New students get cozy with their RAs
RAs get roommates this semester to accommodate large freshmen class
Published: Thursday, September 20, 2012
Updated: Thursday, September 20, 2012 15:09
Resident assistants aren’t living alone anymore. They, like nearly every other resident of Loyola University’s three dormitories, have taken on roommates this Fall.
“I thought it was a joke,” said Rachael White, music senior and Buddig RA. “We would always joke around with the idea of RAs having roommates but never thought it’d actually happen.”
She and all other RAs received an email over the summer from Residential Life informing them that they would be temporarily paired with a roommate for the coming semester due to the lack of available housing.
“We didn’t have the chance to talk to anyone in person at first,” mass communication senior and Carrollton RA Haley Humiston said. “I was surprised but open to the idea. Once RA training began, it was explained to all of us that certain students couldn’t return to Loyola at all unless they found a housing situation.”
Psychology sophomore Sam Golden shares a room with an RA, and he admits that he was hesitant at first.
“I thought it might have a negative impact on my social life, and that he might be really strict with noise,” Golden said.
Golden’s fears were put to rest once he moved in, though.
“It’s been fine, no conflicts so far. He’s much more relaxed than I thought an RA would be,” Golden said.
Other residents often react with questions of, “Really? How’d that happen? Aren’t RAs supposed to have their own rooms?” But even though he rooms with his RA, Golden said he still feels connected to the rest of his floor.
Biever RA Mike Olausen, economics and English sophomore, said he didn’t have trouble with the idea of taking on a roommate.
“These students needed a place to live so they could go here,” Olausen said. “And if anything, RAs are the ones who are best suited for this. We’re trained to deal with this sort of thing.”
Humiston, Olausen and White have an attitude of acceptance and flexibility.
White and her roommate, theatre arts freshman Sarina Suydam, were lucky enough to click instantly as roommates and as friends.
“I thought there would be a lot of rules and I wouldn’t be able to go out and do things most college students do,” Suydam said. “But my experience is nothing like I thought it would be, and we are so much alike that getting along isn’t a problem at all.”
White had initial reservations, too.
White, who has been an RA since she was a sophomore said, “I was nervous, since I hadn’t had a roommate since freshman year, and I liked having my own space. But we are very much alike, and we have the same living style. It’s nice to have someone to just stay up late and talk with.”
Olausen’s relationship with his roommate is not quite best-friend status, but there have been no issues, he said.
“He does his thing; I do my thing,” Olausen said. “But as a freshman, you have no margin for error when you’re living with your RA. Even good kids can slip up one time and get away with it, but this makes it different. I feel bad more for the roommates than for the RAs.”
With RA-student boundaries, sacrifices have to be made. White, 21-years-old, could keep alcohol in her dorm room, but chooses not to so as to set an example for her roommate.
“I sat her down and said, ‘I know you’re a freshman and want to have fun, but you can’t bring that stuff into the room’ ” White said.
RAs have also had to sacrifice personal space as a result of this change.
Dressers, beds and desks fill almost every inch of wall space. “It’s a tight fit, no lie,” said White.
“I bunked my beds in the bedroom,” said Humiston, though she currently does not have a roommate in her Carrollton suite. “Almost everyone else hung up curtains, with one person in the bedroom and one person in the living room.”
Suydam said the fit is fine. She’s chosen to view the positives in her situation.
“Other students are usually thrown off and think this sucks,” Suydam said. “But I actually feel a lot more involved in our floor. I’m often answering the door when a student needs something. It helps me meet people who live on our floor.”
Cherie LeJeune can be reached at