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.
Many student affairs professionals begin their careers working in residence life as a hall director. The Hall Director job can be incredibly rewarding, but is also incredibly demanding. Professionals in these roles are often required to demonstrate a number of skills and deal with high pressure situations at all hours. To be successful as a new professional in residence life, we have three tips that can help you navigate your new role:
1. You were hired for a reason, have confidence.
It’s completely understandable that you may be nervous taking on this new role. It may be your first professional job and you want to do well. If you ever find yourself doubting your abilities, remember you were selected for this role because your fellow colleagues saw something in you. It’s likely you’re more capable than you think! Even if the situations may be knew, trust your gut, remember your professional training, and give it your best.
2. Check in with your supervisor.
Your supervisor can be an incredible resource to you in your journey. Opening up about your experiences with your supervisor will ensure they can better help you. Make sure to have regular weekly check in calls with them. Think about and share your goals with them. If you’re struggling, have an honest conversation about it. Although not all supervisors are good supervisors, it’s more often better to seek out a partnership than to go it alone. If you find you can’t develop that relationship with your supervisor, consider working with your peer groups or seeking out a mentor who is a more experienced professional.
3. Be open to feedback and learning.
You don’t have all the answers, and that’s okay. You’re learning. It’s okay to ask questions. It’s okay to admit that you don’t know something. Treat your first year as a learning experience. Seek out feedback. Ask how you could do better. Debrief situations with other professionals so you can learn about different approaches.
Many of Roompact’s staff members got their start as a hall director in residence life. We’re happy to share and talk about our own experiences and serve as mentors to new professionals in the field. If you’re interested in what we do and how we got into the positions we’re in now, reach out! We’d be happy to chat.