Monday, March 12, 2012

Mr. Longbottom Must Have Been an RA

After years of subjecting myself to RA training, I know the topics and lessons by heart. We have on-duty procedures, role modeling, administrative responsibilities, fire safety, and door tags & bulletin boards. Of course, my favorite is assertiveness training, mostly because no matter how many times I experience the presentation, I tick off in my head the names of professional staff that should learn from it.

This morning, I awoke to find Lana, a fellow hall director, had defriended me on Facebook. Normally, I would have never noticed since I just do not care enough to pay attention to my friends number. However, this time I saw it, because we had just completed a heated, yet intelligent and mature conversation about a comment I made on my wall and a passive-aggressive response she made on her wall, and I wanted to make sure I edited her out of a post I was writing in case it angered her.

What started this whole hub-bub? Let's rewind. Last night, after her veiled, yet obvious post directed at my wall comment, I made the effort to confront Lana. I am tired of people passively complaining about me when they know I will read it. (Side note: I am very aware of how hypocritical this comment is since I anonymously post snarky ResLife comments on a Twitter account.). I wanted to be assertive and reasonable with my conversation; I did not want to jump to conclusions, and I wanted an opportunity for us to air our grievances so we could be closer friends.

When we ended our hour-long conversation, I was pleased. I truly felt that we had said our peace and got to know how the other person felt without resorting to name-calling or abusive language. For once, I was thrilled that my assertiveness had a positive result. Obviously, the exchange we had last night did not go as well as I thought it did.

And people wonder why I post anonymously as @BadHallDirector.

My frustrations extend beyond last night’s incident and this morning’s revelation. It encompasses the consistent pattern of me confronting behavior that is bothersome, me feeling relieved that I took the uncomfortable step to maturely discuss, and me getting burned after the fact. We tell our RAs, “don’t be afraid to be assertive and express your opinions. It’s tough, but it’s how adults handle problems”. Yet, how many hall directors, et al. actually follow this advice? Even my own boss who is 7 years older than me cannot confront me—he has to post his displeasure on his Facebook page!  

Maybe, I took too seriously what Dumbledore told Neville at the end of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone: “It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends” (Rowling, 1998, p.306). If only every time I stood up to my friends, I received 10 points for Gryffindor. Of course, I’m really a Hufflepuff, but that’s for another post.

(This is a great summary of how I’m feeling: Dumbledore's poignant words)


  1. I too am a Hufflepuff...which sort of breaks my heart even though I know it shouldn't.

  2. You're an idiot. Grow up and stop using social media to deal with your problems.

  3. I just read this post for the second time. I have never commented on one of your blogs before but I read it religiously. A lot of what you say is truly valid. I currently work at an institution where there is a lot of passive aggressiveness and supervisors who don't confront you unless it's in a room full of people. No matter how many times you confront the behavior, it doesn't work because they've been here for 12 years and they know best. ::sarcasm::

    These people ARE hypocrites. You are absolutely right. How can we set an example for the students that they need to take personal responsibility for their feelings and address issues that they have problems with if we can't do it ourselves. I long to work at an institution where I am respected as an adult. There's a fit out there somewhere for me. Just like there's one out there for you. I know that you loathe your position right now but I believe that the field needs people like you and me to eliminate a lot of the negative behaviors that happen. Good Luck to you