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Heather Jones on the Resident Experience

When Heather Jones returns to campus from her co-op at Hanscom Air Force Base, it usually takes an hour to get to her room in Kennedy Hall. A resident assistant (RA) in the freshman honors dorm, Jones stops by the open doors of student rooms to check in and visit with the 59 residents in her charge.

Among skills Jones has honed on the job include interpersonal communication, conflict resolution and most of all, time management.

"I like taking the time to get to know the students," says Jones. "I think they're more likely to respect the rules because they know me. I'm not just some faceless authority figure."

A native of Naugatuck, Conn., Jones has lived on campus throughout her years at Northeastern. This is her first as an RA, However, a choice she calls "the best decision I ever made."

Among skills Jones has honed on the job include interpersonal communication, conflict resolution and most of all, time management.

Now a middler, Jones is balancing a triple major in mathematics, music, and theater; co-op; and her sizeable duties as a resident assistant. A typical week as an RA includes meeting with Residential Life staff, manning the community desk in Kennedy one night a week, troubleshooting students' questions and problems during the nights she's on duty, and holding periodic programs for residents.

"We've done some fun things — like going to Blue Man Group and Six Flags," she notes. This month, Jones and the RAs in neighboring Smith Hall are cosponsoring a foreign film festival, complete with popcorn and big-screen viewing.

She's also capitalizing on her performance abilities and has organized a co-ed a capella group among residents called "Distilled Harmony." The dozen members practice twice a week in the Kennedy common room and have performed at on-campus venues and variety shows.

Though being an RA is a demanding and time-consuming job, Jones has welcomed the challenge. "It's a tough job, but the experience has taught me so much."

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Distilled Harmony
  This article appeared in the Spring 2004 issue of Pathways: The Leadership Campaign.          

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