This post is going to be a little bit different than my usual dose of pixie dust, but I thought I would take a few minutes to share my experience as an RA and how said experience helped me find my way back to The Walt Disney Company.
As some of you may know, this past school year I was an Resident Advisor (RA) at my university. Being an RA is something that I have wanted to do since a month into my freshman year. I was offered a position while on my first college program, which would start when I returned in August of 2015. I had 10 days from the time my program ended and when I had to move in for the beginning of RA training. Having minimal downtime between these two things was much harder than I anticipated. I felt like I was never given the time to just adjust to no longer working at Disney, which made taking on a new position even more difficult. Everyone was excited for the start of the year, which I was too, but I was also dealing with no longer living in a place that became home to me over the six months prior.
I spent the entire first semester missing my life at Disney and missing the way things were at school before I left. I felt like I left a piece of myself in Orlando, making it really hard to give 100% to this new position. My boss always reassured me that I was doing well, even when nothing felt right, which I will always be grateful for. When I told him that I accepted another internship with Disney, he was sad since it would mean I would be turning down my position as an RA for next year, but much, much happier that I was doing what I really wanted to do.
There were times when everything felt wrong. Our staff vibe would be weird, we would be stressed out, I felt like I wasn’t connecting with all of my residents the way I felt like I should be. The group dynamic of my friend group felt off. I knew things were going to be different, but I was optimistic that everything would immediately fall back into place, and when they didn’t, it was hard. And these set backs were less about being an RA and much more about the post-DCP life that so many alumni talk about. These two things just happened to co-occur. But things got better, a lot better. They always do.
I refocused my energy second semester, things felt fresh. I took on a lot more responsibilities and had a lot more things going on- all in a good way. I gained an insane amount of confidence in myself as an RA. I started seriously exploring future career options (because I don’t actually want to work at Disney forever…at least that’s how I currently feel). I got more involved within the psychology department on campus. And in the midst of finding my place on campus again, I realized it felt less and less like what I wanted home to be, leading to a spontaneous decision, which doesn’t actually seem that spontaneous at all.
Despite everything, I did truly enjoy being an RA and I’m really thankful for the experience. And part of me really is going to miss it, but I know that another college program is going to be so, so much better for me. The end is bittersweet.
I learned a lot from my residents and our staff. In the midst of move-outs, seeing some of my residents leave is sad. There have been tearful goodbyes and heart to hearts. I’ve never been good at goodbyes and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.
I felt bad about leaving so much of what I have behind at Wayne State until I realized that even though I am helping students here in Detroit, by no means is this the only place that I can help people. And the same goes for what I aspire to do in life- it’s less about what I want to do and more about how I want to influence others.
If you get anything out of this post, I hope it is the importance of seeking out what feels like home, what makes you the happiest, the most alive. And going after it because you owe it to yourself.
“do it now”
This has definitely been a year of losing myself and trying to find myself.
Peace out Wayne State housing.