Roompact’s “Quick Tips” series highlights ideas and suggestions you can put into your practice as either a professional staff or student staff member working in residence life and education. Click to read more from the series.
Starting in housing and residence life can be exciting and daunting all at the same time. The year always starts out with an intense flurry of activity and you’re called upon to handle a number of different situations you may not have encountered before. This is normal. Many many have gone before you and thrived. Here are three tips if you’re starting your first year in student housing:
1. Have confidence in yourself.
It’s often intimidating when you’re asked to do things, confront situations, and work with students in ways you haven’t previously. Take this in stride. This is normal. It’s what you’ve studied for, trained for, and were hired for. Don’t be afraid to share your experiences and process them with colleagues. You are likely going through the same thing. Find a peer group of new residence life professionals that you trust to provide you with an outlet. You don’t have to go through it alone and you don’t need to fake that you’ve got it altogether.
2. Speak your needs.
It can be hard to state your needs and ask for help… but DO IT. Residence life is a team sport and we’re all in this together. It might be that you don’t know what you need, but you know something isn’t right. This is where the aforementioned peer group or speaking with your supervisor can help. Never feel like you’re going through this alone.
3. Take time to find balance.
In your first job you often want to do really well and appear like you have everything under control. But if you’re running on all cylinders at all times (something residence life makes it very easy to do), you could burn out quick. From the start, make sure you find a way to schedule time for relaxation and renewal. You’ll also want to think about how you can find harmony in your life throughout the year. The nature of residence life work and being on duty is that there’s a sense of always working. Resist this trap.
One of Roompact’s core values is ensuring our teammates have harmony in their work and personal lives. Residence life can be stressful. Think about what you can do to find this harmony and advocate for departmental practices that help promote it.