Purposeful LivesJacob M., junior, finance and accounting
The most prominent campus organization that I am associated with is residence life. I currently serve as senior resident assistant at the Oaks Apartment Complex, and this is my second year as an RA. During my freshman year, I saw the significant leadership role that RAs hold and I had heard from a number of RAs about the great life experiences that being an RA can bring. Because I sought to be more engaged on campus and to develop leadership skills that I will be able to use in the business world, that spring I applied to be an RA.
I was hired and placed on staff for Faulkner Hall, and I was excited to meet the new freshman and hopefully help them along as they got their feet wet in the college experience. That first semester I learned quite a bit. I learned the importance of a steady, calm mind in the midst of a conflict. I learned that first impressions are nearly impossible to erase. I learned the importance of leaning on one’s colleagues. But more than all of this, the most important thing that I learned that year is that a patient, objective and driven style of leadership can positively motivate others and enable them to be at their best.
This year, my second year as an RA, I have been promoted to senior RA. Essentially, this has placed the leadership aspect of the RA in the forefront. Not only is the Senior RA a leader for his residents, but also for his staff. My ability to lead has been tested this semester and I expect it to continue to be tested, but the benefit to this is that it allows me to refine the way that I lead and to learn from experiences. I still maintain that a level-headed, patient leader with a firm and challenging set of expectations is an effective one. It is this type of leadership style that has enabled me to coach and teach my staff members, especially those who are new this year.
Overall, the RA experience is one that has added value to who I am as a person and has provided me with valuable leadership experience and skills that will make me successful in the business environment.