If you’ve lived in Funnelle Hall on the SUNY Oswego campus any time in the last three years, you would at some point, no doubt, run into the friendly face of Resident Assistant Christianna Miller.
Being an RA can be a challenging and time-consuming position. It is not exactly common for an RA to remain an RA for the remainder of their college career, let alone in the same building. The duty of an RA is to communicate with and guide and mentor students, as well as maintain the law and safety on their individual floor. Miller has mastered all of those challenges. She was the recipient of the Community Connector Award in both 2011 and 2012.
Miller said her initial interest in the position was for financial reasons. RAs are compensated with free room and board from their tuition costs.
“Since I was fortunate enough to have the luxury of my parents taking care of my expenses, I felt a moral obligation to do whatever I could to alleviate some of the costs, because as most of us are aware, college is not a cheap experience,” Miller said. “However, what made me stay an RA was all of the enriching experiences I had.”
Miller getting “pied” at a “Pie Your RA” good cause event
An RA position requires hours of training and the hours of on-call duty vary from week to week. There are also approximately three to five hours of program activities RAs are required to do throughout the academic year.
“You also have to account for floor meetings, staff meetings, hall council meetings, decorative duties, such as door decorations and bulletin boards, and also the abundance of planning that goes into everything,” Miller said.
Miller is a communications major and creative writing minor and still has the responsibilities of being a full time student as well as those of being an RA. She is enrolled in six classes this semester and has a full time job in the Campus Center and does volunteer hours as well.
“If I did not master time management a long time ago, I would be a hot mess,” Miller said. “I am a big “to-do” list person; these have made time management a cake walk. I recommend list making to everyone. Sounds so cool, right? Also, knowing when to ask for help is equally important. Sometimes I cannot take on everything and there is nothing embarrassing in asking for help. What is embarrassing is having a bad final product because I spread myself too thin.”
Miller’s run as an RA has taught her how to be a great communicator and said she has wanted the people that have lived on her floors to know they could always count on her.
Miller during an RA outing to a museum
“I would want them to see me as someone they could go to if they had an issue, a concern, a need to simply vent, or a complaint,” Miller said. “I’d want them to know there is no situation I would not help them with. I’d want them to know that my room is a bias-free, no-judgement zone.”
Miller has been an RA on three different floors in Funnelle Hall and has offered her services to many residents during that time.
“Christianna is a great RA who I now consider my friend,” former resident Jessica White said. “She was always there for me as an RA and after she changed floors she continued to be the person I went to with my problems. I trust her and she has helped me through so much. I truly believe that without Christianna, my college experience just wouldn’t be as awesome.”
Miller will be graduating this spring and said that while the big things, such as residents doing nice things for her after she did nice things for them, mean a lot to her, it’s the little things that she will remember most from her RA years.
“I enjoyed spending time at the front desk, whether it was dancing, giving baked goods to visitors, or cleaning and finding odd knick knacks. I enjoyed all of the programs we have hosted as a staff. I enjoyed the excitement of move-in day and the sentiment of move-out day. I enjoyed training sessions with my fellow RAs. I could go on forever. When I graduate, I will be taking so many memories with me that have made my time at Oswego worthwhile. I would do it all over again. There have been so many people I have met here that have changed my perspective, my opinions, and in some ways, my life.”