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Four Years at the Mount

Junior Year

Res lifeís the life for me

Kyle Ott
MSM Class of 2015

(10/2013) To throw your support behind something is to throw the weight of your whole being into it. As the old adage goes, where your love is, is where youíll be, and the same holds true for the things that youíre doing. If you truly love something, then of course youíll be there, and youíll support it every single day. It seeps into what you do, and who you are.

It may seem odd, but the hard truth of the matter is that I never really had something that I truly supported. Thatís not to say that I didnít like certain things. On the contrary I REALLY liked certain things. There was nothing better than going out for a long drive with my friends in high school and getting into random adventures. I seriously enjoyed pizza, and as my steadily increasing gut can attest to, I enjoy it a little too much. But to care about something and to support something, to give it a part of yourself so that it may succeed, is a rare thingóat least for me. Then, being a member of Residence Life came into my life.

I joined the "thin blue line" of Resident Assistants (RAs) when I was a sophomore, and I quickly fell in love with the job. It was something truly amazing to not only be put in charge of enforcing policy, but to also be entrusted with the growth and development of an amazing group of young men. Within a few weeks I came to regard the 20 or so residents that lived in my hall as "my boys," and they knew it. We went to breakfast three times a week. We did homework together, played video games, went on the time-honored Mount journey that is "the Sheetz Run" together. Within a few months, we became a family. They were a pack of younger brothers to me, and they never ceased to amuse me with their antics. I was a mentor figure to them, someone they could come to for advice. Little by little, I fell in love with the job and with the role that I got to play. Little by little, it started to become something that I passionately supported. I found myself getting up every single day being excited about building something that I could leave behind, something that my residents would fondly remember long after they left my hall.

That love affair with my job that began my first year as an RA expanded this year when I took on a greater role in Res Life as an Area Coordinator. An Area Coordinator is the RA assigned to assist other RAs in their programming, to be there when they have questions about the job or a concern that they felt like they couldnít handle on their own. When I started my journey to becoming an AC, I was honestly unsure of my abilities. I had already done my fair share of leadership, but this was a step above and beyond what I had ever done before. To be a leader was one thing, but to be a mentor for an entire group of leaders was something completely different. Like the prophet Jonah, I sort of wavered awkwardly in the space of whether or not I would take the job. There were days when I would sort of sit around and wonder if I had the right stuff for the job. Then there would be mornings where I would roll out of bed, stretch my arms and declare on that day, "I GOT THIS."

In the end, it was a simple word of encouragement from one of the Professional Staff members that set me loose on the path toward being AC. I figured, why not? The worse that could happen is that I could get denied the position and start another year as an RA.

A few months later, I had the position that I was so nervous about getting in the first place, and I began a new chapter of my life. I had the chance to not only help my hall grow and change, but to also mentor an entire group of wonderful RAs who were doing the same for their residents. My Res Life family didnít change, it just grew bigger, and I got to see what it was like to help something grow from its very beginning. Thatís how I grew from not only just loving my job, to also supporting it. To being confident and comfortable enough to help the RAs and residents that I love. It is a task to which I have not stopped giving all of my effort and strength. Whenever an RA comes to me with a question about the process or a resident asks if we can hang out, I find myself mentally re-committing to my position and my department. With any luck, all of us can find something that we are so dedicated to that it becomes second nature to throw our strength behind it. May you find that task that asksónoódemands your full strength.

Until then, Iím Kyle Ott. Wonít you sit and read for a while?

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