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U R A RA?

A pink thong greeted me as I got off the elevator. I wouldn’t have thought it to be that weird if it wasn’t still attached to its owner.

“What’s your number?” People often hate this question. Answer too high and you get judged, answer too low and you get judged. I, on the other hand, am perfectly content with my number. I was a late bloomer though, it started my sophomore year of college:

I had the privilege of transitioning from an awkward, angsty teen into an awkward, anxious adult in front of 80 gorgeous sorority girls. Let me explain, I was a Resident Advisor. I’d love to leave it at that but if you are the 50% of my readership that gave birth to me, or the 50% that is my dad, then you know we’re far from done here.

So, pink thong. It was my first night on call and I had to walk the building to make sure everything was in order. My journey didn’t take me far before I was face to butt of a tall, thin sorority girl. Her bottom was hanging out of a trash can in what looked to be an attempt to throw her top half away.

My on call board. Once again I am not denying the fact I was a complete nerd.

“Um excuse me?” They trained us how to address homesickness, depression and anxiety but never people’s behinds.

Slowly one perfectly manicured hand detached itself from the brim of the trash to give me the ‘hold on one sec, I need to take this call’ signal, except in this case it also translated to ‘hold on one sec, I need to throw up the eighth cup of jungle juice from the Pike house’ signal.

I waited patiently for Pretty in Pink to unthrow herself away and it was well worth the wait.

If you have ever felt inferior because you weren’t tall, blonde or thin, hang out in a sorority themed residence hall on a Saturday at 3 AM. Granted my typical uniform of oversized T-shirts paired with sponge bob boxers probably didn’t make me runner up for Miss USA either, but these girls brought a whole new meaning to the term “train wreck”.

Have you ever told someone their dog died and then kicked them in the ovaries? Well that’s what this resident looked like when she finally emerged from the trash can. I can only assume she was waiting for the room to stop spinning before uttering this gem, “Eye own knee av won fib fob on.”

“Huh?”

“She only has one flip-flop on,” veteran RA Emily said as she appeared from the back room with a spare set of keys. The girl gave a definitive nod and returned to the trash can.

I was shocked, “How did you—”

“Please, I speak drunk. C’mon lets get her to bed.” Emily expertly slid her body under the girl’s left side and angled her towards me.

“What about her flip flop?”

Emily answered my question by holding up a metallic purse with a bit of pink sticking out the top. Before I could become the girl’s human crutch our hall coordinator was already there. The HC grabbed blondie’s right arm and swung it around her own neck.

It was a synchronized dance. The threesome moved towards the elevator, the one flip-flopped foot floated gracefully across the linoleum floor getting tangled in its naked twin. Can we all pause and appreciate how fucking beautiful I make the plight of a drunk girl sound? Okay, un pause.

My last image was of this blonde babe throwing the peace sign up in the air with more enthusiasm than a hippie, but less enthusiasm than an asian tourist. The trio disappeared into the night and that was the last I’d see of boozin’ barbie.

I picked this story to intro with because it’s light-hearted and funny. It happened my first night on the job and I have often, per request of my family, repeated the story at social gatherings (if only this gal knew she was a micro-celebrity at the Shifrin household). I have a million stories; streakers, pukers, fights, tears…You name it, I’ve dealt with it as a RA.

Now for my favorite part of the post. Have you not learned yet? I reel you in with a catchy opener, keep you reading with my sharp humor, throw in some witty remarks and then BAM I make you feel bad out of no where.

Why yes, it is Michael Jackson themed. Coolness 0, Marina 2!

I was a RA, a fucking good one. I sat through five trainings. FIVE. Do you know how many name-games, and team building activities that is? Do you know how difficult it is for a person that tries to emulate an antisocial Woody Allen to pretend she cares what animal you would be if you could be any kind?

My first year I was on staff with four girls I wanted nothing to do with. These were four girls I didn’t understand, four girls with obnoxiously strong personalities that challenged me every day and four girls that would go on to be life long friends.

I was in reslife for three years. Three years of which I gave up crazy partying, drinking and the other reckless privileges that come with being a college kid so that other college kids could have these privileges and live to talk about it.

When I am called a nark, nerd or loser for being a resident advisor, I often keep my mouth shut, but this is my blog and I’ll bitch if I want to.

I cried through their break ups, laughed at their hook ups and listened to their break downs. At the age of 21 I’d dealt with two rapes and one suicide attempt. Yeah, not fun. But I wanted to be there, I was trained to be there and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

When you get old enough to have college kids of your own, know that when your daughter comes back so drunk she thinks the garbage can is an appropriate place to retire for the night, one of those narks is walking the floor making sure she gets to bed in one piece. When your son is too embarrassed to tell his friends he is struggling in Bio1010, one of those nerds is going to set up a floor-wide study session. And when your kid is puking up their life after feeble attempts to fit in, one of those losers will be sitting outside the stall with a glass of water and an advil.

All together 15 is my number and I am proud of it. I don’t mind taking a lifetime of judgement and false perceptions for it, because you know what? I earned it.

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7 thoughts on “U R A RA?

  1. Kate says:

    Oh Rina, I am so glad we could be narks together. ;) Thanks for hating me enough to love me ;-) Love the stuff, keep it coming xoxox

  2. Nikola Bakovic says:

    Here is one of the former “subjects” of Marina’s RA-ing during the Mizzou days. Sorry, Marina, for stalking your blog, I just happened to see a link to it on FB, and this post was humorous enough to make me write a comment.
    I agree with your conclusion about difficluties of being a RA, and I actually remember one night at Dejavu (man, I miss Mizzou days!) when I met you there with your friends. As I was (of course) drinking some alcohol, you had to leave the place, ’cause you couldn’t be seen on the same place with one of your residents inebriated. I felt really bad then, and it just shows how much patience and responsibility it takes to perform that duty (and you did it for several years, hat down). You and Ben also made my poor foreign student self feel extremely welcome and at home during my life at Laws. Thank you for that.
    And I hope life is treating you well in NYC.
    Many greetings from Budapest (my current temporary stop). :)
    Cheers!
    Nikola

  3. Pingback: Pot & Condoms « MARINAvsWriting

  4. George Weed (thanks to the 60's) says:

    Very entertaining. Though I do a lot of web surfing and avoid those clicks on fluff, I got caught by your site. Yours will only be the 5th time I found something worth leaving a comment.

    Though it has been a time since I lived through the dorms, You have provided some more comfort as I prepare to send my kids to college. Thanks.

    And as I do some nerdy math, it looks like your readership has changed. Nice innovation and creativeness. Congrats. Keep it up.

    My number? X
    X could be for the roman numeral 10 but also as the algebraic representative for a variable. My number is always in flux.

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