I did not realize how much I would miss my staff until halfway through break when I was laying on my bed, watching Bones by myself. Suddenly I wanted to be back at school again, not in classes, but with my staff members. So when Sunday rolled around and I was able to get back to my wonderful hall, I was really happy and excited. Spring Training is a lot different from Fall training, as a returning RA it was less about procedure and the day to day running of the job, and more about personal development and how to become better RAs.
The first thing that happened was all the Senior RAs presented a skit, and it was hilarious. My senior Dustin was the host and I think that he did a great job! After him, we had a presentation about being an Exemplary Leader by one of our ADs.We were taught the acronym MICEE which stands for:
Model the Way
Inspire a Shared Vision
Challenge the Process
Enable Other to Act
Encourage the Heart
As an RA I am always hearing about how I need to be a leader and sometimes I don’t know what exactly I am doing to be one. And through this presentation I was able to have instructions as to how to be a better leader in my community.
Following the presentation our RDs had a the wonderful idea to do a living museum so that we could meet all of them and learn a little about them. I thought it was really cool because many times I find myself wondering which hall an RD is over and really not knowing who they are other than the fact that they were an RD. Through the living museum, I was able to meet almost all of our Professional Staff and begin the process of building meaningful relationships with them.
During lunch, the most interesting thing happened to me. A fellow RA that I had gotten to know earlier this year came up to me and said, “I have a feeling that you have a lot of good things to say, so you should just say it. I see myself in you a lot, and I can tell that you have so many things in your mind. I just want you to know it is okay to speak up.” I was super shocked because I had never told her about that particular insecurity that I had at all, and she was able to pull it out of thin air. It meant a lot to me that she would tell me about herself and her struggles in being an RA and finding her voice and my respect for her skyrocketed (not that it wasn’t though the roof already). I told her about my fears of confrontation and how I felt that I didn’t have anything new and/ or original to say to my staff during meetings and such. I also told her that I was afraid of offending people and having the things that I say cause my staff members to begin to resent me. She told me that I was only responsible for my words and reactions and if that in the case that I ever offended anyone, they should be grown enough to either address me about it or work through it.
My RD Kendra was the RD of the hall that my fellow RA came from, which would make Kendra happy knowing that we talk to each other. She is a wonderful RA and I’m so glad that we have been able to become friends.
After lunch we had several conference choices to choose to attend presented by the SRAs and some Professional Staff. I chose to go to the one that my SRA Dustin was presenting, and I’m glad that I did. We were separated into 3 groups and each given a shoe box of resources and instructed to build the tallest tower that we could. Some of us were given more tape or pencils or “bombs” than the others.
This activity was interesting because being a competitive person, and wanting to win all the things, my first instinct was to sabotage the other teams and make sure we built the tallest tower by waiting until the end to bomb whoever seemed to be making progress. The only issue was, we only had one bomb and a short piece of tape. So I thought, if two teams grouped together and shared our resources, we could overpower the other team and win. Sadly, I didn’t voice my opinion that much and followed the group in their decision making. One of my ideas that I did voice, and put into action, was to go to another group and agree not to bomb them if they would give us a supply of tape. This worked and we acquired enough tape to make it to the end of the challenge.
Unfortunately, we didn’t “win”. The two groups who were favored to win, my group and group 1, were both bombed by each other and group 2 swooped in for the win. However, I did learn a lot about team work and how our different halls can use the fact that we are different to our advantage to create something meaningful.
The next conference choice that I chose was designed to help me get being an RA onto my resume and how to remember the skills that I’ve acquired . The RD that presented this was amazing and I really learned a lot about how things that I think are the more mundane part of being an RA (writing incident reports, doing rounds, the paperwork behind programming) are things that if I word the correctly can boost my resume. This job offers a lot of transferable skills that can be used in every single profession, and I’m so glad that I have the chance to be a part of it.