Alex Wilkes said living with underclassmen has both drawbacks and benefits.
During the underclassmen years at Saint Joseph’ University students are watched over by upperclassmen that hold the title of a Residential Assistant.
RA’s are expected to live in underclassmen housing alongside freshman and sophmores. Two seniors who take on the responsibility of being an RA, María Fernanda Medina and Alex Wilkes, express their feelings surrounding their experience in this position.
“I decided to become an RA once I realized this leadership role had such a huge impact on students and the community.” Medina said. She wanted to release some tension within the financial burden. She said she doesn’t feel too out of place by immersing herself in clubs and organizations but she is constantly longing for an off campus experience with her freshman year roommate who is one of her best friends.
Medina also said that she feels as if she is missing out on things as an upperclassman, and pushes herself everyday to put herself out there in order to avoid this.
Wilkes says living with underclassmen has its drawbacks and benefits. “It does sometimes get lonely being an RA because you don’t have a roommate like everyone else.” Wilkes said.
She often feels out of place with no one to talk to at the end of the day. Although she says being an RA is rewarding because she can see how her residents “grow and develop,” reinstating it is worth the drawbacks this position can take and are worth the relationships she builds with residents.
“What is great about residential life is that there are RAs of all different backgrounds, majors, and interests. Every RA is unique, and there is not a specific “type” of person you have to be in order to be an RA.” Wilkes said.
Every wing of every floor of every housing building has an RA specifically assigned to those underclassmen who reside there. The connections made between an RA and a first year or a sophomore are ones that can only be created by those who decide to take on the challenge.
Wilkes and Medina say that although it can be difficult at times, the positive aspects heavily outweigh the negative ones.