In Their Own Words
The following are excerpts from staff members' monthly reflective essays about their experience. Each month staff members are given a question to respond to that challenges them to contemplate their experience and the ways that it is impacting their educational journey at Gettysburg College.
Jen Conder '06:
Through my experience this year as a Residence Coordinator I have learned a lot about my leadership ability. I was very nervous going into this year because I was not sure I was ready to take on the additional responsibilities of being an RC. I knew my goal was to be a humble leader and I was worried that by being insecure with the position I would over compensate by being controlling and bossy. I have been really proud and excited however at the work I have done this year. I think that as a staff we have developed into a strong group of dependable coworkers. I have worked with some difficult situations within the staff and we have come through them all better because of it. This opportunity has helped me to realize that even when I am scared it's ok to still jump and to swim because sinking is not an option. I believe that it is because of my three years in Residence Life that I am the person I am today and that is a much more confident, self assured woman ready to face the new challenges after graduation.
Shalandra Peets '07:
As a returner and going on to my third year on staff, this has been an amazing experience. Residence Life has made a huge impact on my life because I have been able to not only help others but help myself. As a person that has always been very reserved and quiet Residence Life has helped me, in the famous words of Ande Flagg, "take off my cool cap" and open up to new people and new experiences. My college experience has been great because I met residents that kept me laughing at 3am or kept me worrying at 3am! But at the same time it makes me feel great to know that I had an impact on someone else's life...I have learned a lot about myself as well as the residents and that is what makes being an RA so much fun.
Jithin George '07:
Residence Life has changed a lot of things about me. One of the best things is how I always want to look from another perspective. There is a sure-fire route which everyone takes, but Residence Life has taught me the fact that there is almost always another route and in some cases it may even be easier.
Charlie Sutera '07:
Through the workshops and experiences of my position as a RA this year I have developed myself as an individual. I better understand how to effectively communicate with others. I feel I am more articulate and make use of not only effective language but also effective tone, mannerisms, and body language. I also better understand others' view points and I have developed more of an open mind. I also feel like I better understand different personality types of individuals...I developed my skills as a member of a team. I learned ways to encourage others without being too critical and also thrive on encouragement from others. I am very grateful for the tools Residence Life has given me and am very fortunate to have had such a wonderful experience this year...I have learned that there are many effective ways to communicating in various situations but one thing must remain consistent within all forms of communication--respect.
Ben Melusky '08:
I began this year as a completely different person. One with a different approach to dealing with situations and handling problems. The Residence Life fall training gave me a new perspective on how to deal with situations. It taught me about fierce conversations and emotional intelligence, two things that I would never have thought to draw into my everyday life. Because of the fall and winter trainings I now tackle challenges differently. I have learned much about my own personal strengths and weaknesses. My training and experiences this year have caused me to draw upon my strengths and build up my weaknesses. The situations I encountered allowed me to realize what I lacked and forced me to develop new areas of myself to cope with problems. The hardest thing I have found in my numerous encounters and interactions with others is learning to see other points of view. My opinion is not always the best nor is it always correct. I have learned to take a step back, look at things from a different perspective, and understand others' opinions for what they are.
Amanda Adair '08:
My experience as a first year RA these past two semesters has impacted me both professionally and personally. Being an RA gave me a wide variety of new responsibilities. It forced me to learn how to balance my time between classes, Residence Life, a job, and trying to have some time for myself. I learned to hold myself to a higher standard, in order to set an example of how I wanted my residents to act. I became much more independent this year, through both living alone and being held accountable for insuring the welfare of 42 other people on my hall. It forced me to reexamine my own life at Gettysburg and look critically at how I conduct myself day to day. Knowing that I was a representative of Gettysburg College and a model for my residents inspired me to hold myself to higher standards.
Andrea Smith '07:
It is difficult to explain how much residence life has impacted my time here at Gettysburg. This position gave me a sense of purpose on the campus. At the end of my freshman year I was an undeclared bundle of nerves who wanted to make a difference but wasn't sure how. I know that I have not fully reached my potential, but I hope to further my goal toward self-awareness next year. Residence Life opened my eyes to a variety of situations that I did not know existed on campus. The cultures and practices I have witnessed in two years as an RA are incomparable to many of the situations I was placed in before. The confidence that I have gained is immeasurable. This has helped especially in class. I have always been shy in classes but with Residence Life and my new found confidence it has helped me to excel. Also, Residence Life has provided me with a new meaning of the word "time management" and that has helped me immensely in classes.
Craig Borger '07:
When I applied to be an RA over two years ago I really had no idea what I was getting into. I saw an e-mail about the application about a week before it was due. I never went to any of the info sessions and really had no idea what the job requirements were. However, what I read and had heard seemed like it would be something I'd like to try. I also was (and still am) a fairly quiet person, and wanted to push my boundaries a little bit. Being a member of Residence Life did that for me, and much more. As an RA, I have been put in situations I would not have even come close to dealing with in the past. Although many of them were uncomfortable at first, I have been able to push past that and now feel more confident in all areas, including those outside Residence Life. I am also a lot more aware of my surroundings and feel I can handle any situation with more efficiency and effectiveness.