Pronouns: He, Him, His
University: New York University
When do you plan to graduate? May 2021
Hometown / Place You Call Home: San Jose, CA
How long have you been an RA? Since Fall 2019
In Which Building? Paulette Goddard Residential College
Favorite thing about Goddard Hall: The residents!!! Goddard residents truly stand out -- they are driven, outgoing, creative, authentic, and incredibly supportive of one another. Goddard is the smallest residence hall on campus, and has an established focus on civic engagement and leadership. Because of this, the building truly does stand out in that it has an incredibly intimate, tight-knit environment. It's not a hall where people are anonymous, nor where people ignore their fellow residents. There is never an elevator ride in which I don't have someone to chat with, no hallway void of conversation, laughter, and kinship. Most residents know the majority of the other residents in the hall, and consequently, feel a strong sense of community and belonging.
Why did you apply for the resident assistant position? I knew since my very first month at NYU that I aspired to be an RA. As I studied away my entire sophomore year, I actually applied as a Freshman, with the wish of being hired for when I returned my junior year. I waited over a year before I heard the decision!! Despite the immense uncertainty, it was absolutely worth it -- Goddard had been, and always will be, my very first choice!!
What have you learned as an RA? Oh gosh -- so, so much! Foremost, it's taught me how to better structure and organize my life, to set my priorities and develop a productive daily routine. As the role is incredibly demanding, and RA's typically have a variety of other responsibilities outside the role (class, jobs, internships, clubs, etc), it demands that you learn how to effectively multitask and develop tangible plans for accomplishing your goals and responsibilities. Moreover, it makes you an effective event planner, communicator, and crisis manager -- you learn how to juggle a variety of challenging, time-consuming tasks that are never the same as the last.
But above all else, this role has emboldened my love for building community and supporting others. As both a friend, role model, and support system for your residents, it is your duty to ensure that they feel safe, included, and aware of all the resources necessary to their academic, professional, and personal well-being. Being able to help residents navigate the daily tribulations of the first year college experience has been beyond rewarding, and instilled in me patience, empathy, and allowed me to better reevaluate my own privileges and perspectives.
What keeps you motivated while in the position? To put it simply, I feel motivated in this RA role because I care about my residents. It is my utmost goal and passion to see that they all feel supported, and feel a true sense of belonging. Being able to see them grow throughout the school year, and better understand themselves as leaders, students, and individuals, is easily the most rewarding aspect of the role. Be it answering their random questions, watching their jaws drop as they see new NYC landmarks and consume iconic NYC foods, chatting it up with them late at night in the hallway, developing inside jokes, celebrating their various achievements and triumphs, every chance I get to brighten the day of my residents brings me so much joy. In every aspect of the role, I want to maximize the positive impact I have on my residents and further their growth.
What skills do you currently use in your life that you gained from being a resident assistant? This role effects my personal life and work in so many different ways. It has made more patient, more self-aware, and more cognizant of my behavior and the impact it has on others. It has made me more outgoing, more eager to foster relationships with people I meet, more passionate about building community. It has made me a better organizer and scheduler, and allowed me to take on a variety fo different positions and responsibilities at once. It allows me to be a better friend, a better colleague, and a better student. It has made me more eager to explore, to get outside, to find new adventures and sights which excite and entertain me and my friends. It has helped me better mitigate interpersonal conflicts, and to better confront issues I witness between my family, my friends, and others. It has allowed me to know when to take space and leave space. I can go on and on. It has most certainly been the most educational, influential experience in my time at NYU.
What is your favorite memory (so far) from being an RA? Every Sunday night, two of my residents would show up at my door, and help me decorate my whiteboard which advertises weekly events and programming. As someone with virtually no artistic talent, and truly abhorrent handwriting, I am beyond indebted to their skill and generosity. And one Sunday in December, I opened my door to find nearly half of my residents, who were all eager to help me decorate the floor for the holiday season. We spent nearly an hour adorning the hallway with streamers, fake snow flakes, and other seasonal decor, and spent the entire time listening to music, cracking jokes, and just chatting. It was here that I truly felt the power of the community which existed on my floor. I was so grateful for my amazing residents, and in awe at how thoughtful, caring, and closely knit that were.
But ugh!! I have so many more great memories!! These include bad movie nights (in which my residents and I watch a film "so bad it's good"), trekking out to Flushing, Queens for a Lunar New Banquet, leading a tour on mafia history in Little Italy, taking residents cheese sampling in the West Village, working with residents one-on-one to build their resumes and cover letters, seeing my floor win the building's "Clean Wars" (in which nearly half of my floor went out of their way to clean their rooms -- and earned us a free gelato party!!), picnicking with residents in Washington Square Park, taking them Kayaking on the Hudson, forming some of the best friendships of my life with fellow RAs, etc etc etc. Every day in the role has been so fun, so exciting, and so darn rewarding.
What advice would you give for current and/or future resident assistants? Live a balanced, healthy life!! Quite often, I see residents that are afraid of not doing enough, or on the contrary, doing too much that they don't know how to manage. As a first year student, there is so much opportunity, and so much uncertainty, that it may be easy to get in over your head or to feel nervous/insecure. So take your time -- try different things, challenge your perspectives, attempt to learn new skills. Not everything will stick, not everything will be your cup of tea, not every person you meet will be your best friend. But in time, the things which you enjoy and appreciate most will reveal themselves. So devote yourself to those things you really do care about -- there's no need to stretch yourself too thin by doing things that don't leave you happy or feeling fulfilled! Ask yourself -- is this what I want to be doing? Do I actually like this particular thing? Would I be more satisfied doing something else? And be honest in this self reflection, and the paths you take as a result. And always remember that your own physical and mental well being is the absolute priority!!
What are your goals after graduation? Golly, that's a tough one. I still feel like I'm in the phase of experimenting, finding the things I really wish to stick. But as of now, I hope to attend law school after my undergrad years -- whether this leads to a life in politics, entertainment, broadcasting, public relations, or something else entirely has yet to be determined. But regardless, I look forward to what the future may hold!
If current students or resident assistants want to connect with you, how can they find you? Friend me on Facebook! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org! Text me at 408-813-3441!! I'm always up for a chat, be it over the phone or in person!
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