I’ve been up since seven today, running from the moment my feet hit the carpeted ground. I am spent. I am so happy. Common myth is that RAs (Resident Assistants) are either the no-nonsense, police-like, mostly despised individuals or the overly perky, frantically enthusiastic busybodies who work in the residence halls of colleges and universities the world over, but we know we are people who, in some ways, do the hardest job, of holding each other accountable. Some of us succeed, some of us do not. We try to build community. We try to make a place of brick and stone feel like home. We laugh, a lot. We love people. We make mistakes and we want to be better. This is only Day 2 of the full staff (there are eight more to go):
1. Three of us made a Walmart run, in which we had less than ten minutes to procure: shoelaces, water bottles, deodorant, assorted candies, a coffee maker with the necessary accoutrements, Koolaid, fruit snacks, Popsicles, sprinkles, a poster board, and a tub of vanilla/chocolate ice cream. At the checkout line we were very amused to find the cheap relief of Vagi-Care.
2. Today was color day, in which each staff wore a predetermined color. It was quite marvelous to see large groups of various green shirts walking around campus or the red table across from the purple table.
3. After a discussion about timeliness, where I expressed my expectation that staff members be punctual, I felt compelled to explain my own lateness to this particular meeting by telling 20 students who have never seen or met me before that I was late because, I’d needed to poop so badly that I almost didn’t make it to the bathroom.
4. During a team building activity that required students to move plastic balls from one bucket to another — without using their hands or arms — my staff decided that each person would hold a ball in their shirt, and then one person would lean them across the no-step zone, so the ball could tip in the bucket. Mind you, these are people who have known each other for hours. Men held women, men held men. Women held men, women held women.
5. My student leader created a scavenger hunt using Twitter. He made the staff follow our Twitter handle @HistoricNbrhd and then tweeted a clue about a location. At each location was an envelope that held a word. The first team that got the all words and figured out the phrase, would win a prize. I promised the students that the prize was worth the effort of running back and forth in our neighborhood. Some of them ran, some of them ran through academics buildings. Some of them stood. Some of them stood looking very bored. When the phrased turned out to be “Ice Cream Tonight @ Seven” — I could see the wind go out of their sails. Had they really started to sweat (or stood like walls) just for ice cream? No, sir. The winning team won one free duty pass.
6. After a long day of meetings, going from one room to another, and eating at the same dining hall for lunch and dinner, I expected the final meeting to be a complete bust. I ran through agenda items, hustled folks from activity to activity, ever mindful of the time. Finally, we did highs and lows, a way for each person to share one low and one high from their day. I was touched almost to tears when several staff members said the best part of their day was the meeting we were in, that just debriefing, laughing and goofing off as a staff was what made them happy.
7. The poop jokes have been endless. Also, I kind of started a war, a photo war, of which