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What are Resident Assistants at Tropicana’s College Residence Hall and How Can They Assist Me?

As a Resident Assistant (RA) at Tropicana Gardens, there are a variety of different hats I wear: counselor, advisor, mediator, resource, programmer/event planner, and a friend.

Trop’s intensive RA training process has equipped me to deal with a variety of situations. Say you and your roommates seem to be butting heads a lot. That would be a predicament where you could come to me and ask for advice, or where I could help mediate the situation so you could all come to a mutual agreement.

Another instance where my help would come into play would be for any possible emergency. Every night, there are two RAs on “duty”, which means we are responsible for doing community walks of the building to ensure laws and our residence hall community standards are being followed, such as quiet hours and alcohol & drug policies. We also carry the duty phone, which you can call for a minor emergency (like being locked out of your room), but also for more extreme situations.

Because RAs are generally sophomores (there may be juniors and seniors as well), we’re a valuable resource for you. We’ve “been there and done that” at Santa Barbara City College and we’ve lived in Isla Vista and Santa Barbara for at least a year. So we can help you with bus schedules, tell you how to get around on campus, and even give you our reviews of local coffee shops and restaurants!

One of my favorite parts of the RA job is hosting events and programs, with a goal of building relationships within our community. RAs try to incorporate a variety of diverse experiences such as painting a canvas, trips to Disneyland, paintball tournaments, and s’mores nights. We love having input from our residents about what types of events would interest them. My favorite function that I hosted with fellow RA Evelin was Trop’s first ever Winter Formal dance. It took a lot more planning than most programs, but a resident committee helped us create a magical winter wonderland. We had a great turn out and danced the night away.

You can kind of see how this job isn’t like a normal 9-5 job. I have a lot on my plate when it comes to my RA responsibilities, and I also have my schoolwork to think about. It’s my residents who make it all worth it.

When I first met all of my residents, I didn’t know what they were going to think of me. Being a theater major I’m a very “out there” person, which can be a lot for people to handle. However my residents seemed to enjoyed my personality and felt comfortable coming to me for questions and advice. During the year I got to know my residents on a very personal level, which made saying our goodbyes harder than I expected. There were nights where I’d go over to their rooms to help with homework or they’d come to mine to watch the classic “Land Before Time” series on Netflix. I cannot express how lucky I am to have known this group of individuals, many of whom I now consider to be my friends.

I think the best way to sum up the RA’s job is that we’re really here to make sure you have the best year possible. We all remember how scary freshmen year can seem, not having the support of your family and friends, and we truly want to make to this transition as smooth as possible.

Carolyn B.

Carolyn is a SBCC student majoring in Theatre Arts. She calls Palo Alto, California her home. Carolyn is living at Tropicana Gardens for her second year as a Resident Assistant. Some of her hobbies include having game nights, going on road trips, and baking delicious desserts. A random fact about Carolyn is that she loves The Hunger Games and Disneyland!

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