Lifestyle & Features

Being an RA During a Pandemic

: Residence Life Area Coordinator Sign
Residence Life Area Coordinator Sign

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way a lot of students go about their day to day lives. But what about the RAs? Carley Jenkins, an RA in Mobile Hall has worked as a resident assistant for three years and this year is certainly a different one. 

Jenkins began by describing how the allocation of jobs and the shortage of professional staff has affected everyday RAs. "This isn't COVID's fault but originally there's eleven positions for being an RA in our professional staff. My sophomore year four people held those eleven positions and my junior three people held those eleven positions, and then we've had two people quit in the middle of this COVID pandemic so now we have one person holding eleven positions." This has shifted the professional work onto the regular RAs, and they have to go on duty much more frequently.

There is a certain degree of caution resident assistants need to exercise to make sure they don't contract COVID while performing their RA duties. "I didn't really feel comfortable doing room checks since so many people our age are asymptomatic." Jenkins said "It's kind of a scary thing since no people either get tested because they don't sign up for the GuideSafe app so they don't get randomly selected or they're asymptomatic." 

Resident Assistants have also had to significantly alter the ways they interact with students. "Normally we can hold in person events but we can't this semester because we can't have large gatherings of people" Jenkins went on to elaborate that "it's been more us checking up on [people] through the phone."

Jenkins also shed some light on an issue affecting some students this semester. "There's definitely more scary situations happening with people's mental health. There's been a lot more mental health calls this semester than I've ever dealt with." Jenkins expresses her concerns about this stating that "there needs to be more mental health awareness on campus". Jenkins then states that resident assistants are here for us during this rough and to "feel free to reach out".

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