The tricks of the trade for living on Res
For residential advisors at the University of Canberra, not a lot goes on without them knowing about it. They are the people behind creating a community, putting hard work into events, and the people you rely on when you need a helping hand or a new card to your room.
On a loud and busy Thursday evening, I sat down with an on-shift Senior Residential Advisor, Luke Favero, to speak about the tricks of the trade for university students living on res and why he has decided to work where he lives.
Q: How long have you lived in the student residence at the University of Canberra?
A: This will be my fourth year living here on res at the University Of Canberra, since moving here in 2014. I have lived for three years at Cooper Lodge, and now, since its opening, I have moved to UC Lodge, which operates under the company of UniLodge.
Q: Why do you like living on Res?
A: I find one of the main reasons why I still live here is definitely the convenience for different things. Having a medical centre and doctors nearby is handy, along with the counselling staff. Having access to a 24/hour library is great, too, especially when I need to print stuff or use the Internet if mine goes down in my room. It’s just being generally close to everything a university student needs.
Q: How long have you been a Residential Advisor?
A: I have been a Residential Advisor (RA) for the past two years and I’m only just going into my first year as the new Senior RA.
Q: What made you decide to take the step up to a more leadership role as a Senior RA?
A: I decided to step up because, being in the position for a while as a RA and having this new position more directed as a leadership role, I just saw it as a great opportunity to take what I have learnt as an RA and put those skills to use to aid in helping the other RA’s when there is a problem. I also feel like the community spirit was a deciding factor; I love living here as it is my home away from home, so I want to help freshers or even people that have been living on campus for a while feel the same.
Q: On an average shift, what does an RA do?
A: So we are generally on duty from 5pm-9am during weeknights and on weekends, we add a 9am-5pm shift during the day, basically after hours when reception is closed. There are five or six RA’s in each building and we all take turns throughout the week working.
On an average shift, we just wait for the phone to ring if a resident locks themselves out or for a noise complaint, pastoral issue or for anything else our residents need assistance with. We then do rounds of the building making sure it is safe with things being in the right places and then locking up the common areas. Other than that, we all just hang out with friends, do uni work, and sleep.
Q: What is one weird thing that you have seen as an RA?
A: There are a few weird things I see but the one thing that I know I am still not used to is that everyone knows who you are. I can’t go a hundred metres from the building without having residents coming up to me to say hello or stop for a quick chat. I know all of us RA’s have to add a few minutes each time we leave for class in case one of our residents wants to pop in. It is a bit weird but I guess that is what living on res is like and it is great at making new friends.
Q: What are some tips for living on res?
A: During O-Week, if you want to get some sleep, maybe get a pair of ear buds. Always wash your doona covers more than once a year. But most importantly, make sure you never run out of dollar coins for your washing.
Q: What is the best time of day to do your laundry?
A: The best time of day to do your laundry, I find, is in the morning when no one is awake to use the machines, which always works out for me. Usually over the weekends because most residents go home during their time off uni, so they take their washing home with them to save some cash too.
Q: What is the best time to use the common areas?
A: I suggest using the common room at anytime, but if you go up during night time, that’s the best time to meet more people. Wednesday and Thursday nights, which are our uni nights when everyone hangs out and goes to the Lighty or Civic, are when the most amount of people go up and have a good time.
Q: What is another tip on how to enhance your stay living on res?
A: The massive tip I would say is to make a lot of friends as soon as possible by just talking to everyone no matter if you are passing in the hallway or waiting for the lift. This comes in handy when you want to hack into their Wi-Fi when you are moving away from your room and then that way, depending on where your friends are located, you have free Wi-Fi access throughout the whole building.
Q: In your student experience, what is the best and cheapest food on campus?
A: The cheapest food to eat in my eyes might not be sustainable for young working minds, but it’s a go to if I am hungry and can’t be bothered to cook myself. It would be Oscar’s hot chips with aioli. Aside from that, you can’t go wrong with anything from Oscar’s shop.
Q: To wrap things up, why do you think people should live on res and apply to be an RA?
A: If you live on campus, the amount of services you have access to is more than enough reason to live here on res, but it can be seen as expensive. You get what you pay for as everything is provided and it’s a great way to make life-long friends. People should sign up to be an RA because it is a great way to meet new people, which definitely helps you build the different characteristics and experience that a lot of employees look for.