By Maddie Brother

Resident Assistants, or “RAs” for short, are student staff members at U of L who live in the residence halls around campus. RAs are an essential resource as first-year students get used to college life.

From first-year RAs to returning ones, get to know some of the RAs that live in Community Park!

Dontre Quarles

Dontre Quarles is a first-year RA. He is a sophomore computer science major from Oak Grove, a small town in Christian County, Kentucky. Since moving to Louisville, Dontre has become more involved with Greek Life and the Residence Hall Association. 

Quarles chose the RA path as a way to get more involved on campus.

 “It was hard to pass up the benefits, and it’s a great chance to lead, develop, and bond with students,” he said.

There are some highs and lows of RA life for Quarles. He loves connecting with his residents but it can be challenging to manage the duties of being an RA with being an involved student at UofL. 

“It’s important to take time for the things you enjoy, but to always put your RA duties first,” he said.

For any students interested in being an RA, Dontre’s main piece of advice is to expose themselves to new opportunities and experiences.

“Join a club, experience that thing that’s always been on your mind, try something new, and build yourself through all these new experiences,” Quarles said.

Outside of being an RA, Quarles is very interested in fitness knowledge and critiques. He enjoys working out and watching college and world wrestling. 

“This might not be the most fun fact, but I have a metal rod attached to my fibula,” he said.

So if you ever see Dontre out and about on campus or at SRC, make sure to say hi!

Barnabas Ojo

Barnabas Ojo is a second-year RA and a senior at U of L. He’s majoring in mechanical engineering and plans to graduate college to get a job in the engineering field.

“I hope to get a great job, have a family, and be able to contribute to the community,” Ojo said. “One day I hope to open my own mechanic shop.”

There were many factors in Barnabus’ decision to become an RA.

“I wanted to be able to help students overcome the same difficulties that I faced, such as not feeling welcomed or a sense of belonging,” Ojo said. “By being able to connect with residents, I am able to encourage them and emphasize whether they are on the right track so that they don’t feel lost and resort to giving up.” 

Like Quarles, Ojo agrees there are pros and cons to becoming an RA.

“[I enjoy] just being able to serve as a resource to provide any information the residents might require, like where to dine on campus, what clubs to join, or effective study methods,” he said.

On the other hand, the most difficult aspect of being an RA is being able to contact your residents. As an RA it is very important to be able to contact your residents for Cardinal Calls or to keep them up to date on any important information; some students are harder to reach than others.

“While most of them are happy to connect with me, it is sometimes hard to collaborate with some of them,” Ojo said.

Outside of his life as an RA, Barnabus enjoys playing basketball and working out at the gym during his free time. It’s important for him to keep a good work-life balance.

For future RAs, Ojo encourages them to have a Google Calendar, invite people to hang out by the desk during lobby hours, and find the courage and confidence to reach out and connect. 

“Being an RA has helped me to stay involved and build many relationships with other students on campus, whether they be residents or other RAs,” he said. “It is a great job and I would definitely recommend it!” 

Addie Holder

Addie Holder is a senior and first-year RA at U of L. She grew up in Huntsville, Alabama, and is on her way to becoming a pediatric dentist.

Holder is involved on campus through the Pre-Dental Society where she is president and she also is a UTA for organic chemistry labs. She majors in chemistry and minors in studio art and biology. 

“I became an RA to make connections with new cards and to build a sense of community on campus,” she said. “My favorite aspect is definitely getting to know my residents and what kind of people they are.”

A challenge that Holder recognizes that comes with being an RA is being on call.

“It is not fun having to answer random phone calls until two in the morning,” she said.

Outside of being an RA, Holder enjoys crocheting and other hands-on artistic activities. These creative outlets help keep the work-life balance many RAs seek.

“In order to balance my RA work and my own life I try to have at least two hours of time to myself to relax and crochet,” she said.

Holder also made a sign on the door so her residents know when she’s available or when she’s taking her much-needed alone time.

One thing she tells her students is to get involved on campus and step out of their comfort zone.

As an introvert, I understand how hard it can be to join a bunch of new groups. However, it will be really helpful in the long run to meet people from one RSO and establish a friend group,” Holder said.

For anyone considering becoming an RA, Holder emphasized the importance of having the right reasons.

“Don’t be an RA if you only want free housing. The amount of work you do per week vastly outweighs your pay and can be exhausting,” she said. “If you really want to connect with other students, then I would consider it and recommend it!” 

Photo Courtesy // Maddie Brother, The Louisville Cardinal