Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Wrapping it up

Gosh, this past month has been absolutely crazy. I've been writing papers, sending in scholarships, running events for the dorm, taking exams, reading books, having meetings, going on field trips...and the list goes on and on! Last night was the first night in weeks that I was able to sit and read my Bible before bed, a ritual that I have tried to carry on since the beginning of February as one of my goals for the semester. I have been reading along with a daily Bible study guide, and although it is very helpful in motivating me, I felt like a slacker when I realized that I am a month and a half behind on readings. Such is life as an RA.
It is strange to think that this lull I have been experiencing the past few days is not the normal mid-week sluggishness that has followed me throughout the year, but the beginning of hibernation before finals. My residents are locked away in their rooms studying and sleeping, only emerging between the hours of 8PM and 10PM to eat and socialize. Those who don't have looming final exams are mostly at home until next week, and so the hallways and lounges are eerily silent.

Looking back on the past semester, I realize how much I will miss being an RA next year. Sure, it'll be fun moving back to my old dorm, where my old friends are; but there is just something about hearing the pitter-patter of feet in the bathrooms, the giggling of girls from the room above me, the sound of slamming doors and crazy music drifting through the hallways, the special little notes left on my door, the quiet conversations whispered in my room, and the rowdy lounge gatherings at one in the morning. When dealing with an incident on a Thursday night, I would always think, "why did I ever agree to this job in the first place? Who would be crazy enough to want to work with these kids?". But then I would come back from midnight rounds to find twelve people in the lounge who were eager to find fellowship and friendship in each other, and I would think, "who wouldn't want to be an RA? To be able to witness friendships blossoming is certainly the greatest job in the world."

What a bittersweet experience it was. I can't count the nights that I wanted to cry with frustration after an unattended meeting or social, or the many times I did something special for someone with no acknowledgment or thanks. I thought that being an RA was a thankless job until Monday, when I had a knock on my door. One of my residents, Jess, was standing there with a card she had made. She and some others had knocked on every door in the building to get people to sign the card, and they had planned to present it to me at an end of the year celebration that I had missed on Saturday.

I was shocked that she had done this for me, and that everyone had signed the card, whether they had been around this semester or not. I didn't think they cared about how hard I worked this year, or how much of my life was put on hold for them. How can I ever tell them how much this simple act meant to me, and how much their time with me has changed my life? I don't know if I can ever do it in words or deeds, but I think deep down they know.

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