by Ashley L. (former Gold Award recipient and STEM advocate)
What’s up everyone? Sorry that I haven’t updated on Facebook a lot, but it’s been quite a busy, and stressful, semester at college. I’d even argue it’s been the most stressful period of my life so far. It was rough, but I’m here to tell the tale!
So my semester started a few weeks before actual classes started. As a Resident Assistant (RA), I needed to be trained how to provide the best Care, Costumer Service, and Community for my residents. As an RA, I needed to be able to do basic administrative tasks for housing, like checking people into rooms, and making sure that they’re living situations are safe and clean. However, I also need to care for the residents individually and make sure they’re transitioning well to campus. To help them succeed on campus, I have to help them connect to the other people on their floor so that they feel comfortable in their living space. We had extensive training on how to accomplish all of this, while getting to know everyone on the staff better. So far the best experience of being an RA is having a new circle of friends, who help you with your events and help you solve problems you’re facing in your community.
Sooner than I was expecting, fall orientation was finally upon us! It was extremely busy, but I met all of my residents and welcomed them all to the hall! That’s the most chipper I’ve ever acted ever. I was literally skipping around because I was excited to meet and get to know my residents. Orientation has always been fun, but as an RA I was a much bigger part of it.
Along with my Resident Assistant duties, I also had to help out with RHA with their orientation event (the organization that I was an executive board member of the previous year).
Toward the end of the semester, I started to build up my relationships with my residents. I really do like all of them, but it’s very hard to build a community on a floor so diverse! Out of my 30 residents, I have 3 international students, 4 flight team members (which is a big deal on our campus), 3 greek life members, 3 ROTC members (one of which is the only female cadet to make it into the Air Force Honor Society this year!), 1 Global Security and Intelligence Studies major, and a bunch of other engineers and pilots. So to address this problem, I had them all take a programming survey. I now have a more solid plan for the spring semester, but creating a community will be a challenge.
And that was only one side of the coin this semester! I knew being an RA would be difficult, so I decided to only take 13 credit hours. I ended up taking Thermodynamics (a study of energy conservation), Aerodynamics (how a wing is able to generate lift), Space Mechanics (learning to calculate the velocity needed to change a satellite’s orbit or send it to a different planet), Solid Mechanics (learning how to design something so it won’t fail), and a physics lab. Solid Mechanics was by far my hardest class this semester, but I am so glad I passed it! My gpa is still really good for an engineering major.
As for next semester, I’m looking at 14 credit hours, with really cool classes like Space Propulsion and Experimental Space Systems. I’m taking a light semester again because I’ll have a secondary job! This job is about 10 hours a week, grading homework for a digital circuit class I passed with flying colors my freshman year. Unfortunately, that means I won’t have time for SpaceGrant and RHA, so I’ve become pretty inactive in those organizations. But despite that, this is the first semester that I won’t have to pay anything out of pocket for! My tuition and housing are covered, thanks to a scholarship I earned.
This was a tough semester, but I have a feeling that this next semester will turn out much better! Hope you had happy holidays!