Time of Your Life

When I think of when I decided to become a Student Affairs professional, one moment comes to mind: the decision to become a Resident Assistant (RA). I had such a positive experience living in Bartlett Hall for two years. Granted, I was moved to a different building as an RA (and Noehren Hall will always remain special to me for many other reasons), but Bartlett Hall is at the core of many of the reasons why I’m in Student Affairs today.

As some of you may know, I work at the same institution in which I completed my undergraduate studies. This past year it was announced on campus that Bartlett Hall will cease to be a residence hall and will become department offices. Bartlett Hall is the oldest residence hall, currently, on campus. When I was a student, it was the home to many multicultural students (domestic and international). It is also where I met my best friends Amy, Kristin, and Darcy. As the building is preparing to close, we asked the Residence Life Coordinator, Adrienne, to let us wander the Hall one last time.

Adrienne gave us an exclusive tour of the top two floors that are no longer in use, as well as shared the other well kept secrets of the building. Current residents of Bartlett Hall had a chance to start touring these closed-off areas of the building this week. As former residents, it was a bittersweet moment. As my friends took a tour, I couldn’t help but remember all the laughs and tears that went on there.

I had a great RA my first year. Her name was Jennifer, and she was from Gary, IN. She was one of the few multicultural RAs on campus at that time (our institution is a predominantly White campus). She was very helpful to me and all the incoming, first year students at UNI. I thought to myself “I wanted to be just like her and help other students”. She encouraged me a lot to apply for an RA position the following year, but I held off for another year. Becoming an RA was a very rewarding experience, and introduced me to the wonderful world of Higher Education.

Giving the building its last “hoorah!” was for the purpose of getting closure on my behalf. It is such a special building to me. This is where I made friends. It’s where I cried so many times when I missed home. It’s where I had many late-night gatherings with friends. It’s where I pulled too many all-nighters. It’s where I told my friends not to drink at (we all knew I would be an RA at some point—I showed potential from the get-go). It’s where I got offered my sorority bid. It’s where I laid all night thinking about my first kiss (with a guy named Joe, at the local bar). It’s where I won the “House Clown” Award, as well as the “Most Attended Hall programs” Award (and yes, I still have them framed). It’s where I hold some of the most special memories with Amy, Kristin, and Darcy. It’s where I grew up, as cheesy as that sounds. To see the building go is disheartening, but it makes me smile to see the students who currently live there, as well as alumni, come back and also say good-bye.

Therefore, this week’s blog post is in honor of Residence Life staff, to friendships, and to college memories.


Tabatha Cruz

Student Affairs - the First Years

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