It was a dark and stormy night, and the rain driven branches lashed against the dorm windows with fury. My new hall mates and I nervously mulled about in the florescent lighted corridor, murmuring back and forth in low whispers that reverberated off the cinder block walls. Then, it happened. All fell silent as the RA entered the hall and our first ordeal, trial by hall meeting, began...
Well, it might not have happened quite like that, but it certainly makes a better story! It is also a fairly accurately captures the point at which my interest in applying for RA began. Since the first semester of my freshman year, it's been a wild ride, but I've felt God nudging me towards serving with Res Life. Now, the application process is in motion. (Though just calling it a process is an understatement: it's two weeks of long hours, intense prayer, sometimes stressful interviews, and weighty decisions for the current Res Life staff and the applicants.) There are three sets of cuts that occur during the process as the field is narrowed before the final team is announced. It's a stretching time, but quite worthwhile.
As I've advanced through the process thus far, it's caused me to think more intentionally about what makes for a good residence experience here at CIU and what goals a good RA or FLT should work towards. As I've done this, it strikes me more and more what an outstanding job CIU does fostering a tight knit, supportive, enabling community through residence life here on campus. For example, I can't remember the last time I've been in the cafeteria for a meal and not seen multiple tables with two people sitting at one end apart from the crowd; caff etiquette signaling a meeting not to be disturbed. The vast majority of these meal meetings are RAs or FLTs meeting with their hall members, listening to what's going on in their lives, and pouring into them. I had the privilege of being a part of one such meeting this very afternoon as I met for lunch with my RA to discuss life. All in all, the Res life team has an impactful ministry that touches the lives of almost everyone living in a CIU residence hall.
When I think about the potentiality that I might be the one sitting across from a freshman or hall member some day, I'm excited, humbled, and intimidated by the thought all at the same time. RAs here on campus aren't superhuman, and they're not some drilled team of elite leaders. They're regular students who God's called and then equipped to serve and pour into the lives of those on their halls. Now that I'm truly staring the possibility of Res life in the face, what my RAs have told me about their inadequacies, and constant need for strength from God has become so much more real. I know that in and of my self, I'm inadequate to shepherd a hall. However, by the power of Christ in me, I have faith that I could be used by God for His purposes.
In short, this is a time of transition for both the old Res Life team and the new team, change in the personality of halls, and growth for everyone involved. Be in prayer reader for all those involved in this exciting, yet serious time here on campus.