Res Life ARD…the who what now?
I think we all know who the ARDs are, even if we don’t recognize them. They’re that person who you know works with the RAs, but you never see them on rounds. They’re that person who is at every RHA event, but seem as if they’re doing everything other than just enjoying the event more than anyone else. They’re that person that when you ask, “Are you an RA?” sigh and reluctantly respond with a “Yeah, something like that.”
As the abbreviation explains, “ARD” stands for “Assistant Resident Director,” and, in essence, this is our job description. The ARD is the right hand for each of the RDs, and we are there to fill in the needs that the RAs have, lead the RHA as their president, and support the RD in their role. Even with this very general and slightly vague explanation, there are some very big misunderstandings about what this role is really about. With this article, I want to explore, and hopefully debunk, some lies or just general misunderstandings of what the ARD role is. All of these I have heard in my time is Res. Life, or I have thought before taking up the mantel as the Heritage Hall ARD.
[Just as a caveat, I am talking as myself, being the Heritage ARD, working with Nick, but both Rebecca and MiKayla have read this and agree. So, the language I am using, although personal, applies to the ARD position as a whole, not only myself.]
- “I don’t know who they are.”
For the 2015-2016 academic year, MiKayla Springer in Penndel, Rebecca Wessel in Manor, and yours truly, Philip Querfeld, in Heritage. We’re around, I promise.
For the 2016-2017 academic year, MiKayla Springer again in Penndel, Mark Huseland in Manor, Casey Racklin in Heritage.
In subsequent years, I have no idea, but thanks for reading this article two years later!
- “So, are you an RA to the RAs, or are you the assistant to the RD?”
Simply put, the answer is “yes.” First and foremost, I am the Assistant to the RD, hence the initials “ARD.” The individual focus is on completing duties that the RD assigns to me, enabling Nick to have the liberty to focus on the greater issues that can be presented. This is the basis for the position. I lead the RHA so that Nick can focus more on Heritage Hall as a whole. I connect with the residents and the RAs as a student, very differently than Nick as a full-time staff member. As the ARD, I focus on coordinating the day-to-day RA schedules and responsibilities, allowing Nick to have the freedom to focus on dealing with a fallen ceiling.
Granted, because of my position as assisting the RD, this does entail that I have a specific focus on caring for my RAs. As much as the RAs pour into their residents, the ARD tries to help and enable the RAs to be settled and prepared for caring for the residents. The ARD is making sure the RAs are settled and prepared to best help their residents. Going back to the original statement, the ARD is an assistant first, but this entails caring for the RAs.
- ”The ARD is an elite level of the RAs.”
Let’s just stop this now; that is not even close to being true. Truth be told, we are ARDs because we filled out the application, interviewed and were offered the position, not because we were the select greatest RAs. In my experience, there have been and currently are RAs who have done a far greater job than I have. They were creative, connected very well with their residents, made better bulletin boards, put on better events, were better leaders than myself, and were able to be better RAs than I could be. This is NOT how it works. The ARD role takes a different set of skills and dimension than what the RAs need. Yes, we do speak wisdom into the RAs out of our experience and care for them, but this does not mean we are better RAs than them. The ARD role is far more administrative than the RA position. As the ARD focuses on developing leaders in the RA and RHA team, the RAs focus on the growth of their individual residents.
- “What do you even do? I don’t see you do anything!”
Just because you don’t see something doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. The ARD works in the background, the inner workings of the site, most of the time not being seen at all. We are the ones who plan site-wide events, create the RA rounds calendar, and fill in when the RD is unable. For example, in my experience, if Nick has a personal emergency and needs to be away from Heritage for an extended time, it becomes my responsibility to step up and help respond to situations where Nick normally would. As I’ve mentioned before, the ARD role is to assist the RD, enabling the RAs to be the best at their position, and leading the RHA to put on the best events possible.
The ARDs live amongst everyone, trying to fit in, and having an impact from within the shadows. We are still students trying to finish Tom Allen’s paper the night before, we still struggle with relationships trying to have friends who are not RAs, and we are by no means perfect; just come up to us and ask. With all this being said, we love Cairn University, and we will be in the front line defending it and standing up for what it stands for. It is a lot of work, and many times what we do is not completely noticed, but we love it nonetheless. If you want to know more about what we do, just come up to us and ask; I speak for all of us saying that we would love to explain our unique position within the Cairn community.