Tower Fish – Nevermind

I think it’s a little amusing that right after I wrote a post about Winston and Blanco, the two fish that have become pets at the Front Desk of the residence hall I work at, The Tower Hall, about how much I appreciate having them and how it brightens up my work shift and brings smiles to the residents’ faces, they’re taken away.

Unfortunately, Housing and Residential Life at Texas State University likes to set strict rules and guidelines in order to maintain standards and uphold quality. These can be hard to work with a lot of the time and are never negotiable. It can make my job more difficult and frustrating, especially when these standards are changed or set with little warning.

This month has been full of changes, and I am bound to write another post on the others, but this one will focus on Blanco and Winston.

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Tower Fish – Blanco & Winston

I am a resident assistant at a residence hall called The Tower Hall, in case you didn’t know. We recently had our Winter Training session in early January in which we went to different sessions throughout the day to learn more about better ourselves or our working habits. There are sessions such as eating healthy, creating eye-catching advertisesments, using Pinterest to come up with programming and decoration ideas, and even classes on sexual health. At one of these training sessions, though, our hall won an unexpected prize, fish.

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RA Class Week 13

After a Thanksgiving Break, we returned to class for our final week. We’ve had nothing but guest speakers these last few weeks and today were some personal trainers here to talk to us about health and fitness. This is my final journal entry for this class, so hopefully I’ll keep writing after this…

Health is an important factor in one’s life and should be maintained in order to live a well-balanced life, especially when entering college life. With less regularity, more unhealthy meals, and less exercise than one has previously encountered, students entering college may find themselves at risk for developing bad health habits, losing muscle, and gaining weight. Most know what they must do, but do not act upon such knowledge due to laziness and a lack of motivation. As a resident assistant, I must set the good example by taking care of my body and having excellent health as well as motivating my residents to do the same. I know this is my job, but like my residents, I have trouble doing it.

Weight has always been present in my life, as I have always been heavier than I should be. Ever since I was ten years old, I have wanted to change my weight and reduce my body fat content, but it’s not quite enough to really motivate me to do anything. There are many factors that prohibit me from exercising. One major excuse that I am sure everyone gives is that I am too busy to find time to exercise. With my current schedule, I even struggle to find time to sleep, let alone complete all my assignments and finish all of my work. But to make matters worse, even if I had the time to work out, I really don’t want to use it. I don’t want to make time in my day to exercise regularly because I cannot stand working out. There are many reasons why I don’t like to exercise. I don’t like sweating, smelling awful, having to change clothes, and having to shower, and I also don’t like the idea of having to trek across campus to go to an unfamiliar, open area with lots of people who are bound to notice me. Not to mention, I do not like the actual act of exercising and exerting force. I don’t like the pain, the effort, and the strain. I don’t want to weaken my body, only to feel tired and drained afterwards. Part of this may be because I am hypoglycemic, meaning my body creates too much insulin and uses the sugars I intake more quickly than usual. Even if I don’t exercise, I experience spells of weakness and fatigue as my body lacks in energy throughout the day. I know what it’s like to be out of energy and to feel weak, and I can’t stand it. I can’t stand not being able to move my arms or sit up without difficulty because I literally don’t have the energy to do so. I can’t stand the shakes and quivers my body goes through after exerting force or exercising. I can’t stand feeling helpless.

Although I cannot fathom exercising regularly for a variety of different reasons, I know that I should. After hearing from personal trainers, I am slightly more motivated to change my eating habits and begin becoming more active, but I do not think that I am ready to really make significant changes within my life right now. As of now, I am willing and able to encourage my residents to partake in good eating habits and to become active within their lives in order to increase their health and I will try along with them. I will try to do as the trainers said and to make small cuts within my diet and change small behaviors within my daily activities to reduce the amount of calories I intake and to increase the amount of calories I use. Hopefully, these small steps will lead to greater strides later within my life in my quest for better health.

<- RA Class Week 12 |

RA Class Week 12

Stress is something every college student will have to deal with at some point within his or her college life. Many things can become stressors within a student’s life including leaving his or her family, entering a new environment, having to become more independent, studying for classes, staying organized, finding time to finish homework and assignments, passing midterms, cramming for finals, reserving time for a social life, and even trying to get enough sleep each night. Within a college student’s life, it seems as if just about everything becomes a stressor and adds stress to his or her life in some way or another. With so many things to cram into one day, finding time for it all may become a chore, adding even more stress to the already busy day.

