Residential Living 101: Unpacking Your RA!

You’re going to have questions, and your RA will be there to help you through.

Feb 25, 2022

by Colton Dawson '24
Student Life Content Specialist

As you know by now, moving to college is kind of a big deal. After all, it is your first official taste of adult independence in a new area surrounded by new people.

If that isn’t scary enough, most of you will be living in residence halls with a complete stranger as a roommate! Personally, that sounded like the title of a Goosebumps novel when I first thought of the idea! But, rest assured, it is far from ghouls, goblins, and weird puppets with way too much blush. Thanks to ZeeMee, an app you should download to help find future Mocs, and your Resident Advisor (RA), living with new individuals in a communal setting at Florida Southern is definitely a home away from home. But, enough intro, let’s dive into the details about who your RA is, and what they will be responsible for!

Residential Life

Who is your RA?

Your RA is a trained peer leader assigned to one hall per residential floor. RAs are employed by Community Living, a department here on campus that handles…well, community living. The best part is, your RA won’t be a middle aged man or woman living ‘Among Us’ (cue the flashbacks…), but rather a student themselves! This allows for a more personable connection between you and your RA, as they are navigating similar waters as you! Ultimately, your RA can be anyone you want them to be, from a loose acquaintance, to a best friend, or just simply a walking FAQ page and campus map!

What is your RA responsible for?

Aside from being a friendly face in your residential hall, your RA has a multitude of responsibilities that serve to benefit the living experience of both you and your neighbors. One of my favorite things to do as an RA is to create unique programs that offer free treats and trinkets,  as well as fun activities that bring you closer to your fellow residents. Other responsibilities include decorating the hall to make it feel less of a dorm and more of a Lisa Frank coloring book, and designing custom bulletin boards that offer motivational support as well as campus information! Shameless plug, but as of right now, my hall currently houses a four foot tall Infinity Gauntlet and a Spider-Man: No Way Home themed bulletin board (take that, Kevin Feige, respectfully though…I don’t want to get sued). However, decorations and friendships aside, your RA is also trained to uphold Community Living policies, FSC Cornerstone values, and to handle potential roommate conflicts on the rare chance they do occur. With these policies being enforced, your on-campus living experience is guaranteed to be centered around equality, respect, and safety.

When is your RA available?

Serving as your primary resource to problems in and out of the residential hall is a top priority to all RAs. However, RAs are not T-1000s, but full time students with varying levels of campus involvement and personal responsibilities. With that being said, your RA will almost always be available to you via GroupMe, and in person for Moc-Talks (small, casual check-ups that happen once a week). Of course, some availability will be different, and when your RA is free, they are always more than happy to hang out with you! In my experience, I’ve had game nights with my residents, movie marathons, and have even helped two of my residents start up dating profiles after planning their semester schedules! What can I say, I’m just a friendly jack of all trades!

Where can you find your RA?

Since your RA will be living in your hall, they should always tell you their room number. If for whatever reason they don’t, their doors are usually decorated with a plethora of small ‘door decs’ handmade decorations that fellow RAs make for them, and that your RA could make for you! Aside from your residency, if you have a similar major or minor to your RA, there is a high chance you’ll see them frequent the same parts of campus as you: your classrooms, buildings, and eateries!

Why do you have to have an RA?

Despite that first taste of college independence I spoke about earlier, you’re still new to college. You’re going to have questions, get lost, be a little shy, and even get homesick multiple times throughout your first year. This all may seem like such a sea of negative experiences, but that’s where your RA sails in to part those waves! Aside from having to enforce policy, I guarantee that above all, your RA wants to be your friend. They want to see you succeed during your time here whilst enjoying your home away from home!

How to become an RA?

After a semester’s worth of seeing your RA in action, you might think to yourself, “huh, seems cool! I want to do that!” Well, you’re in luck, RA applications typically open at the end of every fall semester. Fill out the application, ace your individual interview, score in your group interview, attend training, and boom, you’re walking in the same shoes that your RA was the year prior! I know so many of you would just excel at the position, and am looking forward to seeing all the greatness you do with the position!