Get to Know the University: Advice from RAs

Resident Assistants have a lot of knowledge about students at Scranton and how to be students at Scranton. RAs are responsible students who supervise and assist other students. 

If you are ever having a problem or just need advice, be sure to talk to an RA– which is exactly what we did!

Emma Graham ‘20, Brian Martin ‘20, Tate Ackerman ‘20 and Katie Donnelly ‘20 have been RAs for different dorms and apartments for varying amounts of years. 

The four are seniors, so they have a lot of college-life knowledge and experience.

Below, find some valuable advice these RAs have for you in your college endeavors.

EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION WITH ROOMMATE(S)

The best way to start off the new year with your roommate(s) is to establish rules and expectations for and with each other. Something widely suggested is writing down this agreement and having each roommate sign it. This way, you can keep each other accountable.

If something your roommate(s) is doing is bothering you, tell them. It makes a situation worse to be passive-aggressive about it. Also, your roommate(s) may not know that something they are doing is bothering you, so it is best to be forward about any issues.

SMART TIME MANAGEMENT

Planners and calendars are a common theme when it comes to time management. 

When you get your syllabi, map out things as far in advance as you can. This will allow you to pinpoint the days/weeks that are very busy.

When you schedule your days, include your extracurriculars, as they are important, too. Some even suggested scheduling out things like meals, naps and gym time. It is important to give yourself breaks and set aside time to relieve any pending stress.

GET OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE

It may seem scary to try new things and meet new people, but everyone at college is experiencing the same thing as you — especially as first-year students.

Get out of your comfort zone by joining clubs, getting involved on campus, spending time in your lounge and keeping your residence hall door open. Putting yourself into uncomfortable situations can pay off in amazing ways. You may meet your best friend by stopping by someone’s open dorm room and introducing yourself. You could expand your social sphere by joining something that you have never done before.

GET INVOLVED

Speaking of getting involved, the RAs we spoke with had suggestions about how to get involved on campus. They emphasized getting involved in service.

“Service is a fantastic way to make new friends while also making a difference in the community. The Center for Service and Social Justice, Campus Ministries and many more offices and clubs on campus are always looking for volunteers!” Ackerman said.

The opportunities for service range all the way up to International Service Trips. 

Besides service, students can get involved in clubs, sports, retreats, etc. Getting involved in organizations or groups is an effective way to meet people outside of your major, year and living area. 

The more you get involved with the University, the more you will get out of your time at the University.

BEST PLACES TO ESCAPE CAMPUS

Sometimes you just need to escape campus. Whether it is to do work at a coffee shop, go out to dinner, go see a movie or just shop, there are many options in the surrounding area. 

Adezzo and Northern Lights are two highly-suggested coffee shops within walking distance of campus. Both have great coffee and offer a great environment to do work or just hang out. 

For restaurants, Ale Mary’s and Backyard Ale House are two staples for pub-style food near campus. For brunch, Downtown Deli and Henry’s on Clay are popular among students. 

You can find shopping options downtown, in Dickson City and some other surrounding areas.

In addition, Montage Mountain often offers student deals for skiing/snowboarding, and there are discounted movie tickets on Tuesdays at Cinemark Theater in Moosic and the Cosmic Cinemas downtown.

HOW TO MAKE THE BEST OF YOUR TIME AT SCRANTON…

As students at Scranton, we have an amazing opportunity to create a great college experience for ourselves. The key to this is that we can create it for ourselves. Students should be active participants in the community, as well as considerate to others and open to new things. 

Here is some final advice on how to make the best of your time at Scranton.  

“Definitely try to connect with as many people as you can, especially people outside of your major. You’re easily going to be able to become friends with people who you have class with every semester for four years, but it’s nice to be able to get out of that bubble. Also, get to know your professors. Most of them are really cool people who you may even become friends with or be able to have as a resource after you graduate,” Graham said.

“Overall, you have to be open to all that will be offered to you during your time at Scranton. Your time at the University will be filled with undertaking new educational opportunities, meeting new people from all over the country, forging lifelong friendships, and enjoying countless new and exciting experiences. Stay open to everything, seek out new opportunities to try, and don’t be afraid to push your comfort zone,” Martin said.

“Don’t stick with majors, clubs, or jobs that make you unhappy. Resilience is important in some cases, but it is also important to put yourself first and focus on the college experience that you want to have,” Ackerman said.

Take chances on new opportunities, get involved, and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. We go to such a uniquely friendly campus that you can meet new people so, so easily. Make time for your friends, but also make time for yourself when needed. Spend that extra $10-20 bucks if it means you get off-campus for a change of scenery. Remember that time flies fast, so find joy and fun each day as best you can,” Donnelly said.

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