How often is it that one is offered the chance to become a Community Assistant after the school year has already started? Sophomore Business Management major Emily Frye is in that position this year.
The role of a Community Assistant—in addition to being responsible for a group of residents—is to enforce campus policies. Summer workshops and training sessions are required to help C.A.s learn how to better protect their residents.
Frye, who took the position in the University Courts following the absence of the previously selected CA, plans to use her new role in preparation for her future and personal growth
TP: What was your residence experience like before becoming a C.A.?
EF: I was a resident in Robertshaw Hall last year, and I really enjoyed living on campus in general. I am involved with a lot of activities so it was convenient to already be on campus and ready to go. This year, before my CA position, I was actually a commuter. Commuting was a whole new experience for me, and I found it hard to adjust in my first week.
TP: What skills and responsibilities are C.A.s required to have?
EF: To be a CA, you need to have a high level of responsibility because when it comes down to it, your residents’ safety, both physically and emotionally, is most often times in your hands. I would also say that organization is a skill that is not necessarily needed to be a CA, but if you were unorganized then your job would be ten times harder. In addition, you have to be compassionate and caring towards others, both your own residents and others’ residents.
TP: How do you think serving as a C.A. will change you personally or impact your goals for your future?
EF: I personally feel that having the responsibility of being a CA will help me obtain a job in the professional world someday. I am a Business Management major and I would like to have a management position someday. I feel that this job as a CA is going to be the most realistic training for me to test and refine my management skills.
TP: What sacrifices, if any, have you made to accommodate your new role?
EF: Being a CA takes up a lot of time, more than I have ever realized. I recently had to give up an independent college winter guard group that I was a part of last winter. This group requires me to be away from campus 6-12 hours on the weekends during the Spring semester, and because of duty I will not be able to be away from campus that long. It was hard, but I think this CA position will help me in the long run far more than winter guard.
TP: How has being a C.A. changed you?
EF: So far, I have made a ton of new friends being a CA and just from being involved on campus. I really changed a lot from last year where I would hardly come out of my room, and I think that this position has gotten me even further out of my shell.
TP: When did you get the offer to be a CA for the courts? Who recommended you?
EF: I got the offer to be a CA late one night after a tennis match; it was the same day as the interview actually. This was just an unexpected surprise to me and I was shocked. I did not even directly apply for this position. Tara Ritenour [junior and CA of Marshall House] came up to me during the Big Bang and explained to me that a position was open and that she was going to recommend me if I was okay with it. I wanted to be a CA my junior year so I figured, why not get my name out there for next year? I truly did not anticipate even getting the position, not because I doubted myself, but because it was so out-of-the-blue and unexpected.
TP: When did you have time to learn everything a CA needs to know?
EF: The transition from being a resident last year to a CA this year is different but not as bad as I expected. Honestly, it feels like being a resident but with more responsibility, effort, and time put in to help build community in your residence hall. I am slowly training while on the job because I missed the two-week summer training session. I meet with my Resident Director, Brian Root, once a week and we go over the manual and he answers my questions. Even though I have been here two weeks, I am still learning more things about this position every day; it is a learning process for me.
TP: What advice do you have for anyone interested in being a CA?
EF: My advice to anyone considering applying is to simply apply. I never expected this and I am sure you could surprise yourself. Also, get involved because that gives you experience and a foundation for some of the basics of being a CA.