Event Title

Work and Personal Life Boundaries of Resident Assistants

Mentor 1

Sarah Riforgiate

Start Date

16-4-2021 12:00 AM

Description

Resident assistants (RAs) support undergraduate students in college residence halls by serving as a resource and mentor to residents while promoting campus rules/policies. RA responsibilities alongside being a full-time student can be a large load, prompting RAs to navigate boundaries between their RA work and personal life. This qualitative study of 11 RAs leverages organizational assimilation theory to explore communication experiences of RAs’ perceptions of personal and professional boundaries. Participants were asked about their experiences and understanding of their position as a RA and how they negotiate work and private life demands using a range of communication strategies. RAs’ experiences of the stages of organizational assimilation shaped how RAs differentiated between student and staff roles. During the vocational anticipatory socialization, RAs who learned about the position from a friend/family member created a more structured schedule between schoolwork, student involvement, and being a RA later in the encounter stage. These RAs’ were able to experience the metamorphosis stage while successfully distinguishing between work/life boundaries. Strategies implemented by RAs included establishing appropriate times for personal breaks and scheduling meetings with residents. These strategies enabled RAs to exit the position with leadership and teamwork skills, while also recommending the position to others. In contrast, RAs who developed expectations through training were not prepared for the time commitment and responsibilities during the encounter stage. As a result, these RAs described high levels of stress, less motivation, and disconnect from their personal lives, which reduced their ability to experience metamorphosis and differentiate their roles as students and staff. These RAs did not recommend being an RA to students and chose not to continue as a RA. Finally, this study offers practical implications to enhance training materials and procedures for RAs to meet personal and professional needs.

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Apr 16th, 12:00 AM

Work and Personal Life Boundaries of Resident Assistants

Resident assistants (RAs) support undergraduate students in college residence halls by serving as a resource and mentor to residents while promoting campus rules/policies. RA responsibilities alongside being a full-time student can be a large load, prompting RAs to navigate boundaries between their RA work and personal life. This qualitative study of 11 RAs leverages organizational assimilation theory to explore communication experiences of RAs’ perceptions of personal and professional boundaries. Participants were asked about their experiences and understanding of their position as a RA and how they negotiate work and private life demands using a range of communication strategies. RAs’ experiences of the stages of organizational assimilation shaped how RAs differentiated between student and staff roles. During the vocational anticipatory socialization, RAs who learned about the position from a friend/family member created a more structured schedule between schoolwork, student involvement, and being a RA later in the encounter stage. These RAs’ were able to experience the metamorphosis stage while successfully distinguishing between work/life boundaries. Strategies implemented by RAs included establishing appropriate times for personal breaks and scheduling meetings with residents. These strategies enabled RAs to exit the position with leadership and teamwork skills, while also recommending the position to others. In contrast, RAs who developed expectations through training were not prepared for the time commitment and responsibilities during the encounter stage. As a result, these RAs described high levels of stress, less motivation, and disconnect from their personal lives, which reduced their ability to experience metamorphosis and differentiate their roles as students and staff. These RAs did not recommend being an RA to students and chose not to continue as a RA. Finally, this study offers practical implications to enhance training materials and procedures for RAs to meet personal and professional needs.