By Nicole Clifton


  1. Mentoring College Students: This is the absolute best part of my job. Be it Resident Assistants, other student leaders who have lived in my building, or even just residents who I’ve connected with, getting to be a consistent part of their lives where I get to love them unconditionally, challenge them to grow, and (hopefully) impart a little wisdom that I’ve learned along the way is the reason I do this job.
  2. RA Staff = Family Unit: This one goes along picture5with the first reason, but the RA team dynamic really has the capacity to be a second family. I’ve had several RAs call me “Mom” over the years in a respectful, endearing manner because we’ve been so tight-knit. While each of my RA teams has had a different dynamic, all have been special and have taught me so much about leading a team. I’ve worked hard to create teams that love & protect each other, that know each other’s stories and go deep, and that support each other well.
  3. RDs are Rad: While impacting students gives me the deepest sense of purpose in this job, I have also made some of the best friends I’ve ever had while working on a team of other Resident Directors. From my first year in 2011-2012 to this year in 2016-2017, I have made incredible new friends each year. In a university that is constantly changing, they have been steady & consistent; I honestly don’t know what I would do without them.
  4. Sharing My Passions: Over the years, I have been given the chance to teach on so many topics that I’m passionate about such as healthy relationships, boundaries, sex-trafficking, building bridges between Christians and the LGBTQIA community, authenticity & vulnerability, body image, the power of owning our stories, mental health, identity, etc.
  5. Check It Off The To-Do List: My job has a large administrative piece to it, which I actually don’t mind. I am a type-A, organized person so having tasks that I can check off the To-Do List at the end of the day helps me feel accomplished.
  6. Pass It On: When I was in college, my resident director changed my life forever. He taught me the immense value of creating a safe place for people to be exactly where they’re at, while simultaneously seeing their potential and helping them to grow. I try my best to be that kind of leader as well.

picture6 7. Redeeming Our Mistakes: As an RD, part of the job is to be on-call for emergencies. While this can be stressful (especially if the call comes at 3am), I am thankful for it too. Whether it’s providing emotional support in a crisis or even sitting with students when they’ve made an unwise choice, I love that I get the chance to remind students that they don’t have to be defined by what’s been done to them or by the poor choices they’ve made. Redemption, hope and healing are always possible.