Between endless acronyms (RA, RHD, RCF, etc.) and common taglines (community builder, icebreaker, etc.), learning Residential Life is similar to learning how to speak French or Spanish. Sure, you can learn the basics by reading my blog, listening to friends who once were RAs, or watch Son-in-Law. But unless you work it, live it, breath it, you will never understand the tiny nuances that make Sh*t RAs Say so poignantly hilarious.
I have a few friends in Admissions and Student Activities. Despite our dissimilar areas of expertise, we can hold intelligent conversations about our professions and students. However, each one of us speaks about our jobs with a different emphasis and knowledge set. It is as if we have an accent based on where we work and who we serve. Although they understand what an RA does and why I live in a free apartment too close to my students, they cannot understand why I laugh so hard at “Who drew penises on my bulletin board”.
When I am with my peers or I am at a ResLife conference, the language barrier is lifted. We all speak with the same strange dialect. We all laugh at “I’m not just your RA, I’m your friend”, because we get the subtext and probably have personal stories that go along with said quote. As much as I despise Residential Life at this point in my career, there are very few jobs that allow you to talk about sex with students, get paid good money to cut out construction paper for door decs, and wear PJs to meetings. Until I find a new job, I guess yo hablo ResLife.