THE WORKING LIFE ‌ Jeff Whitener 

Resident assistant at the College of Charleston

"I began working as an RA at the beginning of this year. I worked for Residence Life and Housing at the College as a desk assistant for a couple of years and decided that it would be beneficial to take a jump up from DA to RA. Some of my friends were already RAs, and the benefits seemed really good.

"I get 60 percent off housing fees because I'm required to live on campus. The hours are also flexible, and they're willing to work around my class schedule. And, being an RA allows me to personally interact between the kids that live in my assigned house or residence hall. I really like being able to help out a group of kids, letting them know how things work and where things are.

"Some of the duties include programming that provide not only social interaction between residents, but educational tools like study skills and ways of dealing with the pressures of college. The job also allows for me to be a support, encouragement, or just someone to talk to for my residents.

"I feel like I'm a good fit for the job because I'm very friendly and social. I feel like my residents are comfortable coming and talking to me if they ever need anything.

"I enjoy the opportunity to be able to meet so many diverse individuals while working, but it's tough having to draw the line between being a friend and a disciplinarian.

"One of the requirements of the job is that I work at the front desk of my assigned residence hall. It's pretty interesting to hear some of the stories that are told about why the residents don't have their IDs to get into the building. One time a kid came by the desk and told me that he didn't have his ID because his parents had been in town all week and his mom took the card home as memorabilia of his college life. It was obviously a lie, and the kid was just drunk and had lost his ID.

"Responsibility is something that I can take away from working for Residence Life, as well as the ability to hold others responsible for their choices and actions." —as told to Anna Claire Hodge


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