Overworked, Underappreciated: Resident Assistants

As a student at North Dakota State, you’ve probably been in contact with a resident assistant, otherwise known as your local RA. As a student living in Niskanen Hall, I have had two RAs.

KAITLYN GRUBE | PHOTO COURTESY | Noor enjoys getting the opportunity to form a connection with her residents.

Over the course of last semester I noticed the RAs were always doing something. Like most people, I assumed they simply kept an eye on their assigned floors, put pictures up in the halls and mediated arguments between roommates. It became increasingly obvious I knew nothing about being an RA.

I interviewed Noor Abdelhamid, my old RA from Niskanen North.

Abdelhamid is 19 years old and one of the sweetest people I have ever met. One of her favorite parts of working as an RA is the deep connections she makes with her residents. She likes being able to be there for her residents when they need someone.

Abdelhamid has worked in this position since fall semester and plans to continue with the position next year as well.

The only thing Abdelhamid doesn’t like about working as an RA is when she has to do her rounds when it’s cold outside. Niskanen RAs are required to walk through the three buildings in the area: North, South and Middle. She liked the calm quiet, but the cold made it harder to go from one building to the other.

Working as an RA requires 20 hours of service a week. Ten of those hours are available hours where she works with her residents and helps respond to their needs. The other 10 hours are active hours, where time is spent in the office, responding to incidents and other administrative work.

The job comes with a lot of perks, the best of which is having a single room. Rooming contracts are also free, there is a free meal plan — although the RAs put in plenty of work to earn their free perks — and a small scholarship that increases with each year of work.

Additionally, RAs gain a lot of practical skills. It teaches students communication, leadership, time management and conflict resolution. It is also a good reference to put on applications.

As a last note, I asked Abdelhamid if she would recommend this job to anyone else.

“I would definitely recommend this job to others because I personally enjoy it very much and I value what I learn through it,” Abdelhamid said.

RAs put in a lot of time to improve your living experience at NDSU. The next time you talk to your RA, thank them for all they do.

The goal of this series is to draw attention to how much work goes into the university, work that largely happens behind the scenes.

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