Looking ahead for Campus Housing

♪♫♪ I love losing myself, talking to myself in the dark / When my body starts to work like a machine, I can feel the pulse of my heavy metal heart…

After being on Campus Housing staff as a Peer Mentor for Courtyard for just over a semester now, I got the chance to be involved in the rehire process. It’s a little strange for me to think that just a year ago, I was applying myself without really knowing what I was getting myself into. Of course I had some conception of what it meant to be a RA or PM from watching my own, but it was very different once I had settled into training and realized all that the job entailed. I have little hesitation about returning again next year, as this by far the most fun job I’ve had. Being on staff makes it so easy to socialize and get to know anyone in the building or on campus, and there’s never a dearth of programs or activities to attend.

I was a little nervous for my own rehire interview at first, but it went very well (just as the older staff had assured me). Once I started talking about my programs, my residents, and thing I had learned throughout the year, it was much easier to relax and just have a conversation about my experiences. I surprised myself by becoming more introspective than reflective during the actual interview than I was when trying to make my rehire portfolio! Creating the portfolio actually turned out to be the more difficult part, as I kept changing my mind between writing a thoughtful paper or making a Powerpoint. I ended up making a Powerpoint in the end, which was just as good because I was able to run through my presentation and talk about my programs, community, and leadership on each slide.

And now comes the waiting! I am so excited to see my assignments for next year – it feels a little like I’m back in high school waiting for my schedule to come out. When I was asked during my interview about which residence hall I might prefer, I realized that I could be happy in any of them. I would love to return to Courtyard, where I live now, because then I would feel like I gathered some  experience this year in how to build community in the cluster-style living. I also love the huge staff that Courtyard has!

Since I lived in Commons West as a freshman, I came in this year not too certain of how living in Courtyard would feel like; but now I would be happy to be assigned in either one. I loved Commons West as a freshman because everyone kept their doors open and it was so effortless to get to know people. My best friends here come from the people met inside the halls of Commons West, and it’s amazing to actually see in action how all the community-building we learn about during staff training lasts well beyond a mere academic year. I would love to return to Commons West for that open-door environment – I might also just be biased because I always think of it as my first home on campus! There’s also a good chance that I might be switched to south campus at JST, which would be wonderful as well since I have never heard a bad word about JST from anyone who lives there! It would take a while to become accustomed to the 10-15 minute walk to east campus for classes (to someone who fears cold like me, that seems like a lot) but I think it wouldn’t be too hard with all the buses and shuttles that run. Beside the nice, new amenities, I would also be able to be in cluster-style living again. Finding out is still about a month away, and I can’t wait! It’ll be wonderful to finally see the list of staff members that I’ll be making memories with next year.

I also got to contribute to the new applicant interviews. I finally had the chance to see from the other persepctive of how the group interview looks. Residents who apply to be a RA or PM go through two stages of interviews which includes a group interview and an individual interview. I was able to be one of the “judges” for the group interview, in which I gave a group of about 8-10 applicants a task to complete and they needed to collaborate to come up with a solution through discussion and dialogue. It was very interesting for me to watch, because I imagine that my interview last year must have looked and sounded very similar. For the most part, everyone was very respectful to each other and listened to all ideas. Sometimes, though, there will be an applicant who tries a little to hard to stand out and talks over other people without saying anything with real substance…definitely not a wise thing to do in group interviews! I was surprised that the housing supervisor even asked my opinion on which applicants stood out to me. I realized that I was potentially picking my own co-workers and staff for next year, and it really made me think about just what I would look for in a RA or PM to work with. I only saw three groups out of many of the groups of applicants, but a few of them really stood out to me. In any case, I wish the best of luck to everyone! It’s always exciting for me to envision my near future, so I keep wondering what my staff might look like next year.

You make my heavy metal heart beat, beat / My heavy metal heart ♪♫♪

(Heavy Metal Heart – Sky Ferreira)

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About Sarah Lee

Hi, I'm Sarah! I am a junior Neuroscience student in GPPA Medicine who is still trying to figure out exactly what I want to do in my life. One day I want to be fluent in Russian and explore Eastern Europe. In my free time, I love running, playing piano and guitar, and reading. I currently live in Courtyard residence hall as a Peer Mentor but my home is in Naperville.

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