Meet Current and Former Resident Assistants

Meet Current and Former Resident Assistants

Meet Current and Former Resident AssistantsMeet Current and Former Resident Assistants

Meet Katherine Sam

Pronouns: She, Her, Hers

University: New York University

When do you plan to graduate? May 2020

Hometown / Place You Call Home: Redwood City, CA

How long have you been an RA? Since Fall 2018

In Which Building? Paulette Goddard Residential College

Favorite thing about Goddard Hall: I love how small Goddard is. I chose to live there as a first-year because I knew that the small, tight-knit community was exactly what I was looking for in college. The size really allows people to get to know each other and support one another. So when I had the chance to return there as an RA, I knew it was the building for me! 

Why did you apply for the resident assistant position? I applied to be an RA because I knew first-hand that the process of moving to New York City (often for the first time) could be overwhelming and incredibly daunting. I also knew that it could be difficult to find a sense of community in a school as large as NYU, and I personally didn’t feel at home right away. I felt this sense of responsibility to help first-years navigate that transition more easily in any way I could, knowing how challenging it could be. Being an RA seemed like a great way to make an impact and feel useful. 

What have you learned as an RA? Oof, a lot. Time management. How to stay calm under pressure. How to feel comfortable talking to strangers and make them comfortable with each other! It’s impossible to list it all. I think most importantly, I learned more about how to bring my full self into a leadership position. There are many stereotypes we go through college with about what an RA should look like, but that image doesn’t necessarily apply to me. So finding ways to still support my residents, but in my own way and on my own terms, is an invaluable lesson I’ve learned. I'm positive I'll continue to carry it with me too.

What keeps you motivated while in the position? Even in times when I feel bogged down and overrun with the workload of balancing RA things and schoolwork, I try to think back to the reason why I applied in the first place. During RA training, we watched a TED Talk about the “Golden Circle” which encouraged us to always keep that sense of “why” at the heart of everything we do. NYU’s Residential Life department is also very mission-oriented, so all of our programs that we do have learning goals and desired outcomes that (hopefully) align with our why. Returning to the why allows me to find a renewed sense of purpose, and that why is just to help my residents grow and thrive in any way I can.

What skills do you currently use in your life that you gained from being a resident assistant? Although I applied to be an RA because I wanted to help others, I think the RA role has actually helped me even more! I’ve never been the loudest person in the room, and I can at times feel intimidated in new spaces. However, becoming an RA has put me in situations that required me to not only advocate for my residents but also advocate for myself. From voicing concerns about trends I’d noticed in the Goddard community to serving on a committee to review the paraprofessional role, my experience as an RA gave me this safety net to try speaking my mind and making my voice heard in a way that I hadn’t gotten before. 

What is your favorite memory (so far) from being an RA? One of my favorite things about being an RA is the bond that forms within our teams. At Goddard especially, there’s only six RAs, so in both my years on the team, we’ve become close pretty quick! Last spring our team went together to NYU’s signature end-of-year dance, the Moonlight Ball, and then saw the midnight premiere of Avengers: Endgame. As a huge Marvel nerd, I knew this would be a life-changing movie regardless, but being able to share it with my Goddard family made it one of the best nights of my time in college without a doubt!

What advice would you give for current and/or future resident assistants? It sounds like such a cliché, but I would advise RAs to work to create their boundaries and know their limits as soon as they can. Living where you work presents strange and novel challenges that are unlike any other student leadership experience RAs often come in with. It was something I personally struggled with a lot my first year. Going into my returning year, I asked myself questions like: How much time will I spend on this role each day? At what time of day am I “on the clock"? Are there certain types of crises or challenges that I feel underprepared for or uncomfortable with? It was a tough learning curve my first year, but being able to answer these questions served me well in the end!

What are your goals after graduation? More school! My dad has accused me of wanting to be a professional student, but in reality I don’t feel quite done with school yet. I’ll be starting at NYU’s Wagner School of Public Service in the fall to earn a Masters of Public Administration in Public & Nonprofit Management & Policy (a long name!). I’m hoping to work in mental health in the nonprofit sector once I’m done with the program, but I feel so lucky to stay at NYU, which has really become a home to me. I’ll also be working as a Residential Life Assistant on the Leadership team within NYU’s Residential Life office, which I’m certain will present new challenges and opportunities for growth, but I’m eager to get started. 

If current students or resident assistants want to connect with you, how can they find you? Yes! Definitely! Here are my social media profiles:

Kat's Top 10

  1. Favorite place at NYU: Probably the balcony outside of Peet’s at Kimmel. They only really open it in the fall and spring, but when it’s a sunny day, I love sitting out there and reading for class. It’s so relaxing and always reminds me of California.
  2. Favorite place in NYC: This is tough. I’d say the Hudson River Park. It’s so beautiful, and I feel super relaxed anytime I’m near water. My friends and I always take long walks over there, and it never fails to make me smile. In the summers, they even do ballroom dancing on Sunday nights; I haven’t participated, but I love watching!
  3. Biggest accomplishment: Oh wow. I think juggling my whole senior year feels like a big accomplishment. Balancing writing my thesis with also taking the GRE and applying to grad school seemed so daunting at the start of the school year. But I’ve successfully jumped all the hurdles! So I’m very proud of the work I’ve done.
  4. Favorite Movie: When Harry Met Sally. It’s classic New York and always makes me laugh. My mom and I always watch it the night before I fly back to school and it really gets me in the NYC zone.
  5. Favorite Book: To Kill a Mockingbird, always! I’ve read it a couple times now, and I saw the play on Broadway last year. Brought me to tears, and it means something new to me every time I hear the story.
  6. Every NYU student should... Sneak up to the Rosenthal Pavilion on any weekday and do homework. I did this a ton my first-year, and there are these incredible views of the whole city, and it’s so quiet and peaceful with no one around. The view got to be a bit too distracting for me in the end, but it’s so worth it.
  7. Favorite Band/Artist: Janelle Monáe! Period!
  8. Favorite Color: Violet! (surprised?)
  9. Favorite NYU professor: Olivier Berthe, my French professor for a couple years who also helped advise me on my thesis. He's also a Faculty Fellow in Residence at NYU and all around a great human! 
  10. Favorite Snack: Either dried mango or popcorn– I consistently have both in my backpack at school.