Being a Resident Director was THE best job I’ve ever had. It was a job that I did not deserve to get and that was in every way possible ordained by God. I’ve seen the way they/we (when I was a we) interview people, the applications that stand out, the experience required. It made absolutely no sense for me to get a job as an RD other than the favor of God. I’ve already talked about the restoring power this job had for my ability to believe God could use me in ministry again as I got to do the ultimate version of women’s ministry living life with 100+ girls and mentoring 20+ RAs, I’ve told you about my love for pouring into a younger generation of women, you’ve met one of my fellow former RD’s Brittany, you’ll get to hear about the amazing RAs I got to love on soon, but today I get to tell you about my peers – fellow former RDs that I got to work with for 3 1/2 years.
RD life is unlike any other job life. A lot of times it didn’t feel like work at all and just felt like I was getting paid to have fun and live my life. It is definitely a job with a lifespan for most people though. As beautiful as it is, which is what I’m going to talk about most, it’s definitely a “for a season” type job. I think some people can successfully be called to it for long term! But I think the beauty of it is that so many people get to be called to it for a short time, learn incredible things about leadership and professionalism as they serve, and move on to future things as better employees, and humans, than they would have been without that season. People often ask why I left if it was my dream job, and the answer is simple and not simple. Simple answer, God said it was time to go. Not simple answer is that as I started to get older and realize the age gap between me and my students was continually growing, in a lot of ways I realized my healthiest life probably wasn’t trying to keep up anymore. Things happen when you get old! You need sleep, routine, sleep, a home with a little more boundaries, and sleep. I have absolutely no regrets or bad memories from being Resident Director. And I miss it! I’m happy and my life is amazing and I know I couldn’t host and be as involved in the lives of people closer to my age if I hadn’t moved on, so no regrets. But I say all that to say, I look back on my 3 1/2 years of RD life with nothing but fondness and only left because God said it was time, not for any bad reasons or on any bad terms.
Every year I worked there I got to work with some combination of 8-10 amazing people. I’m going to talk about many of them in a minute, but I want to share some of my favorite general memories first. I’m a Myers-Briggs ENFJ unwavering every single time. ENFJ’s thrive the most in work environments that involve working with a team. Working in the context of a team brought out the best in me! We challenged each other, we pushed each other, we had a blast, and we really loved each other and became a family. We met together weekly for staff meeting, which was always a blast, but beyond that we actually liked each other and became a solid community of adults living with college kids on campus. We watched each other grow, we saw each others potential, we beamed with pride when we saw one another be good at our jobs. Don’t get me wrong, there were hard parts! I still can’t explain how any RD (and Directors of Housing) survive training weeks other than some sort of supernatural adrenaline that kicks in. RDs train for a week, prepare for training RAs all summer, and then train RAs for two weeks. Three weeks of no-sleep, really fun, crazy busy exhausting training. The prep work that happens before a building can open is exhausting and physically intense. The work that has to happen to close down a building is even more exhausting and physically intense. And then there are on call nights/weeks! You are on call 24/7 on those days/weeks and any problem that happens in any residence hall on campus is your problem to fix and your fire to put out and then you have to fill out incident reports on all those problems and fires. And even when you aren’t on call, students and RAs can and will knock on your door way past working hours. BUT, it was beautiful. In the exhausting moments, sleep deprived hilarity often broke out. You don’t even want to stop or slack on your job when you have an amazing team working along side you, supporting one another to the core, and carrying each others burdens and weight when slacking moments did happen. We got paid to hang out with students, plan and attend events, and play sardines in empty buildings before students arrived. We got to watch our beautiful RAs grow into well rounded adults. We got to be the person they came to for advice. We got to love them and each other. My favorite moments ever year were at the beginning of the year and the end of the year. Three long, exhausting weeks of training always ended with a worship night for ResLife staff. We prayed over hiring them, we prayed for them all summer, and then we prayed prayers of commissioning over them for their new year with new students. At one of those worship nights, they turned it around on us. Those young, wise beyond their years college students wanted to pray for us! I will never forget that moment. And then at the end of the year we did cheesy, amazing things like having to pass around things with our names on them and our boss made us write encouraging things about one another. I still have every one of mine and CHERISH those words and every moment we got to live as a community of adults on campus together.
You’ve heard about Brittany already, but I have to mention a few others too. I LOVED them all, seriously I did, but some of these lovely people I got to work with for 2 and 3 years! It’s impossible not to leave a lasting impressive on someone when you operated as family together for that long. There were a few that I worked with for a super short time that made my very first semester to be thrown in as a Resident Director in the middle of a school year a lot less harder than it should have been. Beth worked there when I started. We worked together her very last semester of a long run of being an RD. I learned SO many things from her and wouldn’t have survived that first semester without her guidance and support. Heather started with me in the middle of the year! She was only there half a year, but she made me feel like I wasn’t alone in my newness, and that was invaluable. I only worked with Daniel for half a year too, but he was one of the most supportive and encouraging people I had ever met! That semester was the semester I was the most dedicated ever to weight loss. He was such a cheerleader for me in that journey and I appreciated it and needed that so much. Then the long timers like Britt! The first time I met Seth in his interview I knew we were going to be friends. We were the only two MC alum on our staff. Our love for our school and state ran deep! We basically strategically arranged things so our staffs would be friends so we could form what we called the alliance. We had smore nights, they provided us Sonic drinks and we provided them baked goods, and then we planned the most epic guy/girl collab residence hall event! Swing dancing + wings from Wingstop = Swingstop. It lived on past our time and we’re proud. Seth fiercely loves Jesus, is an amazing husband to Rebecca, and he’s pretty dang funny. Melony and I have a deep bond connected by hard past things no one should have to bond over but when you do it’s unbreakable! She’s ridiculously smart, wise beyond her years, the most amazing higher ed professional I know, and was the best RD I have ever seen. Melony is the type of person who makes you better at your job because you are inspired by the way she does her job! Her and Mike are the most perfect couple ever, and then there’s Kaiden! RD life is tight knit. We were there the day Melony announced she was pregnant, we were there literally almost every day Kaiden grew in her belly, present the day he was born, and there all through the first year of his life. We all got to be Kaiden’s family and it was beautiful and amazing! Trisha is the quirkiest and one of the most hilarious people I’ve ever met. Once we decided as a staff to plan an event for Pi day and Trisha proudly proclaimed that we should dress like pie (because that’s common and easy to do?). Trisha is also one of my Gospel family people! They no longer live in Clinton, but she’ll always be family to me. I could go on and on about these people and others – Jonathan, Jess, Travis, Jared, Simon, Brooke, Julie, Billy, Carrie, etc. Seriously all such amazing people, all made me laugh, all challenged me and taught me things just by being who they were. And the fearless leader of us all was Sharia. The lady knows how to train and grown and develop people! She knows how to build a team. She knows how to think outside the box. My time at MC as a Resident Director really changed and shaped me into a better professional, leader, and human in SO many ways and so much of the credit for that goes to the amazing people I got to work with and do life with.
This is part of my 31 People(s) I Love series. I’ll be writing about 31 people/peoples that I adore! Click here if you would like a list of all the posts in this series.