Are you interested in honing your leadership and communication skills? Are you thinking about the Resident Assistant position and want to learn more about it? Do you want to become more involved in your community? Then the RAILE (Resident Assistant Internship and Leadership Exploration) Program might be for you! I first joined RAILE back in September because I knew that I wanted to learn more about the RA position, since I was interested in applying. However, you don’t have to apply to the RA position if you do RAILE, and you don’t have to participate in RAILE to apply to be an RA. Additionally, the program has several levels of certification according to how many components you complete, so you can choose how involved you want to be. Also, each participant is assigned a RAILE mentor (an RA) for guidance who is a great resource for any RA or RAILE-related questions. Here are some of the RAILE components that I took part in that I really enjoyed!
- Facilitate a floor meeting with your RA
This component allowed me to take a peek at what it’s like for an RA to plan and carry out a floor meeting. I met with my RA beforehand to read the agenda and pick the parts of the meeting I was going to deliver. Then, at the meeting, I led the icebreaker activity, delivered news about upcoming floor events, and relayed any important information. Helping to lead the meeting was a fun way to practice my public speaking skills with my peers while also gaining insight into the RA job.
- Attend a StrengthsQuest workshop
This component was an interesting way to get to know myself and reflect on my personality strengths! Before attending the workshop, I took the StrengthsQuest quiz online to find my “five most dominant themes of talent” based on my responses. For example, one of my strengths is “Learner,” meaning that I am drawn to learning new things. It was intriguing to read about my strengths based on my responses and to reflect on how I can use my talents to reach my goals. Anyone can think about using their strengths not only in terms of the RA job but also in terms of everyday life, from schoolwork to community involvement to building friendships.
- Shadow an RA for office hours and rounds
I really enjoyed this component because I was able to get a true behind-the-scenes look into the RA job! By shadowing my Guide RA, I could better understand the tasks of being on duty. I sat with him during office hours, learning about the package process and observing him helping residents with various questions. I also accompanied him on RA rounds, therefore learning about the process of patrolling the dorm. Shadowing my Guide RA also gave me plenty of time to ask him questions about the RA position and his experiences. Shadowing was a fun way to gain insight into the RA role!
- Attend a conversation at the Friends Conversation Couch
This component is a fun way to connect with international students, help international students practice speaking English, and also learn about their experiences in the U.S. and their home countries. Friends Conversation Couch, part of the English Language Institute, is a program that connects students who are native English speakers to non-native speakers. I was not only able to help an international student practice English through a casual conversation but was also able to get to know her by asking questions about Japan and her experience in the United States. I really enjoyed connecting with an international student in the UD community!
These are just four examples of the components I participated in as a RAILE mentee, and there are many more to choose and learn from. The RAILE Program has really allowed me to connect to opportunities and people around campus and to grow through the four categories of RAILE: community engagement, cultural exploration, relationship skills, and self-development. RAILE has also definitely been helpful in building my knowledge of the RA position and has allowed me to sharpen some of the skills needed for the job.
If you are interested, you can learn more about RAILE at this link: