Essay, Research Paper
When I think of the Community Action Plan, several concepts come into my mind. I think of interacting, forming friendships, earning respect, being a leader, acting responsibly, and most of all, creating a sense of community. I consider myself a very friendly and outgoing person, as it has always been easy for me to make friends and feel comfortable in potentially awkward situations. Making the switch from living at home to college life is tumultuous to say the least, and as a Resident Advisor, I want to make my residents feel ?at home? in their residence hall.
First impressions can make or break relationships. In my experience, I almost always remember my first encounter with people, so I think it is very important to always present yourself in the best possible fashion. I want my residents to see me for the fun and friendly person I believe myself to be. This means I plan to make a good first impression on all of my residents, and I hope to make them feel comfortable introducing themselves?Not only to me, but to the rest of the floor community as well. Introductions are very important, and in order to foster any sense of community, residents must know each other. I know it will be easy for me to stick out my hand for that first handshake or that wave hello because that?s just the way I am. I hope it will be equally easy for me to foster this kind of enthusiasm among my residents.
For some making the transition to college life is a daunting task, for others, it is an exciting and embraceable experience. As an RA, I plan to help everyone, no matter what their attitude is when they first arrive at SU, to feel comfortable as a member of the floor community. I think the Community Action Plan provides very helpful guidelines to achieve this sort of residence atmosphere. By setting community standards, everyone knows from the very beginning what our expectations are for eachother. This understanding is infinitely important when trying to build a community based in respect, trust, and responsibility. Stimulating interest in the first floor meeting will probably be relatively easy, since most people will be anxious to meet the people they will be living with for the next year, and for those who are less eager, I will be sure to personally invite each of my residents to the meeting, so I will have a handle on who is a bit scared by being in a new place and those who are thrilled to be away from their parents.
Establishing community standard will most likely be difficult. I must always remember that recognizing the diversity of a group of people is extremely important in establishing patterns of living. People have different habits, tastes, and customs. For these reasons, it is integral that I am aware and respectful of the varied races, ethnicities, religions, and practices of my residents. It is equally vital that I inspire the same tolerance and respect in my residents. Some people find it difficult to associate with those whom they consider ?different.? So, as the facilitator of a community, I must show my residents how to embrace diversity rather fear it. I think if I can make all my residents accept one another, I will have taken the first and perhaps most important step toward establishing community standards.
It is also very important for me to make my residents aware of my duties and responsibilities as their Resident Advisor because even though I know I will befriend many of my residents, they must understand that I still have an obligation to my position. I need to make it clear to them what I am required to do in the event of any rule breaking. If they are aware of my responsibilities, it will be easier for them to avoid placing themselves and me in compromising situations. I know there will be times when it will be difficult for me to play the role of an enforcer because I would much rather rely on the respect of my residents then my own authority as a paraprofessional. However, I know there will be situations in which I will have to stand my ground or mediate situations that need my attention. Fortunately, I believe I possess skills that will be helpful in my efforts to maintain a strong community, even in the event of conflict.
In high school I was trained as a peer mediator, and I believe the skills I learned for that position have been applicable to so many situations. I have learned that it is very important to never place blame or draw conclusions before hearing both sides of an argument, and more importantly, the goal of any mediation is not to determine who was ?right? and who was ?wrong.? Rather, mediation?s objective is a resolution of the problem and reconciliation between those involved. As a Resident Advisor I know will sometimes be difficult to remain objective when mediating arguments or problems between my residents. However I hope that I will be able to teach them that most conflicts can usually be avoided if members of our community openly communicate. I will encourage my residents to have a discussion at the first signs of a problem, rather then wait until their anger has been festering into an outburst or argument. So, hopefully, with a little foresight and encouragement on my behalf, I will be able to create a community where my residents feel comfortable talking with their neighbors and me when they are having a problem.
My role as a Resident Advisor also entails being a leader and educator. In high school and here at Syracuse I have held various leadership positions, therefore I feel rather prepared to lead my residents in their learning experiences at the University. In my opinion, every room is a classroom, and there is a lesson to be learned from every situation. I hope that through educational programming and projects geared toward community service and civic awareness I will demonstrate to my residents how much they have to learn at SU and the surrounding community. I think it will be easy for me to stimulate interest in projects, at least initially because in general Freshman are eager to become involved in activities on campus. However, I think that as the year continues it will become increasingly difficult to muster support for programs because residents will have settled into their lives at the University. It will be my responsibility as the RA to remind the residents that they are indeed part of a community that requires their involvement to be complete.
I am eager to become a Resident Advisor. I know that I will be faced with various problems that I cannot foresee, but I hope that I will be able to handle these problems effectively with the skills that I possess. Undoubtedly, being an RA will be a great learning experience. I will not only be teaching my residents, but learning from them as well. I look forward to the challenges of my new position but I have faith that I will be a successful Resident Advisor. I want to be there for my residents. I will listen, give advice, mediate, teach, learn, share, encourage, and do whatever it takes to make my residents feel comfortable in their new residence. I am confident that the search for community will end on my floor.