Resident advisors discuss residence hall resources
Ice cream socials and movie nights at the rec pool are only a couple of the activities that UC Davis residence halls provide for first-year residents. But while social events are widely publicized on social media, there are many invaluable resources that students do not take advantage of which could set them ahead in their college career.
“There are a lot of resources here at UC Davis — I think it is challenging for students sometimes to find all the resources and to put themselves out there and ask questions,” said Richard Ronquillo, assistant director of communications and student outreach for Student Housing. “I really encourage students to take the time to get to know what is available to them and to take advantage of them [their] first year.”
In Ronquillo’s opinion, living on campus is beneficial for students in their first year to transition into living a college lifestyle. It allows students to build new relationships and gives them access to helpful programs.
One resource that Student Housing provides for residents living in the residence halls are the Living Learning Communities (LLCs). These are shared interest communities for residents to participate in, including interests in culture, music and major. Programs and classes are offered through these communities in which any resident can participate, even if they do not live in that community. Residents also have the option to transfer into one.
“We do additional programs and events based on that particular theme,” Ronquillo said. “Some of the LLCs have class components to [them] that take place in the residence halls. It is a really good opportunity for students that have a shared interest to live together and experience college life together.”
Rachel Le, a third-year evolution, ecology and biodiversity major, is taking on her second year as a resident advisor (RA) for the Segundo Residence Hall area, and she said her job is to help incoming students easily transition from living at home to being on their own.
“In the beginning, I would hear [residents] really struggle on how to study for certain classes or pass exams,” Le said. “They were surprised when the way they studied in high school did not transition the same coming into college. However, as time passed they would figure out ways to change that through forming study groups and going to tutoring offered in the services center.”
The academic center in each housing area offers tutoring and advising that residents can access. Another resource is the Residence Hall Advising Team, which visits the dorms to offer advice about academic and professional topics ranging from resume building to class scheduling.
Tanvi Chitre, a third-year neurobiology, physiology and behavior major and Tercero resident advisor, emphasized the importance of utilizing these resources and the convenience of having them near the dorms.
“When I first came here chemistry was really hard for me, but going [to the Academic Advising Center] really helped […and] improved my grade by a lot,” Chitre said. “The tutors who are there are really great! Make sure to take advantage of the resources that are there for you as a resident.”
Although first years are not limited to hanging out with fellow residents, the social events in each resident area serve as a way to bring students together in a “casual and relaxed atmosphere,” according to Le.
“We always want residents to feel comfortable with where they are living since it is not the same as living at home,” Le said. “We want to help them find where they fit in on campus.”
Chitre said that the best part about being an RA is getting to meet so many great people within Student Housing and the residence halls.
“Another part of being an RA is doing rounds at night, making sure no one is in trouble […] and just being there for residents,” Chitre said. “Everyone is busy with classes, friends or other things, so even if we do not talk to residents often we want to make sure we see them once in awhile to make sure that everything is fine.”
Other benefits of living on campus include easy access to various areas at UC Davis. While the Tercero residence hall area is closest to the Arboretum and Cuarto has direct access to the bus lines, Segundo’s centrality is often cited as beneficial for residents, located only a few minutes bike ride away from the ARC, Rite Aid and many main lecture halls.
“When people leave the dorms they tend to miss the easy access to cooked food and tutoring — so really take advantage of it,” Le said. “Take a look at what your RA has prepared for you — it might be really fun! If you ever need help, our door is usually open, or you can always knock!”
Written by: Amanda Cruz — firstname.lastname@example.org