Last night I went on duty.
If you remember one of my first blog post, I talked a little bit about how next year I’m going to be a Community Assistant (or Resident Assistant) on my campus. There are a lot of things that a CA does, and one of them is to go on duty.
Going on duty consists of sitting at the front desk in your assigned building (If you go to school with me, next year I’ll be in Robertshaw. If you don’t go to school with me, disregard this pointless interjection.) The point of going on duty is generally just making sure things are running smoothly/going alright in the building that night. Every hour for the next 4 hours you go on rounds, which includes walking around the halls of the building to, again, make sure everything is alright. It lasts from 9:00 p.m. (or a little earlier) until 1:00 a.m. (or a little later – the girl I was shadowing told me that her nights usually end between 2-3 a.m.). The CA on duty is different every night. Usually you have one specific night that you do, and every month you have one weekend worth of duty.
Being on duty was, to say the least, an interesting experience. It’s been a long time since I’ve interacted with that many people in one go. There were constantly people surrounding the desk talking to us. The conversations ranged from classes we were taking and how hard this semester was to what online games we used to play as children and even to what my crack smoking policy for next year was going to be (Which was asked by a current resident who would be living there again next year. I jokingly told him “As long as you keep it on the DL, you’re fine” although I’m sure my adviser wouldn’t be too happy with that answer).
Last night I learned a bunch of other things about what it’s like on duty as a CA in Robertshaw, but it’s definitely the interactions that I learned the most from.
My first time on duty (although not actually my official first time) made me realize that I miss dorm life immensely.
Last year I lived in a traditional dorm, although it wasn’t Robertshaw. I had two roommates, no kitchen or living room, and a limited amount of space. The walls were solid brick, so I shouldn’t have been able to hear much in the rooms next to ours, although that didn’t stop my next door neighbor, who was a DJ, from turning his music up all the way at all hours of the day and night. My only saving grace was that we had our own bathroom in our room. I know people who go to colleges with communal bathrooms – just the thought of sharing a bathroom with a number of strangers is downright terrifying to me.
Currently, I live in the apartments on campus that are for academically inclined students. I have three other roommates and each of us has our own bedroom. We have a living room, a kitchen, and two bathrooms. Honestly, there’s more space in our apartment then we know what to do with.
While I like having all this space and being able to go to my room and sleep without worrying about somebody waking me up, I can’t help but feel incredibly isolated. When I lived in the traditional dorms, I could walk out of my room into the hallway and see 5 or 6 people in one go. There was always something going on. But in the apartment building I live in now, there’s never anybody around. The fact that we all have our own rooms means that people come home from class, disappear into their apartment, and generally don’t come out to socialize unless they need a stamp for their passport (it’s a long story that I don’t feel like going into detail about, but students in the section of campus I live in need to attend a certain amount of academic events and get stamps for going so they can continue to live there).
Being that isolated kills me.
I, oddly enough, have become incredibly social now that I’m in college. When I was in middle school and high school I had a close group of friends that I liked to interact with, and I wasn’t really interested in making friends with anybody else. I was comfortable where I was. But that changed once I got to college. The constant interaction I received in my old dorm really helped me open up as a person. Now, I’m always yearning to go out and meet people, which is hard when no one ever comes out of their apartment to talk to each other, and there’s only so many clubs I can join to meet new people before it becomes too much.
I guess it just really comes down to the fact that I feel lonely.
Don’t get me wrong – I love my roommates. They’re some of my best friends in the world. But, if you’ve ever lived with your friends, you know that living with people you really like is generally not a good idea. It makes everything a lot more complicated. You get sick of each other. You fight over who has to take out the trash this time, or who needs to put the dishes in the cupboard. You spend so much time in each other’s back pocket that they start to become the only people you interact with. You start to get annoyed by the little things they do. Day by day, you slowly start to dislike the people you once thought you would have loved to live with.
That is not something that I want. I don’t want to feel like I resent the people who are supposed to be my best friends. I don’t want to feel lonely when there are people right next door to me. I don’t want to feel like they are the only people I can interact with.
That’s why I’m so grateful that I was offered a CA position. A lot of shit went down this year regarding friendships that I don’t think I could have handled another year of being sad all the time. I’m not that sad about things anymore, because it has gotten better, but I was real messed up and alone for a while. Anyway, what I really needed was a change of pace, a fresh start, and that’s exactly what this position is giving me.
But believe me, it’s going to be hard. I could already tell from the 2 hours I sat on duty last night. There were constantly people at the desk, sometimes talking about two different things at once, and it’s hard to concentrate on one person talking with all the background noise, let alone two. There are other things that make being a CA hard, but that’s just one thing I observed yesterday.
Despite the fact that it’ll be difficult, I know I’m up for the challenge. Ever since I came to college I can tell that I’ve grown and developed into a leader that can work well under pressure. Sure, sometimes I have breakdown moments, but they’re not as often as they used to be, and sometimes I don’t have them at all.
I know I’ve said it in previous blog posts, but I’m excited for what next year is going to bring. I’m excited to see how being a CA is going to change and effect me as a person. Until then, I’ll just have to wait and see.
(Also, sorry about writing about this again. It’s kind of a big deal in my life, though, and it’s something I think about a lot. But next time I’ll try and write something different. Pinky promise.)