By Nnamdi Egwuonwu, E23 Reporter

The job of an MU Residential Life staff member is no easy task. Whether your title is peer advisor, community advisor or leadership advisor, you’re expected to not only take care of your residents, but also to make sure the hall remains nice and intact.

As one can assume, this is no easy task, and many find that they can not handle the pressure of the job. The few that survive and exceed at their work have learned the tricks of the trade and have been able to develop some tips on how to not only survive, but enjoy, life as Residential Life staff.

For the sake of maintaining the job security of the five staff members interviewed, neither their name nor the hall in which they work will be disclosed. The tips they provide are still accurate, and due to the anonymity, genuine and authentic.

  1. Set ground rules

This seems to have been the piece of advice that all of them shared. It is absolutely essential to explain the expectations and guidelines you have for your residents at the beginning of the year.

“The first day I told everyone on my floor, ‘you all are in college, and I want you all to have fun and get the most out of your freshman year, but be responsible. Know the signs of alcohol poisoning and take care of each other. If you want to drink, go ahead, just not at [dorm]. If you want to smoke, go ahead- just not at [dorm],’ I told them that I will not under any circumstance clean up vomit, nor [excrement]. And I never ever had to.”

  1. Know how to manage your time

Residential Life expects all of its staff members to place commitment to their jobs at the top of their priorities. The job responsibilities come before any and all organizations you plan to take part in, any outings you plan with friends and occasionally schoolwork.

“Time management is essential, because Res Life likes to have meetings, and dealing with the meetings on top of classes, on top of… a hall event you’re planning, or FIG your teaching- it’s just a lot. There’s so many things. It takes up a lot of time where you could be doing a lot of other things. Don’t get me wrong. Sometimes the meetings are beneficial, but most times they’re unnecessary.”

  1. Carefully consider the type of residential advisor you want to be

Should you be the laid-back, funny RA who loves hanging out with the residents on their floor? What about the tough, by-the-book RA who’s determined to report any and all violations? These are questions the staff members say you really need to think about, as they can affect how the rest of your year plays out.

“You could be really strict and force them to respect you. Sometimes that really works out, but at the same time, sometimes if you’re friends with the residents they’ll still respect you and actually act better. No matter how you act, it’s best for [the RAs] and for [the residents] if you have a really good relationship.”

  1. Stay on your hall coordinator’s good side

Hall coordinators are essentially the people responsible for ensuring the hall remains afloat. They also are directly in charge of the Residential Life staff in their respective buildings. They have a lot of power and can fire you quicker than they hired you.

“Stay in a res hall with a lot of RAs so you can stay under the radar of your coordinator. Don’t ever get on their bad side, because they do play favorites sometimes. It’s really important, and beneficial, to have a good relationship with them.”

  1. Learn from the experience

Whether this is your first job or your fifth, there is always something new to learn from working. A majority of the RAs agreed that although the job is stressful, they all have gotten something out of it.

“You learn a lot from your residents, other staff members and from the experience as a whole. Listening to what everyone says is really beneficial, not only as a student staff member but in life. As much as it sucks to work on student staff and as annoying as it can be, you still learn a lot and grow from the position.”