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Be nice to your Community Advisors;

Published: October 12, 2007
Section: Arts, Etc.


Many view college as a chance to move away from home and live independently. But in a sense, our Community Advisors, (CAs) serve as our parents away from home.

Who are these people who and what do they do? Why would anyone want to be a CA? CAs have numerous duties, as described by Amanda Kelly '08, and becoming a CA is a selective and tedious process.

First, there is a pretty extensive application process involved in becoming a CA. Next, there is a group interview, a one on one interview, and team building activities during which Residence Life staff observe to see how you interact with people. This process is essential because they need students who are good leaders and listeners and this can be proved best through interaction.

Once accepted, according to Kelly, CAs are in charge of taking care of a floor, or building in Kellys case;

checking in with residents;

and attending weekly meetings with Residence Life staff and Quad directors. CAs usually attend two or three meetings a week to ensure that they hold events to interact with their residents and get them involved with the community and each other and develop a better sense of community around campus. Kelly has been a CA since her sophomore year and is currently stationed in Rosenthal South.Asked what the job has taught her, Kelly referenced practical skills such as interviewing skills and updating your resume. In addition, being a CA has taught her how to interact with people and explained that having to deal with crises at times has definitely made me think on my feet. Managing and caring for a floor full of diverse students has helped Kelly to expand {her} horizons and view the world differently.

Kelly further explained that as much as I thought I was an understanding and compassionate person, it definitely just takes that to the next level.

Kelly chose to become a CA in part because of her experience as a peer advisor in high school and also due to the fact that she had a great experience with her own CA during her Freshman year. Asked what the job has taught her, Kelly referenced practical skills such as interviewing skills and updating your resume. In addition, being a CA has taught her how to interact with people and explained that having to deal with crises at times has definitely made me think on my feet. Managing and caring for a floor full of diverse students has helped Kelly to expand {her} horizons and view the world differently.

Kelly further explained that as much as I thought I was an understanding and
compassionate person, it definitely just takes that to the next level.

Kelly values a CA because, according to her, [I have]enjoyed my college experience so much more being able to have helped other people and knowing that theyve helped me. And the job is one which shed recommend to anyone who likes service and being a leader.

Kelly described the most difficult part of the job as becoming attached to her residents because we all feel responsible in a sense for {them} and CAs feel it when their residents are experiencing something painful.

Rewarding to Kelly is the experience of a resident who ends up wanting to be a CA or when residents come and tell you something exciting because they feel comfortable enough to confide in you about things.

As with all jobs, especially those which are 24-7 jobs like hers, being a CA has its funny and difficult moments, as Kelly experienced last year when one of her residents called her at 4 am asking for a ride because he was lost. Committed to her residents, Kelly had told them that they could call her any time, so she took it upon herself to go out in the freezing cold to retrieve her resident. Kelly laughs about this now, and is clearly dedicated to her residents.

Vivek Venugopal '09, started off as a CA last January for the Midyears in Renfield 2 and is currently the CA for regular Freshmen in Usen 1. Venugopal described his choice to become a CA as a combination of factors, one being his own positive experiences with his floor and CA freshman year. Venugopal also added, the fact that you get free housing is definitely a factor too. Being a CA is a position which Venugopal would recommend to other students, but only depending on if you think you can put yourself into it. Though it is a position that is not necessarily for everyone, being a CA is definitely an experience you learn a lot from.

The experience has taught Venugopal time management and leadership skills since CAs have lots of responsibility. Venugopal also explained how CAs must be skilled at a range of different things from listening to peoples problems to setting up events. He said he would summarize the role as simply a leadership position.

Asked what the most difficult aspect of being a CA is, Venugopal said that inherently the position is difficult due to the time commitment and the necessity of being a resource for all the people on your floor. Venugopal described it as a very big responsibility and a very open-ended job which allows the individual CA to be as involved or as detached as they desire. Furthermore, Venugopal alluded to a difficult aspect of the job as being a balancing act between being a CA and peoples friend on campus. He said that it is sometimes difficult to determine whether you are always a CA, forcing you to decide where and when to watch others actions. The ability to help people out is the most rewarding aspect of the job to Venugopal.

Being able to assist his Freshman residents and point them in the right direction, is something that brings Venugopal satisfaction. And, he said, for a CA living in any dorm environment, every day is an experience.