Whether you are a freshman away from home for the first time or a senior preparing to graduate, college can be a perplexing experience bound to induce questions and worry. Due to this, California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB) provides students with Residential Advisors that help guide residents through whatever challenges they might endure during their time spent at CSUMB. The Lutrinae discussed what being a Residential Advisor actually entails with Leslie Gonzales, an RA from Area 2.
The Lutrinae: Tell me a little bit about yourself.
Gonzales: My name is Leslie Gonzalez. I’m double majoring in Collaborative Health and Human Services, as well as Spanish Language and Hispanic Cultures.
The Lutrinae: How long have you been an RA?
Gonzales: I have been an RA for one year and this will be my second year.
The Lutrinae: What is one fun fact about you?
Gonzales: I studied abroad twice and have been to 17 countries! I hope that I can live abroad after I graduate.
The Lutrinae: In your opinion, why do we have Resident Advisors?
Gonzales: I think that we have resident advisors for multiple reasons, but some of the big ones are creating community and creating a safe environment. We work really hard to connect residents to their neighbors and resources on and off campus for whatever they might be needing. We try to make CSUMB your home away from home.
The Lutrinae: What is the number one question that you are asked by students?
Gonzales: The number one thing that my residents ask me is, “Can you put in a work order?” It’s totally normal for things in the rooms not always be functioning to perfection, so we are here to help put in those requests when needed. I also get asked, “Is being an RA hard?” I would say that it can be time consuming, but it’s helped me become better at managing my time and has taught me skills that I know I can use as a professional.
The Lutrinae: What can Resident Advisors help me with?
Gonzales: We can help residents find resources on and off campus, learn life skills, put in work orders, create community programs and much more! If anyone ever has questions about anything, if they feel comfortable, they should ask their RA. We might not always have the answer, but we will work hard to find someone who does!
The Lutrinae: It’s day one and I can’t stand my roommates, what do I do?
Gonzales: I would recommend thinking critically about what it is that you can’t stand. If it’s something that maybe you can have a conversation with them about and come to an agreement, then definitely try that first. If that doesn’t seem like a possibility, there is a room transfer process which can be done. Residents should talk to their RAs in person about these situations if they feel comfortable.
The Lutrinae: I don’t know anyone but I want to meet people, can you help me?
Gonzales: Absolutely! We love to meet people as well and would be more than happy to help. We create programs to bring the community together, so try to attend them to get to meet your neighbors! If there is a program that you want to see happen in your area, your RA would love to hear those suggestions and work together to create those ideas.
The Lutrinae: What is a quick way to get in trouble?
Gonzales: The quickest way to get in trouble would be if you don’t know the community standards. For example, you might not know that candles are against a community standard. Take time to learn more about the community standards and don’t be afraid to ask questions to your RA.
The Lutrinae: How can I become an RA?
Gonzales: You can attend some of the information sessions happening throughout the semester! It’s also a good idea to join area council to learn more about what it’s like to program for residents and plan for your community. Feel free to ask your RA or anyone at the housing office to get more information.