hall with my Co-RA Nick and what not. While we didn’t finish everything, we got most of our things together. Our floor theme is really clever and I like it. Since we are on the 9th floor, our theme is “On Cloud 9” (insert applause here). I know so great. For door decs, we did hot air balloons and kites. I thought it worked out well because they were all gender neutral and pretty amazing to look at. For our floor, we made a bunch of hot air balloons in different sizes and patterns as well as clouds. Lots and lots of clouds. There’s also a couple of blimps and planes flying around the floor.

The highlight of the day was definitely Roll Call. Each staff has 5 minutes to preform a skit or something that introduces their staff and the hall. It’s really fun and low-key competitive. And by competitive I mean bragging rights and honor is on the line. For our Roll Call we did So You Think You Can RA, which was really fun. We had each floor be dance partners, our GRD and RD as well as one floor RA to be the judges and  we did our thing. At the end we did a quick group dance.

That was the plan.

Things didn’t exactly go that way.

We started off kinda strong. Kinda being the key word. There was just a bunch of technical difficulties along the way that impeded the total domination of my hall over the rest of the halls. The thing that got us off the most was the music. For some floors it started too late or too early. For other floors it didn’t play long enough or played for too long. The ultimate struggle of course was at the end when the wrong song came on for our finale.

The struggle was so real in that moment. Some of us tried to dance and play it off, the inner drill team girl in me was screaming to hold position and smile until the correct music played. Dustin, my SRA ripped his shirt (on purpose) and it was hilarious. It felt like forever, but it was probably just a minute or so that we stood there waiting. Finally our music came on and we tried to fix the damage that had been done with out sick dance moves (does anyone say sick (in a good way) anymore?).

After a winner had been chosen (shout-out to my old hall Arnold/Smith) it was dinner time! For the third or fourth time that week we had Mexican, and it was okay. I can’t really complain much because I’m a picky eater and I hate everything. The catch however was that we were getting in line in order of the most spirited staff. Anytime you introduce competition as well as food, you know things are going to get crazy.

In no time some of my staff members were standing on the table and being rambunctious. For a minute I was really concerned that someone would fall and hurt themselves. But alas, no injuries were sustained in the making of this small riot for food. Dinner conversations were fun and we knew that we had a lot to finish up as soon as we headed back to our res hall.

One of the “perks” (if you can even call it that) of having sickle cell anemia is that it’s a hidden disease. By hidden I mean that other than the fact that sometimes the whites of my eyes are a little  on the yellow side (or a lot, depending on many things) , there’s no indicator that I have a disease. I’m not missing a limb, or have any distinctive traits the way Down Syndrome has very apparent physical attributes.  Going into Roll Call, I could feel a crisis coming on, but I didn’t want to put a burden on my staff and have to change everything last minute. So I powered through and pretended like everything was fine. I performed and went on with the rest of the night normally, pushing the pain to the back of my mind.

I know it may not be the best thing to do, but I did it anyway. It kind of gets easier to ignore if you keep going for long enough. The worst part was when I had nothing to do for 10 or so minutes. That’s when all the pain that I had suppressed came over me like a tidal wave. Once again, I tried to play it off, but once I got to my room I couldn’t help but cry a little. Walking hurt, breathing hurt, anything that involved me moving hurt. I barely got a text out to my RD and Co-RA before crawling into my bed and trying to move as little as possible as I waited for my pain meds to kick in.

Usually when I have a crisis, I’m at home and my sister is there to keep me company and help distract me. But this time I was at school and I couldn’t help but feel completely alone. It sucked knowing that the rest of my staff was a couple of floors under me, going on with their life and I wasn’t a part of that. Shout-out to my RD and Co-RA for being understanding and all those good things, but I couldn’t not do anything for that long. It was either be alone and feel miserable, or be with my staff and feel miserable. I chose the later, and once I had the will power to make my way downstairs I was able to internally wallow in my pain while I being surrounded by my lovely staff members.




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