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Reflections as a Residence Life Assistant (RLA)

By AbdullahRLA 01 Aug 2022

Life as an RLA comes with a handful of benefits, many of which can be derived from the job description. Practically this can look very different for an individual when being in the role. This article is designed to share some of the highlights of what personal development/attributes a person can take away from their experience.

  1. Time management – Perhaps even an increase in productivity. The role is designed for you to schedule your timetable on a fortnightly basis, which directly makes you plan and think how you’d like your week to look ahead. I’ve considered allocating times for society work, University work and chill outs with friends whereas in the past it had been more off the cuff; where I’d go with the flow in deciding how to use my evenings. Once a person realises the finitude of time they have to use they can opt to fill it with things that are of maximal benefit. In some ways you can become a lot less lazy!
  2. Articulating your abilities – Whether it’s through interacting with students, brainstorming ideas for an event or putting pen to paper to design monthly content this job sets you up for honing your skillset. Taking the time to think over what to write and how to go about formulating thoughts into ideas of expression has been much of a delight. It’s something I hope to continue following the role. Whatever talent you possess (or lack) the job helps you to identify and work towards flourishing that skill. Conversely, you work on being versatile by event planning or using software to design posters. This adds to your own toolbox of transferrable skills.
  3. Fresh air with flatmates – It’s easy to get in a rut. One way to overcome this is being with like minded people doing activities that have an overarching purpose. As a flat you work collectively as RLAs supporting students on campus. This provides a focal point of communication and extends to sharing the highs and lows of the job with one another. Then comes the actual task of supporting students and working with the wider team. This gets you off your phone/procrastination and gives your mind a healthy onset on doing something entirely different to an average day.
  4. Being at the service of others -  I find that an aspect of contentment for everyone comes from doing something for another, even if that is a menial task. As a fellow student you can have an impact on others staying at residences; who may be going through a difficulty or just want to have a chat. It teaches you the importance of working as a team and gives practical benefits on an individual level from the impact you can have. Most laughs and fun moments shared at the end of a shift in the debrief are around a particular experience one of the RLAs had with a student and what impact it had on both the student and RLA. Interestingly it appears that by signing up to help others you are in actual fact helping yourself!
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