Stephen Mathews

Resident Assistant (RA)

Senior

English- Creative Writing, Minor in Deaf Studies

Hometown- Urbana, Ohio

 

I came to Wright State in the fall of 2013, and I lived in the Woods my first semester. After that first semester I took a semester off. This was a challenging decision, I knew I would be behind, and that finances were an issue. The most difficult part of the decision was knowing that I had such a successful first semester and would not be able to continue that right away. Wright State got qualities out of me that I did not have in high school. I was more active, met a lot of new people, and my grades were very good. I knew I would need to work a lot to be able to come back, and that is what I did. I found out about the RA job during my semester off, and I decided to apply. In my opinion, this was the best decision Residence Life and Housing has ever made! It gave me a chance to come back to school with financial benefits and live comfortably, as well as the experiences that I wanted and could invest in.

One of the most challenging experiences as an RA is being faced with resident issues. Freshman year is difficult for everyone, especially when you are living away from home. Mental health issues are present, and being able to switch from these sensitive issues back to reality can be challenging. This is a dynamic job, and sometimes the aspects of it can be hard to follow.

One positive experience I have gained from the RA job is it has given me the ability to have a personal creative outlook. A program that was my idea my first year as a RA has become a tradition for my community. Color the Woods Color Run gave me the opportunity to be creative and also know I have the capability to create something and follow through start to finish. I have more programming ideas now and I love having the creative freedom to make them a reality. It allows me to express myself in different was through decorating and programming and allows me to add my own flair. This job is completely what you make of it, and it can be positive if that is what you choose!

A way that I decompress from the sometimes high-stress aspect of being an RA is through sports. I love the competitive atmosphere, and it is nice to let things out and compete. Sport to me can be anything from social activities, volleyball with friends, to even a university sponsored kickball tournament. Getting active is a great way for you to relax.

The most rewarding thing about the RA position to me is meeting all different types of people, whether those meetings result in good or bad things. Creating this repertoire of people has shown me who I am and want to be as a person. I have made friends for life and they have shaped me into who I am today. Also through this position I have found my passion and future career path in Student Affairs.

If I could give advice to anyone considering being an RA, I would tell them to take up the opportunity. In the end we only regret the chances we didn’t take. There are so many benefits to this position, not just free room and board. You will grow as a person and as an aspiring professional.