During my two years living on-campus at Stuyvesant Park I had the pleasure of getting to know Anna Keller Sarmiento! Anna is a fourth year BAFA student, studying Interior Design at Parsons and Visual Arts at Eugene Lang. Anna also has one of the most coveted on-campus jobs as a resident advisor, I mean, who wouldn’t want free housing? But, being an RA is also a lot of hard work! I chatted with Anna to gain a little more insight about dorm life at Kerrey Hall, what it’s like being an RA as well as tips for future candidates!
Lauren Davis: Hey Anna! So let’s get right to it, what made you become an RA and why did you decide on Kerrey Hall?
Anna Keller Sarmiento: I lived in Stuy Park as a resident my freshman year and became an RA there in my second year. Then, in my third year I studied abroad in Italy. Now, in my fourth year I am at Kerrey Hall! When I applied I chose Kerrey mostly for the location; but also, I thought it would be really challenging and interesting to work with upperclassman because I had previously worked primarily with freshman.
LD: What’s the community like here at Kerrey?
AKS: The community is very diverse. We have special interests communities here such as the “Green” Floor, Healthy Living Floor, Honor Floor and we also have lots of music students. It really depends on the type of student you are how active you are here. I am very involved with hall council. RAing and creating programs. But I know some people might not be as into that, and that’s okay too.
LD: What kind of programs do you guys have?
AKS: So, as RA’s we are obligated to do two programs per month. One is a building wide program and the other is a floor program. The programs we have vary from the typical movie and Super Bowl night to something we have called Socrates Cafe, where we discuss more intense subjects. That program is every Sunday and we like to just keep the ambiance very open so that residents feel they have a comfortable place to express themselves. Hall Council also organizes events for the building. They did a great Halloween party and an Easter Hunt a couple weeks ago. It’s always on-going. Every week you have a lot of different opportunities to get involved.
LD: Because Kerrey Hall is a predominately upperclassman dorm do they still participate as well?
AKS: Yes. I was really surprised actually. I think at Stuy Park I expected more participation; however, people really do get involved here. It’s awesome.
LD: How can residents become involved within their dorm communities?
AKS: Hall Council is really a great way to be involved. If you are interested in planning events or just helping out in any way. We have a President, Vice-President, Treasurer, Secretary, etc. It’s really well planned. I remember when I was an RA at Stuy i would ask my residents to organize a program for the rest of the floor. It became a more collaborative way to interact with them and give them a leadership opportunity as well. I would definitely suggest residents talk to their RA or other RA’s because there is always a way to participate.
LD: What’s the most challenging aspect about being an RA?
AKS: My first year it was definitely time managmenet. I learned a lot about prioritizing and giving more importantace to some things over others. This year, time management has not been such a struggle. I have had more issues with maintaining being profressional and friendly with residents at the same time. I’m dealing with graduate students and people who are my age or slightly older so you become very close with them; but, it becomes hard to keep it professional because you also want to be cool with them also.
LD: I can imagine that being difficult! What advice would you give to a student looking to become an RA?
AKS: I didn’t realize how competitive it was, but it’s a very competitive process. I think i realized once I was on the other side and I was an RA and saw the application process. I would say, just be very true to what you answer and be very true to yourself. If they want you on the team they want you because of who you are and how you think and how you may stand out and really be an asset to the team.
LD: Looking back on your time, what has been the most rewarding thing about being an RA?
AKS: Well, when I was a freshman I thought all of the RA’s were really big losers. I didn’t think it was very cool. But little did I know that the people I work with in this job have been the very people to challenge me the most in my thinking, developing and becoming the person I am right now. So, now that I’m graduating I’m just trying to cherish these people mostly because they are all incredible and really want the best for other people. They are all here to help.
LD: A lot of first time students might be contemplating living on or off-campus, why do you feel living on-campus is important?
AKS: I think it’s a great way to meet people. Especially if you’re new to the community. I think it’s really smart to be in this enviroment. Also, statistically it’s known that if you live in the dorms your GPA is usually higher. Students usually do better when they live in the dorms and they are surrounded by people who are also going through the same experiences. I would say for meeting people and getting good grades, that’s why you’re here, right? Learn and meet cool people!
Huge thanks to Anna for chatting with the blog!