Zero to hero: From rookie RA to great leader

Andre Bonfiglio Compean - 21 January 2021

I remember my first day in Lister—lost, nervous and not knowing what to expect. That changed within hours, when I met my RAs.

From the start, my RAs made all of us feel included and part of a new and bigger family: the Lister family. They went on to run amazing programs and watch over us to make sure we were okay. More than just leaders, the RAs were just like mom and dad good friends (haha).

I always admired what they had done to make a family out of strangers. I decided that I wanted that same opportunity to build a big family in my second semester, so I applied to be an RA.

I had to go to group interviews with other applicants where we were tested on our our personality, leadership, communication, administrative skills and more. Then some of us moved on to the one on one interviews in which we mostly talked about our experience.

Luckily, I was offered a position and accepted it without hesitation. And even though this year has been quite different, I still love my job and I would not change it for the world.

This was my first job, so at first I was a bit intimidated. I honestly had no clue what I was supposed to do during my first shift(!) and had trouble coming up with programs and being a true leader. But the training offered helped me hone those skills and feel more confident.'However, after my training, those skills were sharpened and I felt more confident.

My team also made sure to always be there for me and helped me in so many situations. They also ensured that I learned how to address them myself and become better at my job. Soon, thanks to the support of my RCs, SRAs and fellow RAs, I knew how to respond to almost any situation.

If I was in doubt, I could always contact the SRA or RC for guidance. The best part about it all was how much we cared about each other on the team—team meetings never truly felt like work and they were full of funny stories, laughter and of course… the more serious stuff.

I've grown in so many ways in this job: I have run many different programs (some more successful than others), but each one of them has brought a smile out of at least one person. I love seeing my residents smile and it is a great feeling when they get engaged and have fun!

I have done live workouts, a rally, a run around Lister and a dance competition, floormals and lots more which have made me tear up from laughing. But the best part of it all was seeing my residents have fun—I truly felt like a proud dad!

I've gained infinite memories from being an RA. I got to know all the strange things that happen around campus during shift, acquired endless knowledge and broke barriers that were holding me back, cared for others, shared laughs and smiles with students—and the cleaning staff, the cafeteria staff and all of the Lister community. These are memories that I will never forget and I learned lessons here that prepared me better for the professional world.

So here's my advice: be responsible, be just, always stay true to yourself—but most importantly, make your residents feel at home to create a new and loving residence family! :)