Summer Internship Helps Resident Assistant Find Her Voice
(Pictured: Brooke Hall)
Late night parties, homesick freshmen, and general mayhem can make a college dorm resident assistant feel like they are going through a meatgrinder. But a trip to Florida helped Brooke Hall take on the daring task of managing the first floor of Stuyvesant Hall job with a calm and confident manner. The 21-year-old Hall understands what her young charges are going through. She does her best to handle the stress that comes with her sometimes-thankless job.
“People make it sound really daunting, and it’s not a walk in the park, but it’s a lot less awful than they say. I didn’t know that, though. I just wanted to help.”
The resident assistant takes on her position with a strength that makes you take her seriously, regardless of what you’re talking about to her. Speaking with a calm, confident tone and body language that is animated, but never nervous, it’s easy to speak with her, and that’s exactly what she’s trying to cultivate as an RA.
This calm, strong demeanor may have never bloomed if it wasn’t for a fateful internship in Florida one summer. Hall saved up for housing, food, and accommodations and moved to Florida for 10 weeks to participate in an internship.
“It really was life-changing, I think living like that made me more confident and able to handle lots of different situations. I came back a totally different person.”
She admits that before embarking on that journey she was “indecisive and kinda shy,” but took the chance with the internship. This sparked her to branch out from her old college, which wasn’t taking her in the direction she wanted, and coming to Ohio Wesleyan University where her advisor became her greatest ally.
The experience of transferring from another university taught her to realize the difficulties that come with changing schools.
“Upperclassmen and transfer students don’t really have the same resources available to them that freshmen do, and I want to change that.”
She decided to do her part in assisting transfer students and others in the OWU community by becoming an RA.
It’s easy to see the impact of her choice, too. Her residents at Stuyvesant have nothing but positive things to say about her.
“She’s more like a mom than an RA, but in a good way. Definitely keeps things in order like a mom, though,” said Hannah Green, a 20-year-old resident. Hall goes out of her way to make residents feel at home through a combination of her liberal open-door policy and extra effort such as taping bags of candy to resident doors. She also works in an open, professional way at the Smith Help Desk.
“Some people just fool around with friends while they’re working there, but I always make sure to keep it clear enough so anyone who needs help feels comfortable asking.”
The Smith Help Desk undergoes long periods of downtime, but she always keeps her head up and eyes peeled, looking out for any students that might need help, even with benign things.
“People put each other down when they ask for help, especially upperclassmen. Like, ‘You don’t know where Rock’s office is? Really? You’re a junior, come on’. No question is stupid to me, though, I get it. I really do.”
An earnest passion comes in her eyes when anyone comes to Smith, no matter how mundane. She always stops what she is doing to help them in a confident, friendly tone.
Hall provides a steady stream of insight to anyone of any age or grade who needs it, even people outside of her RA group. When asked what advice she would give everyone on her floor, she replied instantly and without hesitation.
“I would say to do something that scares you. I took a big leap, and now I’m happier and more confident than I’ve ever been.”
A daring trip to Florida helped Hall find the path to help people both in her exercise science major, and in the more immediate sense as an RA. She’s a real-life example of how challenging yourself benefits the community.