Going off to college is always a huge milestone in life and students are faced with new challenges every day. The Division of Student Affairs’ Department of Residence Life is striving to make living on campus a unique and positive experience. Through safe, sustainable, and state of the art facilities Residence Life provides numerous housing options to students, but they also provide a sense of community.
Michelle Alvarez a junior civil engineering major, not only found her community through living on campus, but is also striving to foster a sense of belonging for others as well. “I became a Resident Adviser (RA) for Mosher Hall, because of the RA I had my freshman year at Texas A&M University. We didn’t have much of a friendship for most of the year, but then during finals my first semester my family experienced several losses. My RA was the first person to realize I wasn’t alright and helped me to open up to others about needing support”, Alvarez said.
Resident Advisers or RA’s as they are more commonly referred to, can have such a profound impact on students’ lives. They dedicate their time and energy to helping their residents in a variety of different ways from simply teaching them how calculate GPA’s, to just being a friendly face they see in the hallway, and even providing support in times of difficulty. Alvarez had nothing but praise for the RA’s on campus by stating, “We really do have the best people. I can’t tell you how much of my experience at Texas A&M University has improved by being a part of residence life.”
There are few positions in an academic setting that are as multifaceted as those of a Resident Adviser. Having the opportunity to plan weekly programs for residents, build communication skills, cultivate administrative and organizational expertise, develop conflict resolution skills and so much more, make being an RA an extremely fulling experience. “I have a genuine interest in helping students,” Alvarez said, “I want to help students feel like they belong, that someone takes notice. Being an RA helps gives me the opportunity to act as a resource and to help create a supportive safe community for my residents.”
Being a student at Texas A&M University is a wonderful experience, but it is the personal interaction and support that makes a student successful. Michelle Alvarez’s passion for being an RA and devotion to the success of her residents shines brilliantly whenever she speaks about Residence Life. It is resources like Alvarez that create the largest and long lasting impact in the lives of students.
Written by: Courtney Rhodes