Upon getting to campus on move-in day with nervous jitters overwhelming you, the first friendly faces you see are those of your RAs. And by friendly, I mean very friendly.
It is an incredibly uplifting feeling when your RAs call you by name and cheer for you as you haul your luggage into your new dorm as a freshman, not knowing whether or not this place will feel like home. The enthusiastic cheering made me smile. After being greeted by their bright faces and passionate personalities, I proceeded to continue with the move-in process. That’s cool, I thought. They greet everyone by name. And then I moved on — not thinking much more of it.
But what I’ve come to realize is the incredible amount of effort that must have gone into that moment to make each freshman feel special and welcome. The RAs spent hours matching and memorizing names and faces just to create that smile, that momentary feeling of “Okay, this is going to be all right,” for all the freshmen as they move in.
Since then, my appreciation for my RAs in West Lag and for all those who have the courage to take on the role of an RA has only increased. In the spirit of gratitude, here is a letter to my RAs:
To my fabulous RAs,
I’m going to be honest: Before coming to Stanford, I had a not-so-good expectation for RAs. Not that I thought you wouldn’t be great people, but according to the stereotypical descriptions of college RAs, I thought you were just going to be the people to go to in the dorm if there was some kind of issue, the people that facilitated cringe-worthy icebreakers and the people who would get you in trouble if you were talking too loud in the hall after quiet hours. What I have discovered, however, is that you all are so much more.
I distinctly remember on the first night of college, when I was extremely nervous for what was to come, you rounded us up for our first house meeting and explained that, in short, your role was to help make us feel at home. As soon as you said that, I felt a knot loosen in my stomach, knowing that there were people there whose job it was to make us feel comfortable and at home. But more than your words or your job description, your actions have comforted me and made Stanford my new home.
So I want to thank you. Thank you for always being a friendly face to sit with in the dining halls. Thank you for getting us in the school spirit by leading chants and rolling out with us to events. Thank you for having your doors open for us to come in and chat whenever. Thank you for being there to take care of us after a wild weekend night. Thank you for hosting cute, creative on-calls that remind us that a Friday night doesn’t have to be wild to be fun. Thank you for baking for us, for fixing our Wi-Fi, for explaining football to us, for teaching us how to do laundry, for checking in on us after rough weeks, for creating a tight-knit vibe in our dorm and for being our friends.
I sometimes forget that on top of all of this, you all are students, too, stressing over midterms and grad school applications, going to office hours, participating in clubs and hanging out with your friends from other dorms. This just makes you all the more amazing. Believe me when I say that I admire and look up to you so much while simultaneously considering you my friends. You have gone above and beyond your job description — you have created a family in the dorm. I couldn’t be more thankful.
Contact Angie Lee at angielee ‘at’ stanford.edu.