Resident assistants (RA) are a fundamental part of being in college, especially in a school where most people stay on campus for all four years. These students are there to help regulate and maintain a healthy lifestyle for their peers.
Those who choose to be an RA have one of the most unique college experiences as they have access to both the student and administrative perspective of campus life. This is what many adults would call “work-life balance.” Another side of life that RAs may begin to understand is what it takes to be a mentor at a very young age.
Whether they are in Sears or Allen Hall, RAs can help their residents navigate life at college.
The advice they give is not only as someone who understands what being a student is, but also as a third party who can offer unbiased feedback.
Junior Haylie Douglas is an RA in Shores Hall and has been an RA for two years. Douglas said she wants to encourage students to take advantage of Harding’s opportunities and explore Searcy more in their first months.
“Something I see all freshmen doing that I wish they wouldn’t is not exploring Searcy enough,” Douglas said.
Junior Ethan Brazell, an Armstrong Hall RA, has been an RA since his second semester of freshman year. Brazell advised freshmen to use their first year at Harding as a chance to be by themselves and grow, without feeling the pressure to date. Along with that, he encouraged students to expand their friend groups and to not get too set on one group of people.
“This is definitely a personal opinion, but I believe your freshman year is a great time to really understand who you are as a person,” Brazell said. “Take time your freshman year to grow as a person and make new friends.”
It’s a common theme to see people spending their first few years at college as a time for personal development and as a time to remain super busy. Sophomore RA Peyton Sims speaks from personal experience when she recommends that people do both.
“Whenever I see girls in Cathcart [Hall], I always try to remind them to sleep and drink water,” Sims said. “I remember always being caught up in the next thing, activity or place — that I was always so worn out.”
This is Sims’ second semester as an RA in Cathcart, and she said she uses her position to remind residents to take care of their mental, physical and emotional health. After recently finishing her freshman year, Sims has a fresh perspective on what it is like. Similarly, Brazell said he looks back on advice given to him to mimic throughout his time in this role.
“Several years ago, I had a fellow RA give me the advice of living life with open hands,” Brazell said. “Having your hands wide open represents living your life open to Jesus and his guidance.”