Thank you for taking the time to join me on this wonderful journey to be inspired and to inspire others!
Now, to start answering the questions you didn’t even know you had.
Who am I?
My name is Amanda Vosloh and I started my career in Housing as a Resident Adviser at Greensboro College, attained my Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction at Radford University while continuing as a Resident Director, and am now in my first years as a live-in, professional, Residential Coordinator at Methodist University. A problem campus professionals and paraprofessionals often face is convincing students that life goes beyond the title – yes, Resident Assistants and other professions DO have a life outside of the university. In order to combat the instinct to associate my writing only with my job title, here is a brief list of things that make me human:
- I lived in Alaska for almost 10 years
- I had an uncle who was deaf, know some sign language, and am forever grateful for the opportunities this circumstance has provided me
- I was a high school teacher and am happiest when working developmentally with students
- I was born with multiple learning disabilities in reading, writing, and spelling and I struggled academically for years
- I am a geek through and through – science fiction and fantasy, zombies, DragonCon, superheros, ect.
- I have a brother who is 18 years older than I am
- I live for a good book that can completely capture my attention and pulls me into a new world
- I have always aspired to write a young adult fantasy novel
- I enjoy crafting of all kinds and can’t get enough of Pinterest
- I am an achiever by nature and get discouraged when I can’t identify things that I have accomplished at the end of the day
- I am fortunate enough to have married my best friend and I count on him for guidance, support, and inspiration every day
- I have a pet turtle named Gronkel and a dog named Anya that my husband and I love like a daughter
- I run almost every day and want to run a marathon someday
- I love hiking and the outdoors; and
- I am proud of who I am but am always seeking opportunities for growth
Why am I blogging?
I, like many others, began my career in Student Affairs by accepting a Resident Assistant position at my small, private undergraduate institution, Greensboro College. I would like to be able to claim that my desire to guide and support students was the reason that I applied for the position, but I would be lying. My initial draw to Residential Life was the allure of a discounted single occupancy room, a cheaper meal plan, and a small (yet always eagerly awaited) monthly stipend.
Further, I wish that I could say that my being a Resident Assistant at Greensboro College instilled within me a deeper appreciation for Residential Life and a longing to work with residents, but, yet again, this would be dishonest. Upon graduation, I discovered, instead, that many universities offered persuasive packages for students qualified for graduate level positions as Resident Directors and I joyfully followed where the benefits led. It was nearly impossible to ignore a complete tuition wavier, fully furnished apartment, paid meal plan, and slightly larger (although not by much) monthly stipend.
It was not until Spring 2011 that I recognized the delight and value in Student Affairs and began considering it as a realistic career path. I jumped eagerly at every opportunity that presented itself and have since, fallen completely and utterly in love with the energetic, fulfilling, and life-altering elements that make up Residential Life.
As I have progressed up the Residential Life chain of command over the years I have come to understand that my journey is not unique. Many RAs are drawn to the financial assistance and perks of the position. Regardless of a person’s motives for becoming an RA, however, this job is one of the most important on campus. Granted, every university provides a plethora of vital services and opportunities, but it is usually the RA that actually promotes the services, encourages involvement in the opportunities, and, in some cases, literally walks a student to the needed resource. RAs are any university’s first responders and they should be respected for the differences they make in the lives of students on a daily basis. Without ever evening knowing it, RAs can save a life – whether literally or metaphorically. RAs are powerful. And with great power, comes great responsibility (let’s hear it for the Spider Man fans out there!).
This is why I feel the need to start this blog – theRAinspiration is intended to provide inspiration for current RAs, recommend suggestions and ideas for success, and offer a listening ear for questions and concerns. Working in Housing can be a very scary and stressful thing sometimes and, even though we are often surrounded by people, it is easy to feel like we are alone in the things that we are experiencing. I am here to tell you that you are not alone and that while you are helping to change the lives of students, you are also in the position now to change your life for the better as well. I think that it is exceptionally fitting that “RA” is part of the word “inspiRAtion” – RAs inspire others every day. Now let me help to inspire you.
What’s in it for you?
Well, I will be honest in saying that I am no expert. I am still a young professional myself. I am, however, unrelentingly dedicated to the betterment of the world around me, whether that is through a conversation with a student, a departmental proposal, a campus program, or a day of community service. I have no book to peddle, no gimmick, and no delusions that this blog will ever make me any money! I have no motive other than to help guide and support the students I believe to be the future of our world.
How will I do this? I will be posting weekly blogs that focus on student development, leadership, professional opportunities, programming ideas and much, much more! I will also provide book reviews, podcast recommendations, and links to inspirational or educational articles that may be helpful/interesting. If you find that there is something missing from my blog, please feel free to contact me and I will be happy to adapt my entries to suite your needs.
Thank you for taking the time to read this first blog entry. I look forward to walking with you on this wonderful journey through the world of student development and student success!