Confessions of an RA: Avoiding Trouble in 2011

Confessions of an RA: Avoiding Trouble in 2011

By Lindsay Puvel

“Documentation,” more commonly known as getting “written up,” is the worst part about living in a college dorm. For the RA, documentation injures an otherwise solid resident-RA relationship with feelings of resentment. For the resident, documentation can lead to a nasty burn mark on one’s permanent record, as well as a potential fine, disciplinary sanction, or shock therapy session.

Underage drinking in the dorms is the most common reason for documentation. I do not encourage underage drinking. In fact, as your friendly internet RA, I’m firmly telling you to wait until you’re 21. But some 21-year-olds do live in dorms, and some of those dorms have no-drinking policies. Under these circumstances, there are still intelligent ways to participate in the so-called “college experience.” (The following tips are all available through the International Bank of Common Sense. If you haven’t already, please consider opening an account with them.)

Avoid drinking games. Drinking games are taken more seriously than possession or consumption of alcohol at most universities. Because the goal in most drinking games is to consume large amounts of alcohol in a short amount of time (ie, to binge drink), the consequences for participating in them can be severe. To avoid not only documentation in 2011, but also alcohol-induced blackouts, injuries, regrettable makeout sessions (or worse), be smart and steer clear of drinking games and binge drinking.

Eschew solo cups. Red plastic solo cups immediately make an RA suspicious. Random fact of the day: Solo cups do not change the taste of alcohol. If college students were as smart as their SAT scores implied, they wouldn’t parade these things down the hall and right past the open door of the RA.

Bring extra money. There’s nothing worse than getting stranded in a city at 3 am. Scratch that—there’s nothing worse than getting stranded in a city at 3 am in the middle of winter. I hate hearing stories about residents walking four miles home in the middle of the night because they blew all their cash at a bar and didn’t have enough for a cab home. Not only is this an embarrassing situation, but it’s also extremely dangerous. The best way to avoid such a dilemma is to (1) Avoid binge drinking so that you won’t lose track of time or money, and (2) Keep an extra “Transportation 20” on you and away from the rest of your cash. Tuck it in your shoe, tape it to your stomach, give it to a trustworthy friend to hold—whatever, just make sure you always have transportation money available.

A good RA hates having to write his residents up. It’s not fun for the RA, it’s embarrassing for the resident, and it’s often prompted by a situation that could have easily been avoided. Have fun this year, but don’t be stupid. If you spent fall semester of 2010 fighting a hangover, strive to make 2011 a different kind of year. Your friends, your liver, and your RA will thank you.

Have you ever broken Lindsay's rules?

Related post: Auntie SparkNotes: To Booze, or Not to Booze

Topics: alcohol, confessions of an RA, drinking games, binge drinking, solo cups

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