Name: Vanessa Burggraff
Pronouns: She, Her, Hers
Hometown: Redfield, South Dakota
University: Saint Cloud State University
When were you an RA (add the years)? Sophomore and Junior Year, 2011-2013
In which building? Lawrence Hall
Favorite thing about Lawrence Hall: Half the students in the building were US citizens and half were International Students, so you were constantly learning about different cultures, eating different foods, learning how to say a random word in another language, or making friends from around the world.
Why did you apply for the resident assistant position? I was tired of working at retail jobs and I wanted to try something more educationally focused. I also wanted to stay on-campus for the convenience of being close to my classrooms, gym, food, and the library. I lived in an international dorm for two years while I was in high school, so when I learned about the Lawrence Hall international community I knew it would be a place that felt like home. All of those factors made it an easy decision to apply to be an RA.
What is your favorite memory from being an RA? The foodddddd...haha! Food did bring people together in the hall, but more than anything I will cherish the sense of community I felt while being an RA. There were events that I could share with my residents, such as cultural nights, games, or sporting events. I remember trying to support my residents by visiting or watching their presentations around campus if I could, and they would come and watch mine. Simple moments like all gathering in my room to watch Glee since I had space and a TV. I also knew that if I needed a shoulder to cry on or if someone needed to talk we had each other or they could come to my room.
What is one thing you would have done differently (while being an RA)? I wish I would have done more research on how to help college students in crisis. Honestly, sometimes I would dread picking up my phone past 10:00 pm because I just knew something bad had happened and I would have to go handle it. I never felt like I was calm enough to help people in serious crisis issues or I felt scared that I would forget procedures. I should have trusted myself more and had more confidence in myself because I really could help people as long as I had the right tools.
What have you done since graduating from college? During my Senior year of college I decided that I was going to work abroad in some capacity. I ended up moving to Taiwan and teaching English to elementary students of 4 years. By the time I left I had worked with preschool, kindergartners, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders. I became a supervisor for a year, so on top of teaching my classes I also mentored new English teachers, ran meetings, and scheduled/planned events. In between all of that I traveled around Asia.
What are you currently doing? Currently, I am an intern at an elementary school in Connecticut. I decided to officially get my teaching certificate and Masters in the US, so I moved back a year ago. I had never been to Connecticut, or much of the East coast, so the transition was quite different from Taiwan. I am in my second year of my Elementary Education Masters degree at Fairfield University. Between classes, studying, and work I try to get out and explore as much of New England as I can.
If current students or resident assistants want to connect with you, how can they find you? They can send me an email at email@example.com, find me on Facebook by Vanessa Burggraff, (my LinkedIn is not updated so don't look at that), or Instagram _vinnybee_ to follow my journey
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