As An RA, Who Is My Supervisor? Why Do We Have 1:1s?

It’s about that time that you engage in your first one-on-one (1:1)  with your supervisor! Maybe you are a few 1:1s in, but nonetheless, a 1:1 meeting is likely to be relatively new to you. 1:1s are also an excellent way to get to know your supervisor and begin building a relationship. If you’re unsure how to approach a 1:1 meeting with your supervisors, the following may help.

Why do we have 1:1s?

1:1 time is a space where RAs are able to connect with their supervisor through personal, professional, and academic updates. 1:1s help ensure your supervisor is informed about happenings in your building, has timely updates on residents, and allows them to check in to make sure you’re meeting the expectations of your position. 1:1s are also for you to share with your supervisor how you are doing personally and academically. Supervisors are here to support you in your work and if you don’t share how you’re doing or feeling, they won’t know how to help.

What happens in 1:1s?

Different supervisors will structure 1:1s differently. Some will start with an opportunity to connect, learn how you are doing and how you are managing your roles as a student and as a staff member. Others may start with the more “tasky” items, such as following up on resident issues, completion of administrative paperwork, and planning for programs, events, or community gatherings. Because you know what your supervisor is going to ask about, spend some time before your 1:1 to get prepared. If you have updates ready, your supervisor will be super impressed. You don’t need to wait until they ask to share what’s going on with you and your floor.

Michael Scott from the Office Meme - World's Best Supervisor

Building A Relationship With Your Supervisor

An important part of 1:1s is building rapport and trust with your supervisor. To build that trust in that 1:1 environment, consider taking some time to get to know your supervisor. Breaking down barriers can help you work and communicate better together. Engaging in these types of conversations, however, can be a little bit daunting, especially if you have not worked with this supervisor in the past. Here are some questions that can ask your supervisor during your next 1:1:

  1. How did you get into this role?
  2. What makes you excited to come to work?
  3. What is your approach to supervising?
  4. What do you value most as a supervisor?
  5. What are some of your strengths as a supervisor?
  6. What is something you wish we (your RAs) knew about you?
  7. What do you do for fun outside of work?
  8. How do you like to feel appreciated?
  9. How do you show appreciation towards RAs?
  10. What is something you have accomplished that you are proud of?

Wrapping It Up

Everybody needs a co-piot GIF

Ultimately, your supervisor is your copilot in your journey as an RA or Sudent staff member. While you are flying the hypothetical “community development plane,” supervisors are around making sure you are doing okay and staying on the right flight path. This means that you should take some time to get to know your copilot; after all, you will be working closely with them for the foreseeable future!

Reflection Questions:

  • How can you get to know your supervisor? How can they get to know you?
  • What are additional questions you have for your supervisor?
  • What should you prepare for a 1:1 with your supervisor?

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