What it’s like to be a Resident Mentor

lifebea71264-e41b-4acc-b746-b0e2c2a0f8e4Last year I became a Resident Mentor at my university. Resident Mentors (RMs) are similar to Resident Assistants (RAs) but each college has different titles for the job.

I lived in a all-female residence hall and had 24 residents.

I remember moving in last August feeling very unsure; feeling nervous, overwhelmed after long days of training for the job. I remember thoughts going through my head wondering if my residents would like me, what I would experience, and how I would handle situations. I was fully trained for many situations but was nervous when move-in day came and I would meet all my wonderful ladies.

Move-in day came, welcome week passed and the first week of classes was over. One of the first events I threw for my residents was a “Congrats you survived the first week” pizza party. A lot of my residents came and were all so happy and excited to share with me the stories from their first week of college. That was the first moment of many that I knew the girls were going to have an impact on my life, and I hoped to do the same on theirs, too.

The reason I became an RM is because I wanted to be there for someone.

My freshman year my RM was great but he felt more like a friend and a confidant than a authority figure. Freshman year I struggled with homesickness a lot and I never felt like I had anyone to talk about it with. I wanted to be a person that someone would feel comfortable to come to me about being homesick, a breakup, a hard test or just to talk. That was my goal starting the job.

Just a few weeks in, I got to be that person. One night one of my residents texted me asking to talk. I said of course and she came down to my room. She, much like me, had been bitten with the homesickness bug. I knew exactly what she was feeling. This was a big moment for me. She told me that she didn’t feel like she could go talk to anyone about thisβ€”except for me.

I was ready to hand in my keys; my job was done! I was so happy she trusted me. We made a big connection and my goal was met. That was one of the many rewarding moments throughout the year of the job.

The RM position is a full-time job. You never can never not be an RM. You work and live in the same building. Last year I also had a part-time job at the journalism school so I was balancing two jobs and of course was a full time student. I won’t lie and say it was easy because some weeks were crazy busy and some weren’t. Some nights I would be on duty and get a call at 2 a.m. and have to respond. I’m not saying I was jumping out of bed ready to go let someone in their room, but it was part of the job.

It’s stressful and crazy and you never know what each week will bring. Instead of caring for myself I cared for myself and 24 young ladies and that’s was a lot of emotional weight.

But I wouldn’t change anything.

At the end of the day I hopeΒ I made an impact on each of my ladies. I know I can say I did for some. In a way I became their mom or sister or friend for the year. I would feel pride when they introduced me to their significant other. I felt needed when they would come to me for advice or help. I got to know their lives and check in weekly while sitting at desk or around the building.

Being a Resident Mentor was an amazing experience and I will be returning next year, too. I’m excited for the new year and new residents but my first year ladies will always have a spot in my heart.

If you’re reading this and you were one of my residents, know you were great. I’ll always remember y’all and please keep in touch.

If you’re reading this and you were a part of the staff know, I love you all. YouΒ made the job worth it, and I’m thankful for each and everyone of your friendships.

To everyone out there that maybe remembers their RM, I encourage you to reach out to them and let them know if they made a difference in your collegiate career. If you are about to go to college, know that you RM is there for you. They should always be open to talking.

For now, I’m looking forward to my residents in the coming year. Last year taught me so much and I can’t wait to establish new relationships with my residents to come.

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