After weeks of devising what combination of sophomores and seniors would be most beneficial, and a few stressful minutes online choosing your home for the next year, housing selection has finally come to an end. And, with this closing, comes an influx of conversations about housing.

Residents will start listing their grievances with the area desks, housing staff, and finally, their own RAs. And this last part is personal to me, because, as an RA, I always find it disheartening to hear of residents who have had negative experiences with their RA.

Last October was my first semester, and I was sweating bullets. All of the RAs were rounded up in Dewberry Hall two weeks before school started, and we played about a thousand icebreakers during that period. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the camaraderie among the staff and enjoyed every minute of that fleeting time. What had me scared was my own, empty hall.

I found myself cutting out butterfly patterns and frantically making door decorations to get my mind off of the fact that I was petrified of the coming weeks. In a short time, my floor would be filled with 40 residents and it was my responsibility to make this environment feel like a family rather than an apartment building.

I covered my bulletin boards in butcher-block paper and stapled on my community hours, while hoping that my residents would actually know them. I looked over my roster and thought to myself, “I’ll never be able to remember all of these names.”

These thoughts that I had are shared by RAs all across this campus. So, when I hear residents are voicing their frustrations with Housing, I always wonder if they’re having these conversations with their own RAs, who they should be looking to for housing-related knowledge, and about the university at large.

Make your time at university positive, and have a relationship with your RA that you’ll be able to talk about years from now. Crawl out of your suites and go to weekly traditions. Try to meet people on your floor, because, as they say, your best friend could be in the dorm right next to you for a year, but they’ll remain undiscovered until you give it a shot.

With time, I did learn all of my residents’ names, and, with knock and talks, got much more than that. My floor is a microcosm of this university, with majors ranging from painting to biochemistry, including sophomores, juniors and seniors.

And, as this year comes to a close, I can sincerely say that being an RA for Blue Ridge 3rd floor has been one of the most positive experiences I’ve had in this university, and regardless of how many communities I lead in the future, this floor will always hold a special place in my RA heart.