Multimedia: A day in the life of an RA

Sammie Paine walks down the second floor of Woldt Hall. She spots an open door and walks in with a big grin to greet the residents. They welcome her in and she asks them how their day is going. Paine has always been an open and friendly person. These characteristics combined with a genuine interest in meeting people she feels make her a great resident assistant at Central Michigan University.

Video by Tanya Moutzalias

Paine is a junior at Central and this is her first year as an RA. The previous two years she lived in the Health Professions Residential College in Emmons Hall.

“I had really great RAs in Emmons, which is partly why I became an RA,” Paine said. “They were good examples to follow.”

Paine said she likes the idea of building a community with others. She wants her floor to be involved in campus and dorm activities.

“Everyone on my floor is really friendly and willing to get involved,” Paine said.

Earlier in the semester her floor competed in an “Open Door War” where residents leave their doors open to receive points for being social. The students who open their door the most get the most points, and win the war. She was pleased to see that everyone on her floor participated in the activity.

Paine’s door is always open to encourage students to stop by if they have problems or if they just want to say hello.

“An RA cannot be a person who sits in their room with the door closed all the time,” Paine said.

Being a good resource for the residents is also an important aspect of her job. She helps her residents with roommate issues, personal issues and problems with classes. If Paine is unable to help them, she knows how to point them in the right direction.

Some of her duties include planning an educational or social program for the floor and a hall program once a semester. She is also on duty certain nights of the week to go around to each room on the floor to get to know residents.

Paine has planned a social activity for the semester called “A Hunt for Sundays,” which is similar to a scavenger hunt. Participants get a list of questions about campus and the Woldt Hall staff. They are given an ice cream topping for every question they answer. At the end of the activity the floor comes together for an ice-cream social.

However, an RA position does not come without challenges. Paine said one of her biggest challenges is time management.

“When it comes to managing time, my planner is like my best friend,” Paine said.

Managing her time involves knowing when she has to put on a program and when to put up her bulletin boards. On top of her RA duties, she has to do schoolwork and find time to hang out with her friends.

“I make sure everything is planned in advance so I don’t get behind,” Paine said. “The more experienced RAs in Woldt are also willing to help if I need it.”

Stacey Mikowski, Paine’s roommate, notices how dedicated she is to the RA position.

“Sammie is hard-working and perfect for the job,” Mikowski said. “There are always people knocking on the door asking for her for various reasons. Sammie is down to earth, relaxed and easy to talk to which makes it easy for the residents to come to her for help. She does a great job.”