New, long-time RAs discuss 1st week of school

Hannah Shillo, Staff Reporter

Resident assistants throughout Eastern’s campus have just finished their first week on their floor with their new residents.

Natalie Fadden is a junior communications disorder major and a second-year resident assistant.

She said her first year on campus inspired her to get involved and become a resident assistant.

“My freshman year I had such a hard transition,” said Fadden. “Being away from home was super hard for me. Becoming an RA was like I got to help other people find their footing and find their home at EIU.”

Fadden said she first got involved as a resident assistant by joining her building’s hall council, which she described as an inner student council for each resident hall.

“It was really cool to get involved,” she said. “It put me into housing.”

Devin Andersen, a junior communications studies major and first year resident assistant, was also in his hall council during his freshman year at Eastern, which he said inspired him to become a resident assistant.

“I really enjoyed getting people engaged and getting people to come together,” he said. “I thought if I could do that as a job, that would be pretty cool.”

As for the students who may not be involved in hall council, Fadden said that everyone can get involved by going to the general assembly meetings, and even though it is not a requirement, it is a good introduction to becoming a resident assistant.

Cynthia Moedano,senior psychology major and first-year resident assistant, said she was never able to participate in hall council.

“I never had time to be in hall council,” said, adding that while she was not necessarily in hall council, she pushed herself to be informed about, and understand, hall council.

“I (recently) changed my major to psychology, so I had to catch up,” Moedano said. “I’m still catching up, so one of the things I try to do is be aware of everything going on around campus.”

Moedanosaid she wanted to become a resident assistant because she felt like it would be a great opportunity for her to work with people, especially being a psychology major.

Fadden said, since this is her second year as a resident assistant, her training process this year was not as intense as it was the previous year, because she said she knew what to expect having gone through the training last year.

“It’s kind of like an RA boot camp,” she said of the training process, adding that she went through presentations on counseling and experienced thorough fire drills. “It is really extensive, but it gets you prepared.”

Moedano, however, said she was not sure what to expect during the training since it was her first year.

“Onething I wasn’t expecting was the amount of training we had to go through,” said Moedano. “I enjoyed it, I felt like it was well needed. I knew what was expected of me and how to handle situations.”

Although she had thorough training, Moedano said she had a few concerns regarding her residents.

“I think the worst part is not knowing if you’re doing enough (for your residents) or if there is going to be a situation that you haven’t been trained for,” she said, adding that her residents are real people, so she wants to take good care of them.

She also said that even though she has some concerns, she is happy she has her job as a resident assistant.

“It’s something that I know I needed because know I can be my best and do my best with these girls,” she said of her residents.

Fadden said one of the best parts of being a resident assistant is getting to work and interact with residents.

“When your residents get as invested with you as you are with them, it’s like you’re a proud mom,” Fadden said of her residents.

Jagoda Szostakiewicz, a junior mathematics for secondary education major, said she always tells her residents to come to her for anything they may need.

“I would love to help them,” she said. “Especially because I know what it’s like being stressed out.”

Andersen said he thinks things are going well so far, especially since this is his first year as a resident assistant.

“I’ve only been with these guys for a couple weeks now,” he said. “We are already coming up with inside jokes.”

Fadden said she thinks being a resident assistant is the best job on campus.

“I’m not going to lie,” she said. “It is a lot of work and there are definitely some weeks that are more challenging than others, but what you put into it is what you get out of it. Being an RA is literally the best job on campus.”

Ultimately, Moedano said she believes being a resident assistant is a fulfilling experience.

“I know my residents appreciate me already,” she said. “They come up to me and they say, ‘Thank you, Cynthia, for being here,’ and they write on my board that they love me.”

Hannah Shillo can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].