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James learns skills for her future teaching career

Alanna James is director of the Programming and Activity Council (PAC), vice president of the Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA), an officer in Mortar Board, and a first-semester Resident Assistant (RA) for West Village Apartments from Alvarado, Texas.

When she originally applied to be an RA last spring, she got put on a waiting list. Then, during the summer, she got a call from the hall director of West Village Apartments, Rachael Mitchell, offering her the job.

Alanna James is an RA for West Village, and her favorite things are pastel pink, fettuccine alfredo, cats, listening to music, and taking naps.
Photo contributed by Alanna James

James, a 22-year-old senior history with a secondary certification major, wrote in an email that she hopes to be a high school history teacher. She decided she wanted to be an RA to gain the skills she will need for her career.

“I felt that [being an RA] would give me experience with management and problem solving for my future job in teaching, and it does,” she wrote. “Teachers have to know how to manage large groups of people, do welfare checks, and be strict on documentation. I’m doing that now as an RA so it will definitely help when I become a teacher that I already have experience doing those things.”

James wrote that she does various things as an RA.

“I check in with my residents and see how they are doing, write incident reports if I see anything that goes against school policy, provide damage control for situations when they come around, help residents with personal or roommate problems, put on events for my building, hold the RA on-call phone, and do rounds,” she wrote.

With a lot of responsibilities, James wrote, the job can be stressful at times.

“The most stressful part of the job for me would be being on call. It’s stressful for me because I often do not get much sleep when I am on call and I can get stressed out when I don’t sleep enough. But other than that I enjoy my job so it’s not that stressful,” James wrote.

James wrote that her favorite part of being an RA is helping residents.

“I like it when I can help a resident with an issue they are having and make them feel better about the situation,” she wrote.

Life as an RA is busy and unpredictable.

“Being an RA is different than most jobs because we don’t really have set hours, we are always RAs when we are on campus,” she wrote. “I have a pretty busy schedule as a student, but as an RA I also have to be prepared in case I have a resident who needs to talk to me or I have to stop what I am doing to take control of a situation.”

James wrote that she usually gets about two calls a night.

“The majority of calls I get are when someone accidentally locked themselves out of their rooms, but I do get calls every now and then asking me to deal with a situation,” James wrote.

Mitchell wrote in an email that James has a strong work ethic and is serious about her commitments.

“When [James] agrees to take on any sort of responsibility, she does it to a level that exceeds expectations every time, often because it is something she’s passionate about and cares about the positive change she can make on the Texas Wesleyan campus,” Mitchell wrote.

Sarah Ouimet, assistant dean of students for Residence Life, wrote that James is friendly, responsible, and down to earth.

“She is true to who she is as a person and has a true passion for serving others. I think that she is going to be an amazing teacher,” Ouimet wrote.

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James learns skills for her future teaching career