i shouldn’t care, but i do. i shouldn’t let this bother me, but it does.
i have tried so hard to remove myself from who i was–what i had become–but i can’t anymore. i see how everything i did has affected every part of my life.
it has made everything that should have been easy, so much more complicated. if i could go back, i would change everything.
The first time I set foot on this campus, I asked my tour guide “what kind of rooms do RAs get?”.
I knew that I wanted to be a RA before I even knew where I wanted to go. There were many reasons that compelled me. The foremost being financial. I knew that if I could not get the job that I might not be able to come back for another year. I had done a lot of begging to even convince my mom that I had to go to a 4-year college, let a lone a 4-year private university. She wanted the best for me, but she could not afford it. Nonetheless, she scrimped and scrapped to get my first year tuition paid. Throughout my first year, with every interaction I had with anyone on campus, I knew that I wanted to feel more connected. I wanted to be a part of something bigger. And, for me that “something bigger” was residence life.
The first day of RA training sitting there full of hope and anticipation I listened eagerly as each of the professional staff members introduced themselves, and I thought to myself, ‘One day that will be me’. There were days when I hated my job. I had to be constantly available to the girls on my floor, I had to plan floor programs based on THEIR likes, and I had to deal with some tough situations. Yet, when the year ended and I looked back, I realized that I had just experienced the best year of my life. The next two years went by in the same manner. Each year, I looked for any opportunity to improve. If I was a RA, I wanted to be the best RA I could be. I knew that I had to be if I wanted to stand up in front during RA training and introduce myself as a professional staff member.
And, now, I am finally there. I stood up front for the introductions. I did my presentations at training. I get to wear business outfits everyday! So, it’s a dream come true, right?
Well, yes, but the saying “Be careful what you wish for” is starting to ring in my ears.
I love this job. I just did not know what to expect. Everything seemed so glamorous from the other side. You get your own office. Residents always want to talk to you. You plan awesome programs. Everyone loves you. But, I forgot to think about classes, internships, friends, other jobs.
Slowly my dream job has been turning into the harsh reality of the “real world” my mom was always talking about. My “own” office moved from prime-traffic location by the entrance of the building to a small nook adjacent to Video Game Central. Residents might want to talk to me, but no one knows where I am. All my “great programming ideas” are not as easy to implement as I thought. And, not everyone loves you when you have big shoes to fill. It’s frustrating. I want to find my own way of doing things, but when I try I am simply reminding that it isn’t how “he” would do it. It is a really hard thing to have to live in the shadow of the person you look up to, because you know you will never be on the same level but it would nice to know that you can do things differently but still just as good.
Friends disappear. It isn’t as easy to fit in movie night marathons when you have to fit in office hours, eight classes, an internship, research project, and nighttime job. The toughest part is that I need my friends the most now. I am still working through all the drama from last year, and by working through I mean burying deeply until something triggers a 1:30 a.m. breakdown. My life has changed so drastically over the course of (about) six months. I would like to hope that I am not the same person. I have my doubts. It still hurts. Losing. I don’t know how anyone can recover. I know that I tried to recover in the wrong way. And, in doing that I only found myself hurt further. It almost hurt more. Maybe I was just projecting all my emotions from the first situation onto the second. Whatever the case, I messed up. I felt useless. I felt unwanted. I felt lost. Somewhere in my mind, being used was worth the pain because I at least felt useful. I hate myself more each day when I think about it. I really hate it. me.
I’m trying to do my best in all of this. I really am. I just know that I am fading. Every encounter with a superior, we’ll call this person P, makes me rethink this whole career choice. I love working with students. I love working in this building. I love working with the rest of the staff. I just cannot seem to work with P. The approach that P uses seems so abrasive and does not foster cooperation. I cannot seem to get through to P. I am trying to push through and try harder, but I do not know how much more I can do. It is only week 3 and I am hating my decision to do this. I needed to do it for financial reasons again, but for personal reasons, too. I truly feel like the more I stay with the department the more I learn about myself. When the rest of my world was crumbling, this is the one stable thing that I could count on. The people I have met through my position have been some of the greatest people who I have ever met. A lot of them have helped me through some of the toughest times in my life, and for that I am truly grateful. I love each and every one of them. There were many nights that I would walk downstairs to K’s room and just sit and talk and cry about boys or family or life in general. She was my greatest friend here. Now, she is gone and I have KP and A.
I really love this job. I would never give this up willingly. I just hope I have the strength and stamina to push through and deal with the difficulties that have found me thus far. Regardless, this will be a very interesting year.