The toughest part about college for most students is the transition from living with family at home to sharing a one-room dormitory with a virtual stranger. Luckily, students who live in Myers Hall at Southeast Missouri State University have Emily Seagraves, Southeast student and resident assistant (RA), to help them make that transition as smooth as possible.
Emily, of St. Charles, Mo., was hired as a last-minute RA by the Southeast Office of Residence Life just two days before RA training began in August. While other RAs had been hired months before, Emily took no time to catch up after the initial shock and excitement finally died down.
Being an RA for a college residential community is no simple task. Emily and her fellow RAs are the people the dorm residents turn to whenever they have a problem, be it with their roommates, their friends, their studies or homesickness. They distribute important University and residence hall information, organize programs and activities for the residents, ensure the residence halls are safe and much more.
“Basically I am the one who makes sure everything is going well on my floor,” Emily said.
Students say their RAs can have a big impact on their college experience, at least during the time they live in the residence halls. In fact, Emily said she decided she wanted to become an RA because of an RA she had in the past.
“I had an RA who was amazing! I wanted the opportunity to make other students’ campus experiences as great as she made mine in my sophomore year,” Emily said.
While Emily says she loves just about every aspect and responsibility of being an RA, she says the best part about it is the people she has met and the friendships she has formed.
“The number of new people I have met is impossible to count. Another RA and I became friends in the five months we have been resident assistants, and I will probably be close with her for the rest of my life,” she said.
“It is one of the best experiences in my life.”
She says the responsibility and the leadership role she acquired will be invaluable to her in the future. Being an RA has strengthened her problem-solving techniques, her people skills and even her business knowledge.
While Emily dedicates most of her time to her residents, she is also the programming coordinator for the Residence Hall Association and a student employee in the Public Services/Publications office for the University. She is a member of the Phi Eta Sigma national honor society and a Jane D. Stephens Honors Program student.
When she gets the chance, she enjoys reading, creative writing, watching movies, shopping and being with her friends.
Emily wants other students to have college experiences equally as fulfilled as her own, so she urges them: “Get involved! Join a campus organization or club because it will help you grow as a person and make your time here even more enjoyable. You will meet new people and make more friends than you would believe.”