Coming from Ewa Beach, Hawaii, is history, political science, ethics, and pre-law major, Misael Bernard. With it being his first year as an RA for Newton Hall, he loves everything about the work he does. If you know Misael, you know how kind, warm, and funny he is; and how his character is the perfect fit for being an RA.
To learn more about what being an RA is like, Misael generously answered some questions for us to share his RA experience.
Tell us about being a RA. What are your responsibilities, and what does a typical shift look like for you?
Being an RA is an interesting job and it’s something that you really don’t know what you’re getting yourself into when you first get into the position. As an RA, you’re basically responsible for a wide array of things from the well-keeping of the residence hall to the safety and well-being of the residents in the dorm itself. In many ways, you’re the student with the most experience on campus and in the dorm itself. A typical shift is usually the whole day from when you wake up until you go to sleep. You see something in the dorm that’s broken, you try your best to see if you can fix it or call someone who can fix it, to fix it. Someone on your floor is locked out of their room because they forgot their keys when going to the bathroom (it’s happened many times), you have to go and get them into their room or find another RA who’s in the dorm to help that student out. An RA is there to assist the residents in the dorm but not necessarily babysit them.
What values have you learned by being a PUC RA?
Responsibility is definitely the biggest value I learned as an RA here at PUC. As an RA, you’re not only responsible for the dorm itself but the people in it. Their safety, their well-being, etc. is what you signed up for when you applied to be an RA. Now, you’re not the resident’s personal therapist or babysitter, but you’re the one they can go to in order to get the help that they need. You’re there to direct them to the TLC for when they need to get tutoring for a class they’re not doing so well in, or even show them where health services are so they can get over-the-counter medication or mental health treatment.
How do you balance school and being a RA?
Being an RA comes second. I am first a student on campus and I make sure that my school and life come first. Being an RA sort of fits into my schedule because it’s something that I do in the evening when I don’t have classes.
What is the most difficult aspect of your job? What do you enjoy the most?
The most difficult aspect of being an RA is reaching out to residents that don’t want to be reached out to. It’s always difficult seeing a resident that you want to reach out to in order to make sure they’re in tip-top shape mentally and spiritually.
How do you incorporate spiritual life with your residents?
In Newton, we incorporate spiritual life by having a new weekly event called power-up and that’s where residents join on our Instagram live and join us for a weekly power-up and an encouraging devotional. Every Tuesday we have floor worship and that’s where we have a little devotional and worship time with the residents on our floors. Every Thursday we have dorm worship and that’s where the whole dorm comes together to have worship in the lobby.
How do you build a community in your hall, and with other residents?
Community starts with room checks every night from the very first day of school up until the last day of school for the quarter and the year. It starts with the interactions that we have with our residents and it grows to the residents having something in common, their RA. From there, they go on to having interactions with one another. Sometimes community is from the residents themselves where they have connections to one another from outside PUC and they grow their connections here at PUC.
What is your favorite thing about being a part of the PUC family?
Favorite thing about being a part of the PUC family is the fellowship and the uniqueness of that fellowship that you gain here on campus. I don’t think I’ve ever been to a college or university campus that’s had the type of fellowship like how they do here at PUC. Of course, it’s unique because we’re on a mountain but it’s a fellowship that is unique to PUC. There’s no other campus that I know of that has this fellowship and because of that fellowship, there is a sense of belonging here at PUC.
What advice would you give to someone interested in becoming a RA?
In simple terms, be ready for anything and everything. You’ll get calls in the middle of the night to go and unlock a room because a student locked themselves out and their roommate is sound asleep. You’ll get calls to help fix someone’s sink in the middle of the day because the faucet broke. Just be ready for anything and everything.
What are you looking forward to this year?
I’m looking forward to impacting all of my residents in a positive way and making them feel appreciated and welcomed in Newton. When I was a freshman and I first moved in, my RA made me feel welcomed and like I belonged. It made the kickoff of my college experience something that was amazing and great.