After every long break, my love for my residence hall and my staff increases, and this winter break was no exception. It was fantastic to see how we all meshed together in less than a minute after being away from each other for so long. I think it’s just the personalities of my staff members this year, but everyone seems to always be laughing and jokes are a constant. I know that I have been brought even more out of my shell and have become more extroverted than I am because of the people that I’m around.
Anyway, today was technically the second day of Spring Training, but because we have no new hires on our staff, none of us participated in yesterday’s training. Being hired mid-semester is rough. Not only are you getting significantly less training in the spring than you would in the fall, but you have to find your niche in a staff that has had months of bonding without you. You also have to recreate the community that another RA has made with your residents, and see if they will respond to you in a positive way. I know that for some people, it’s not a big deal, but for me, I know that if I didn’t have the solid foundation and time of Fall Training, I would be a hot mess. I don’t even think I could think of, and execute a proper floor theme in less than a week!
My staff members and I spent Monday working mostly on door decs and passives, as long as getting back into the grove of being RAs. We also spent a considerable amount of time thinking about our staff costume for Spirit Day, which we though was going to be today. We planned on matching face paint, what shirts to wear, and the whole nine yards only to find out that Spirit Day wasn’t the next day! It was fairly tragic because we didn’t figure it out until around midnight, and we had to scramble to plan for what today’s theme was, which was pop culture.
I went as the Kermit meme and had a piece of paper that said:
Me: Be a great RA
Also Me: What do you mean I have to leave my room?
It was fun to see all of my RA friends again as well. Being scattered across campus and over 20 halls means that I rarely see them unless we are at an RA function, randomly in passing, or if we have a class together. It is also wonderful to see the network that being an RA has provided me with. I have never had a lot of friends, but now because of my job and my department, I know that I can count on any of the people I’m friends with now to help me out in a time of need.
The first thing that we did was an ice breaker, and honestly telling 200 RA’s that they were going to participate in an ice breaker at 9 in the morning is definitely not the best thing to do. There was a lot of rolled eyes and groans. But the ice breaker turned out to be super fun! We were split into groups of 4 and had 5 minutes to write a list of songs that included the word love somewhere in it.
Afterwards the groups would sing/say the lyric and if another group sang/said the song already no one could repeat it. It got super intense, and y’all know that winning is my favorite thing. The song choices were so varied and everyone had a good laugh, that is until they were eliminated. My group was going strong until someone sang a song that we had already sang and basically eliminated ourselves. But I’ll probably try to use that ice breaker sometime!
The following presentation was logistics and information from the head of our department. Then we had a presentation about what to do in the case of an emergency such as an active shooter or weather.
The University Police Department presented, and Officer Otto was great and tried his hardest to keep us engaged and informed. There were times where the chatter got a little out of hand, but for the most part everything went okay. This information was the exact same as the one I received last year, but I tried to stay engaged and take notes because I had forgotten something. I’d rather be prepared than scared.
Lunch and dinner at our dinner hall was a LOT BETTER than last training. Honestly, the food at training last semester was atrocious. It was so gross, and even for people who weren’t as picky as eaters as I am had problems getting anything that wasn’t pizza down. Now, I don’t know why they decided to jib us like that, because the dinning halls usually have great food. But last training I swear I lost a pound or two because of that unsavory concoction that was called food.For dinner, we were graced with fried chicken, which I haven’t had in a long time and it was GLORIOUS. Everything was seasoned, and was cooked well. Dinner wasn’t made up of the lunch leftovers from earlier that day! I almost cried tears of joy.
All in all, the biggest difference for me as a returning RA for Spring Training is that I know more people and more information. This job really is a learn as you go type deal. Obviously we are given all of the tools that we need to be successful, but you won’t know in what capacity you can use those tools until you are in the situation. There’s a lot less personal pressure on me because I know that I’ve been through everything before. The real kicker is not letting myself become complacent and lazy in the job. But I don’t think that will be a problem for me.