Major: Multidisciplinary Studies (Future Master's of Elementary Education)
Experience: RA January 2017 to Present
Melissa Haslebacher is a born teacher. So when she learned that being an RA is often similar to the role she’d have running her own classroom, she was hooked. “I loved the idea of being a point of reference for people and putting on fun programs that can teach my residents skills they can use for the rest of their lives,” she says.
Besides the leadership and teaching experience she gets every day as an RA, she says the biggest benefits are the people and the friends she’s made. “Your staff is always around to help you and you get really close to them. Also, as an RA, you learn about a lot of resources that can help your residents but are also great for yourself, such as tutoring sessions for specific classes.”
The role taught her something fundamental about herself as well. “I learned that I’m definitely a people person! I love talking to my residents and finding out more about them, even if I’ve had a rough day. I’ve also learned that I love doing things like programming. I’m always thinking of new things I can do with my residents.” But, she cautions, you don’t have to be an extrovert to excel as an RA. As long as you like working in teams, working with people and have a little creativity, you can go far.
For students looking into becoming an RA, she has a bit of advice. First, be yourself. “Coordinators do their best to create staffs that will mesh personality-wise. If you’re not acting like yourself then you might not get placed somewhere you really fit.”