A Learning Curve With a Steep Reward

Emma stands outside Burke HallAt the Capstone, Student Life provides mentorship opportunities for freshmen and upperclassmen across departments. However, few student positions on campus have as much regular interaction with peers and potential for positive influence on their lives as resident advisors (RAs) in Housing and Residential Communities (HRC).

Emma Brangers – a junior from Lexington, KY, majoring in microbiology – has been an RA for two years now, and she will return for her third year on the job and her senior year in Fall 2022. Last year, Emma served as an RA at Harris Hall, and this past year and next, she will be at Burke Hall.

“I became interested in being an RA my freshman year,” says Emma, “I was returning from a late-night test and in the pouring rain and lost my key. I was freaking out, and my mom suggested I call my RA, and they were able to help me immediately. At that moment I knew that I wanted to be in a role like that to be able to help other students that may get stuck in a similar tough situation.”

Emma said she had never considered being an RA because of her shy personality. “I guess I thought it was all very Type-A people, but now I realize that we have RAs with all personality types and from all types of backgrounds,” she says. According to Emma, one of the greatest strengths of the RAs at UA is their diversity of backgrounds, personalities, and majors, allowing them to serve and help a variety of students.

She says her time as an RA has grown and developed her in ways that classroom learning alone never could. As an RA, Emma has had to work through a variety of difficult and even emergency situations. These experiences have helped prepare her to effectively navigate difficult situations and help set her apart for her post-collegiate career.

“There is such a steep learning curve when you become an RA, but it is so worth it. After your freshman year, people move, and it’s easier to not be involved with things around campus. But as an RA, you get to remain plugged into all that happens on campus, and you get to pass along your knowledge of and love for UA to your residents.”

Another way Emma has grown because of her role as an RA is developing work/life balance. Living where she works has helped her learn to set healthy boundaries with her residents and work life, and it’s taught her to prioritize her time well.

“Being an RA here at UA has truly been one of the best experiences I have ever had. It is such a creative job, and HRC gives a lot of freedom to the RAs to make the job their own and serve their students and residents in unique ways.”

Emma Brangers