“I’ve studied pole fitness, and I’m really into holistic health. I did a holistic health program at San Francisco State (University) and they don’t have that here so I’ve been trying to find ways of bringing that into my life. I’ve been taking different yoga classes, I do meditation, I do mindfulness and we do a mental health training day (in our RA training program) so that day I was raising my hand like ‘Oh my god, I know everything haha.’ So I’m just really interested in mental health, I’m about it,” said Theresa Brown, a fourth-year psychology student.
Cristian Yanes, a third-year human biology and society student, wanted to be an RA since his first year, but waited a year to apply to make sure he could give his residents the best experience he could. “My biggest thing is comfort so I just wanna make sure people having their first time away from home have somewhere they can actually call home and be comfortable in and not have to dread wherever they’re staying,” he said.
“When you live on the Hill, it’s very important for you to feel welcome and for you to feel like this place is your home. And that is something I lacked my first year here. I felt lonely, I felt afraid to be who I was,” said Neemat Abdusemed, a third-year political science student who will be an RA for the first time. “I think the biggest thing was building a community, feeling like you’re at home, building a family. And that essentially led me to move into social justice work, and work with people from different backgrounds and just understand people and have that opportunity to connect with people.”
“I lived on the Gender, Sexuality and Society Living Learning Community (floor) and I just really loved the community I found there,” said Kyla Worrell, a second-year Asian American studies student. “I really came because I wanted to be able to form that kind of community that I had my first year. The best way to get to know me is to talk to me, to say 'Hi.' I want to foster the ability to feel comfortable to knock on my door and to come in and chat or check out the books I have,” they said.
Ashi Hoffman transferred from Santa Monica College in his third year and spent his first year at UCLA working in the transfer student center. At the advice of one of his coworkers, the fourth-year psychology student applied to be an RA. “Once I became an RA, the main challenge was ‘Can I work with transfers?’ I kept pushing and pushing because I’m a pusher, and so I got to work with transfers,” he said.
“I wasn’t really sure because I heard the process is very selective and not many people get the position or an offer at all so I went to talk to my own RA, her name is Robin and she was a second-year RA when I had her and she really encouraged me to push forward and apply. So I decided to just give it a try and see whatever I would get out of it, at least I’d get some interview experience anyways and if I had any chance at all to help other students, I’d take it,” said Michelle Pham, a second-year pre-architectural studies and environmental studies student.
Jonathan Kim, a second-year biochemistry student, was encouraged to be an RA after the environment he experienced in his first-year dorm. “I love singing. If you hear someone singing in the shower, it’s probably me. I like singing a lot of jazz, like vocal jazz. I like to do a little bit of mouth trumpet,” he said.
Kiara Stanifer, a third-year human biology and society student, found herself spending a lot of time in her dorm room during her first two years at UCLA. “Pretty much all of first year and part of second year I was just going through a lot personally and I felt really isolated and I didn’t feel like I really had a community. Everyone else on their floors were going out to dinner and were really community-based. But my RAs still always made me feel at home and supported me, so I felt like if I’m going to be an RA, I’m going to be that RA. I don’t have to be hecka extroverted but for those residents that don’t really feel like they fit or they feel left out, I’d want to be that kind of support,” she said.