Chappelear for Half the YearBy: Alexis GrovesAlarm goes off. It’s 9:30a.m. Katie Anderson has a long day ahead of her. Herschedule consists of three classes, two meals with friends, papers to write, and anight shift to work from 8p.m. to 12a.m.Anderson is a sophomore Resident Adviser (R.A.) in James Madison University’sVillage residence hall, Chappelear. However, her story isn’t a typical R.A.’s story.Last semester, Anderson lived in Converse Hall with a roommate, new friends, andhad an R.A. of her own. Over winter break, she received a call asking if she was stillinterested in being an R.A. and before she knew it, she was moving into a completelynew surrounding as if it were the first day of school all over again.The Office of Residence Life receives an abundant number of R.A. applications eachsemester. Whether it is because the position includes free room and board, a roomto oneself, or the ability to live on campus, the Office of Residence Life continuouslyhas a wide selection of applicants to choose from. Applications are always kept onfile just in case there are situations like this one, in which the previous R.A. inChappelear chose to leave halfway through the academic year.“There is an alternate pool of R.A. applicants who were either not hired the first timearound because there wasn’t enough room or because they applied late,” said JennyMantz, Administrative Assistant of the Office of Residence Life.Anderson was one of the applicants who chose to apply late because she wasoriginally unsure whether or not the job was right for her.“I had thought about it before but I never did anything. So one day in November, Ijust went down to the Office of Residence Life and told them I was interested inbecoming an R.A. for next semester, if any spaces were available,” said Anderson.However, once she accepted the offer, she knew she made the right decision.Although she may have been a little nervous at first, Anderson began to feel right athome with Chappelear’s open and welcoming arms. This was a big change forAnderson because she not only had to adjust from a hall-style dorm to a suite-styleone, but she also had to start building relationships with her fellow residents for asecond time.“I absolutely adore her. She’s a sweetheart, really nice, peppy, outgoing, and alwayshappy,” said suitemate sophomore Jordan Tignor.“If she is there, her door is always open,” added suitemate sophomore LaurenBunch.A resident adviser is a job that keeps students on their toes. Anderson has had facesand names to memorize, bulletin boards to make, community programs to plan, and
a variety of shifts to work. An R.A. can only take four day off per month and mustremain at school the rest of the time. Furthermore, R.A.s must check and inspecttheir residents’ rooms before they are able to leave for Thanksgiving, winter, andspring break.Since Anderson became an R.A. mid-year, she did not experience any of the summertraining that other R.A.s had. The Chappelear Hall Director, Josh Vargas, took theliberty of introducing Anderson to the other Chappelear R.A.s, hosted meetings, andgave her the basic 411 of what the job entails.“Katie has been great to work with. She is a great addition to our program and shedefinitely has a love for her job,” added sophomore R.A. Alicia Hesse.Although it is a job that consists of responsibilities and a time commitment, R.A.soften participate in other leisure activities as well. Anderson enjoys playing thebassoon and is an active member of Sigma Alpha Iota (SAI), which is a professionalwomen’s music fraternity. In addition, she is part of the Double Reeds club, which isa club for JMU students who play either the bassoon or oboe.Most residents fear their R.A.s until they simply take the time to get to know them.The Office of Residence Life provides R.A.s at JMU valuable resources andinformation to give to their residents. For instance, they have contact informationfor the First Year Involvement (FYI) writing center and other places for homeworkhelp.“I want to be able to be there for my residents if they ever need anything at all,” saidAnderson.Unfortunately, Anderson will be living off campus next year since she signed herlease in October, before she became an R.A. However, she is almost positive that shewill reapply for the job her senior year.