Earlier this semester a total of 120 students applied for residence assistants positions across campus. After a thorough application process including group scenarios and individual interviews, 36 new RAs have been hired for the upcoming academic year.
The intensive process measures five key competency areas as well as professionalism, team building, leadership and communication skills.
“Really everything that we’re doing through the process is measuring how we think the candidate will do in those competency areas,” AJ Goodman, associate director of residence life for Chrysostom Hall, Jasper Hall and Overlook Manor, said.
Some hypothetical scenarios include having to write up residents who are also your friends and dealing with a student who is not listening to you.
Isaiah Paige, a sophomore at Manhattan College, said that the hardest part about the process was just being yourself.
“The part that’s harder to deal with is that they want you to be honest, they don’t want you to tell them what they want to hear. I think that’s a little more difficult because as students we are trained to put the right answer down on the paper. But when it is time to be yourself sometimes you don’t want to give away too much,” Paige said.
Paige is currently majoring in electrical engineering and minoring in digital media art. When he was first applying to colleges he was going to pursue art school, but after receiving advice from his parents he decided to pick a more lucrative career path. Decorating his floor is one of the things he is really looking forward to when he is an RA.
“I think that having a floor theme is actually pretty fun, I am already thinking of ideas. I really like Jasper building wide-events and I really want to do the ‘breakfast for dinner’ event,” he said.
Paige thinks that connecting with his residents on a personal level will help make his RA responsibilities much easier.
“I don’t know if RAs usually do this but just going door to door and sitting down and talking with people, just get a more personal connection,” he said.
Junior Irenej Bozovicar is also looking forward to meeting and forming relationships with his future residents. Being an international student was difficult for Bozovicar, but his RA freshman year helped to make the transition less daunting.
“Coming here as a freshman from Slovenia, who had to repeat each sentence twice in order for people to understand me, was not so great. There is also no one from Slovenia that goes to Manhattan College, so I really didn’t have anybody to talk with in my language. However, my RA knew that, and kept checking up on how I was and stuff. She was the first who made me feel more comfortable in the new environment,” Bozovicar said.
As an RA in Horan Hall next year, Bozovicar is looking forward to helping other students.
“I have always been fortunate enough to be surrounded by people who were willing to help me. RA position gives me opportunity to give something back,” he said.
Being an RA does come with challenges, such as a planning ahead of your busy schedule and being prepared to deal with different situations at any time.
Anna Occhino, a sophomore and another recently hired RA, says that Chrysostom Hall has its own unique set of challenges that she must face.
“Just because I am going to be in the freshman dorm it is going to be a little bit challenging getting students acclimated to life on college campus and that it is not the same thing as high school. That was the struggle that I had was realizing that it’s a lot more work being in college,” she said.
However, Occhino also expressed that because the dorm is communal, the building has a more familial atmosphere than some of the other residence buildings on campus.
“You all share that struggle because you know that it is the worst dorm on campus but yet you love it because you can all relate to each other and you’re always going to have each others backs,” she said.
Occhino, who is majoring in communication and minoring in music, is looking forward to bringing her love of music to the building.
“We will probably have open mic and jam sessions and things like that to bring the community of all students, not just the residents in Chrysostom, together,” Occhino said. “I just want to make them fall in love with Manhattan College the way that I did.”
The next step for these new RAs is to undergo training in August. All RAs must return to school two weeks before the rest of the students return to campus to attend information sessions and training sessions.
“We start at 9 a.m. and end at 8 p.m. We do different sessions throughout the day to teach them our policies and procedures and at night it is a lot of role playing exercises so that the new staff can practice for different things that may come up and just getting used to having different stuff thrown at them,” Goodman said.