The Resident Advisor - barely older than the average college student on the dorm floors, and sometimes on some sort of a power trip. Regardless of whether or not you view the RA as one who's committed social suicide, this figure can certainly be a valuable ally when it comes to dorm and student life. Instead of just having to interact with your RA when you've been caught smoking in your room or making too much racket with your drum set, get a little extra out of of your college experience.
The following are 4 ways to make your RA the most useful for you:
1 - Develop a Network
Freshmen in college all come in with a clean slate. Everyone is pretty much starting off at the same level, excited to work, yet not really knowing many people in the department. Your fellow students and colleagues can certainly be a good source to assist you along the way as you try to score your string of A's, but these kids can also be your prime competition when it comes to internships and even post-graduation jobs.
Make use of your RA by having them introduce you to someone in your major who's already got a good level of understanding of the curriculum and your professors. Having such connections can really help you get a leg up in your department.
2 - Build a Team of Allies
Tons of college kids mess up in school, and your RA gets that. Even though we may never exactly go into college with intentions of dealing with policy violations, it is inevitable for certain students to meet such consequences. If you do happen to get into some sort of trouble, start off by being honest with your RA and treat them with respect. If you get in on their good side, they can help push for a little leniency when it comes to consequences, even if they aren't necessarily the ones who ultimately make such decisions.
3 - Uncover the Truth About Various Majors at Your College
Obviously, professors will have nothing but great reviews about the departments in which they teach. Instead, RA's will give you an unbiased opinion about different majors and departments on your campus. RA's will be more inclined than anyone else to give you the real deal about specific departments, such as the types of profs leading the courses, how full classes are, and how many students are unsatisfied with such majors.
Even though RA's are stewards of the school, they still care about their fellow students, and prefer to be helpful to those who they feel deserve it.
4 - Find Out About Opportunities in Your College
There's a lot more to college than just your typical line-up of purses rammed with 400+ students. Most likely you won't be able to uncover all the secret opportunities that your college offers after just one short orientation week before school starts. Even after a couple of years, many students still don't have the full scope of what their college can offer them.
RA's can be a huge source of such information - they learn all about such opportunities throughout their RA training, so pick their brains about what they know. Ask them things like where to get help when you're falling behind, the kinds of clubs you should get involved in, and if there is anything they'd do different if they could go back to their freshmen year.
The bottom line is, treat your RA's with respect, and they'll be much more likely to return the favour.