Mental health is extremely important for college students because they are at a university for mental reasons: to learn and grow mentally. With poor mental health, students are bound to do poorly in their classes, so it is essential that they maintain excellent mental health. In order to sustain a healthy mental state, one must learn to deal with stress. This is where a resident assistant can aid his or her residents: by guiding them and helping them deal with stress in order to boost their mental health and do better throughout their classes. There are multiple techniques that resident assistants can teach to their residents to help them deal with stress, and even take advantage of, themselves, in order to keep their own minds sharp and healthy.

There are many different things a student can do to help deal with stress. It all depends on the person, as each person deals with stress differently. For those who like to stay busy, allowing one’s self to complete smaller, simpler tasks in order to take a break from dealing with larger, more complex tasks may allow one to stay productive and busy, yet relax from a specific assignment. For those who like to socialize, hanging out with friends and gathering to do something together, such as watching a movie, grabbing something to eat, or going bowling can be a fun way to “get away.”

Others like to keep their minds activated by solving puzzles, completing challenges, or playing games. This can be an excellent way to keep the mind running, yet take a break from difficult work and have some fun. For some, they need to literally get away from everything in order to relax. For these people, taking a short trip home to visit family, taking a short walk around town, through a park, or even just around the block, or even reading a book to escape into the imagination can help allow the person to relax and take his or her mind off of everything that is adding stress. Any of these strategies can be effective as long as the break is kept to a short amount of time and is not prolonged, wasting time that could otherwise be used for studying or working. If time is wasted, one may find himself rushing and stressing even more to finish before a deadline.

Every college student will experience stress at some point within his college life, including residents and their resident assistants. It is important that resident assistants know how to deal with stress and exemplify that they are dealing with stress and keeping a healthy mental state in order for their residents to learn from example. By following their resident assistants and finding their own technique to deal with stress, students can maintain excellent mental health and do better in their classes.

<- RA Class Week 11 | RA Class Week 13 ->

RA Class Week 11

When it comes to being an effective resident assistant, many different roles come into play occasionally making the job more difficult and usually more confusing. Oftentimes, resident assistants feel they must act like mentors, teachers, disciplinarians, parents, friends, older siblings, counselors, and leaders. With all of these different characters and personas, it can be a challenge to balance between them and become the most effective resident assistant for one’s residents. As the residents are learning and growing within their residence halls on campus, though, it may be best for a resident assistant to focus on becoming an influential role model of success.

As discussed in class, residents are generally at an age within their life in which they are finalizing who they are and beginning to think more independently and make more serious decisions. Influenced by their environment, surroundings, school, friends, and parents throughout their childhoods and into adolescence, now they find themselves in a completely new situation, within a new environment, with new surroundings, at a different school, with new and different friends, and without the guiding aid of parents. Because of this new-found freedom, some resident assistants may feel they must parent their residents and guide their actions. This may not always be the best course of action, however. With residents of varying ages and varying degrees of independency and stubbornness, it may be best for a resident assistant to act in ways in which they wish their residents to act.

Without parents, residents now find themselves with limited resources to look to for how they should act. Oftentimes, they will turn to their friends. This can be problematic because generally, their friends are of similar ages and are in the same situation. Other times, they will look towards the media for guidance, possibly an even worse decision. Filled with exaggerated and unrealistic portrayal of celebrities and reality shows, television, music, and the media can deliver false images and misguide ignorant people, including one’s residents.

Because of this, resident assistants should take the lead and become the positive role model within their residents’ lives. By acting how residents should act and ignoring the false and incorrect messages delivered by the media, resident assistants can positively influence the lives of their residents and guide them to make more wise decisions. Through positive role modeling, resident assistants can create the “new cool,” and create a new norm, showing that even if one does not smoke, drink, or do drugs, he can still be well-liked within the residence halls and have fun with friends on the weekends.

With so many responsibilities and expectations, resident assistants may feel overwhelmed or unsure of how they should best aid their residents. Not knowing whether to parent, counsel, or discipline, they can become less efficient, but by simply being the best role model they can be, resident assistants can become effective and influential guides within the lives of residents, clearly making a difference. By demonstrating desired behaviors and showing that they are not unpopular, resident assistants can create the “new cool” simply by role modeling successful behaviors.

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