Thursday, September 29, 2011

Balancing R.A. Life

What a smile. Certainly not a placid one – it’s the smile of a ready, willing servant. One sincerely interested in others.

The smile belongs to Grace Ruedi, sophomore Resident Advisor in St. Scholastica Hall. She steps into the R.A. office, ready to face whatever challenges the night brings.

The clock ticks 7:30 p.m. She murmurs a quick prayer to start the night and pulls out her checklist. 

“Begin the night in prayer, asking God to give you the grace to do His will,” the list says. Check.

Doing God’s will –for the residents—is just one of the many duties listed under the job description of an R.A. A solid campus life at a Catholic, liberal arts college thrives on community.

That’s Ruedi’s favorite part.

“I enjoy getting to know the girls and building a better community with them,” she says, and then pauses to answer a resident’s question. Ruedi is ready to drop whatever she’s doing to help.

Helping might not always be fun, however. Her least favorite part about the job is discipline.

“Writing them up. I hate that,” she says.

To Ruedi, being an R.A. isn’t just a full-time job. It’s a vocational investment, and balancing it with social, academic and spiritual life is tricky.

Most R.A.’s don’t have a set plan on how to do it.

“I have a schedule and I stick to it. Like if I have Mass or Adoration scheduled, I make sure I get there,” said Ruedi.

Dain Finney, a junior R.A., adds, “You have to bring it to work – invite people to visit you on call. Get both checked off at once.”

Ruedi nods.

“And I make sure I get my homework done early so I have time for other things,” she says.

To be an R.A. is to strive for a balanced life, while serving others. Service, especially encountering it for the first time, leads to personal growth.

“I’m learning a lot about myself and how I handle things. I’m definitely working on my weaknesses in this job,” she says, with that same willing smile.

“When I look back, I want to remember the friendships I made. And the crazy stories about what people do.”

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