I've been in training for my job as an RA for the past few days, and it's been quite an interesting experience. I was an RA last year, so this is my second time through the training, and it is very different for me, being a "returner".

I almost feel like I'm learning MORE this year, despite the fact that all of the sessions are almost exactly the same as last year. Last year, there was so much to take in, I could only scratch the surface. I relied on the returners to help me out with stuff I wasn't sure on, and there were definitely mistakes I made. This year however, I find myself being that source of aid to the new RAs, which has helped me immensely. Doing what I can to help them has forced me to look at what I learned more intently, which in turn has made me understand it better. It's similar to tutoring, where when you teach something you already know, you view it in a different way, and understand it better as a result. Though I suppose this shouldn't have surprised me like it did, it definitely caught me off guard. In a good way of course; I feel like I'll be a much stronger RA this year.

The other thing that has been quite different is the staff bonding. Last year, I didn't know anybody on team when I started. So as we went through training, I essentially made 30 new good friends in just a few short weeks. This year however, many of the people on staff are people who I already consider good friends. Some were team members last year, a few were my residents last year, and others were people I'd met already through some venue. So the bonding is quite different. I wouldn't say it's any worse or better, just different. It is slightly off-putting when I start drawing comparisons in my head, as I feel at first like I may not be bonding with this team as well as last year. But I know that isn't the case. I'm just bonding differently.

And if there's one big takeaway from the two-day diversity retreat we just returned from, it's that different is good. I'm definitely feeling good about this year.


Courtney said...

WOOOOO ORL!!! how i miss thee!!!

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