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I don’t know how I did it, but I survived a 3-year-long career as a Resident Assistant. I got out alive with a degree and some seriously crazy memories. Last week my night was ruined by an adorable little kitten, and this week? Well, my residents failed. Big time. This is my crazy RA life and yes, these are all true stories!

No matter how wonderful your residents are, there will always be one or two bad seeds. I got lucky with amazing residents who respected my job and the rules and avoided putting me in awkward positions. But, I was unlucky when it came to dealing with drunken shenanigans (okay, who am I kidding? You already knew that!) And so, those one or two bad seeds? More like awful seeds. Truly awful.

This one suite of guys who lived in my building my second year as an RA found their way onto my floor again, and while I was happy to have them back as some of them were total sweethearts, I was also a little disappointed. Some were definitely not. In fact, some managed to be my residents for two years and never speak to me.

Fine, that’s not really that big of a deal. RA lesson #1: Some residents will like you, and some just won’t no matter what you do. Cool. I can deal with that.

But you know what I can’t deal with?

Ridiculous parties twice a week, every week. Music that’s so loud that I can’t hear myself think. Living 3 doors down (band reference unintended!) from the sloppy freshmen party hub. Drunk guests walking out of the party down the hall and ripping down my decorations. Those are things I can’t deal with (or, rather, I could, I just felt it was unnecessary to have to deal with it. Maturity, people!)

RA lesson # 2: The “cool” guys on campus? They like Taylor Swift. A lot.

Even though it drove me crazy, I was nice about it. I let them have their fun and I didn’t intrude unless I witnessed rule-breaking firsthand. Other RAs called Public Safety on them just for loud music; other residents knocked on their door, but it was to no avail.

And then one day, the unthinkable happened.

The Lockout

It was around 12:30 AM on a Saturday night and I had just finished submitting an incident report (really? I wasn’t even on duty that night!) when I heard a knock on my door.

It was one of the guys from down the hallway (where, if I’m not mistaken, I could’ve sworn I heard music blaring earlier that night – suddenly, it was quiet…)

“Hey, Brittney?” he said, inquisitively.

“Wait, you’re actually speaking to me?” I thought to myself. “What’s up?” I responded.

“Can I, uh…can I borrow your keys?” he stammered.

“My keys?” I asked. “You mean, my master key? You’re locked out?”

“Yeah, I got locked out of my bedroom,” he answered.

“Well, I mean, I can’t let you borrow my master keys because I’m not allowed to let anyone else use them, but I’d be happy to unlock your door for you,” I told him.

“Okay. Thanks!”

“No problem,” I said. I grabbed my keys from their hiding place and walked with him down the hallway.

About 3 feet before approaching his suite, he said, “It’s okay that we’re playing beer pong in here, right?”

Wrong. So, so wrong.

“Uhm, no, actually. That’s against policy…so…” I tried to respond. He cut me off.

“Oh, really? Uh….hold on!” he told me, panicked, as he ran into his suite and slammed the door behind him.

I knocked on the door. Another student answered, only cracking the door slightly. “Brittney! What are you doing here?”

“I’m letting Matt* into his room. He got locked out. I need you to open the door,” I instructed.

“But Matt’s right here!” He slammed the door in my face, again.

I knocked again. I tried the handle, but the door was locked. “Listen,” I began as the door cracked open again. “Matt came to me and said he was locked out. I already know that you guys are playing beer pong because he told me. You need to open the door and let me in.”

Matt finally opened the door and let me in. The smell of stale beer flooded the air and the recycling bins were filled with solo cups and cans. I saw only 21 year olds, and no table. There wasn’t much I could do. I unlocked Matt’s bedroom door and as I turned around, another bedroom door swung open.

Smooth Move

RA lesson #3: No matter how hard drunk residents try to hide the evidence, the alcohol usually leads them to fail at it. Miserably.

There I saw their beer pong indiscretion in all its glory! Freshmen, sophomores, and the table complete with cups aligned perfectly. I had no cell phone with me, so I had to step out into the hallway to use the emergency phone to call Public Safety. The phone was no more than 1 foot away from their door. I told them to stay put and that I would be right outside their door. They had other plans.

All of the under-aged guests? They walked out (note: they did not run. They walked. Rather confidently, might I add!) towards the elevator. I calmly yelled out for them to come back.

And then this happened:

One of the girls stopped, turned around, and yelled, “I don’t have to listen to you, YOU F****** B****!”

Oh hell no!

Needless to say, Public Safety arrived very quickly. And then, they became my best friends. I had already gone back to my room when 20 minutes later, they knocked on my door.

“Well, we just wanted to tell you this: they admitted to everything. But more importantly, we lectured them for how poorly they treated you and told them that you deserve more respect than that. They were very apologetic.” We talked about the situation for a few more minutes before they turned to leave.

But wait! The story doesn’t end there. What do you think this is?!

I had just sat down to write up the incident report when I heard a very humbled knock on my door.

“Hey Brittney,” Matt said, quietly.

I looked at him, unsure of what would happen next.

“So, you’re never going to believe this,” he said, “but, I’m locked out of my room again.”

I bit my lip in an attempt to stifle my laughter.

“Okay, let me just get my keys,” I said. We walked out into the hallway.

“Before we go any further,” I began, “can I just ask you a question?”

“Yeah?” he asked, sounding a little irritated.

“There’s nothing illegal happening in there, right?”


I let out a little chuckle.

He did not.


Stay tuned ’til next Wednesday when My Crazy RA Life returns!

*Names have been changed. Image courtesy of wolfsavard via Flickr (CC by 2.0)