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PSU Resident Assistants - Helping new students adjust

PSU Resident Assistants
To get to be there for all the people you meet can be really rewarding."
~ Justin Lytle, Crimson Commons Resident Assistant

Moving out of your family's home and into a university residence hall can be an overwhelming experience for new college students. One moment you're excited about your newfound freedom, the next you're homesick for your familiar surroundings.

While coming to college can be an exciting new phase in life, Pittsburg State University understands that new students need special attention - and our Resident Assistants are here to help.

This fall, PSU has nearly 50 RAs stationed across campus to help the more than 1,300 students living in the residence halls. For Justin Lytle, a senior resident assistant assigned to Crimson Commons, helping new students adjust to college is a busy but fulfilling job.

"I have students come to me with all sorts of issues. It could be they're struggling with a class or they need my advice about dealing with a roommate, or just anything related to college life," said Lytle, an information systems major from Humboldt, Kan. "To get to be there for all the people you meet can be really rewarding."

To prepare themselves for the issues they may encounter, RAs go through two weeks of intense training in everything from fire safety to interpersonal communication. Melissa Beisel, associate director of university housing, says the three-part interview process to become an RA ensures her office is finding the right people for the job.

"Because we rely on the RAs so much, it's important we provide them with the training they need to handle any situation," she said. "They're there to meet the needs of their students, build community, and get those students connected on campus. Seeing new students grow and become part of the campus community is part of the reward for RAs - what they get out of it is so more than what they get paid."