Resident Directors have a huge impact on college communities, regardless of the size of the student body. We sat down with five of PHC's Resident Directors from the past years, and asked them to share their memories. This is what they had to say.
The Best Part of Their jobs:
As a whole, RDs spoke universally of their time with students as the highlight of their employment. One-on-one coffee dates with the RAs, late night conversations with wingmates, and everyday interactions with the student body in chapel and the dining hall made their time as an RD challenging but incredibly rewarding.
"I was privileged to get a front row seat to some of your lives. It was exciting and encouraging to see individuals develop and grow." —Bethany Vehlow, 2013-15
"Working as an RD gave me the opportunity to have literal thousands of conversations talking through the important things in life—whether life, the gospel, or some concept that came up in their participation of the 'Great Conversation.' It was an honor to get to help students think through so many important questions!" —Jensen Near, 2010-13
"There are so many things that could compete for being the best part of that job, but I think they could all be covered under the umbrella of simply being able to live with and grow alongside the student body during that season. We laughed a lot together, we cried a lot together, we prayed a lot together." —Stephen Williams, 2013-15
On the least favorite part of their jobs:
For all of the meaningful conversations and long-lasting friendships formed, being an RD came with its own unique set of difficulties. Cleaning inspections, extensive paperwork, and the constant emotional exertion stretch each of the RDs in ways in which they never could have anticipated.
"Contrary to the possibly popular opinion I don’t really enjoy going through each of the rooms on a dust and hair quest. Although, I am glad that we have Grey Gloves, as much as I bemoaned them as a student I always appreciated having a very clean room afterwards." —Emily Carde, 2015-Present
"I never looked forward to arguing with a former debate champion or whatever whether or not mandatory chapel attendance meant mandatory for them." —Jensen Near
On their favorite memories:
Being an RD isn't just about heart-to-heart talks or dorm walkthroughs; there's plenty of time to make memories as well. Sometimes the best days are those spent doing relatively simple and ordinary tasks, but there are also those moments that stand out as special, and are remembered fondly for years to come.
"I think one of the most enduring memories for me is singing 'The Parting Glass' alongside the students at the Spring 2015 Harmonicomedy. That was a special, special night."—Stephen Williams
"One of my favorite memories happened during RA training last year. All of the female RAs and I went up to Bear’s Den to watch the sunset, and then came back and hung out for a couple of hours in my room and talked about all sorts of random and wacky things. There was also ice cream involved, which always makes life exciting."—Emily Carde
"I vividly remember standing at the door of the gym as the Class of 2013 filed out of their graduation ceremony. Having gotten to watch this class walk through all four years of their PHC experience, remembering where they started, rejoicing in who they had become, and now getting to see them celebrate the culmination of all their blood sweat and tears was a 'golden moment' I'll never forget."—Jensen Near
On the biggest things that God taught them through the position:
God is constantly at work in the lives of his people, and RDs attest to the fact that they grew in their faith and understanding of the love of God more than ever in their leadership roles. Not only did God teach them how to effectively minister to the students in their care, but he also taught them valuable lessons about their personal lives and faiths.
"The more strongly you want the welfare of a place or of a person, the more confident and quick you are to hold them accountable to be the best version of themselves." —Andrew Lonon, 2015-Present
"To be honest I think I'm still learning things from the job, but one thing is that God is faithful, no matter what." —Bethany Vehlow
"Two things God taught me were 1.) The power of asking good questions; and 2.) How to serve faithfully but ultimately depend on the Lord. A prayer the dean continually prayed in our meetings was 'Lord, bring the things we need to know to light.' I cannot tell you how many times we would have something we never should have found out about come to light. The Lord truly answered that prayer numberless times!"—Jensen Near
On advice to current students:
While their days as college students are behind them, RDs can provide a valuable perspective to those still struggling through papers and tests. Most importantly, they all agree on the importance of seeking God first, no matter what other obstacles lie in your path. He'll take care of the rest!
"When you don't know the answers to life's questions, search for them but understand there's some things you'll never comprehend this side of heaven. Be ok with that but don't use it as an excuse to not look for answers. And stick with your friends. This world needs people who love and who are loyal." —Bethany Vehlow
"It is so valuable and important to get involved in a local church. It is a great way to start your week off focused on the Lord and taking the break and rest from school work can help realign your priorities. Second, seek out adventures. This can range from a short walk around campus in the fall to enjoy the beauty God has placed in every leaf, to a long drive on the beautiful back roads, to a road trip to some new part of the country over a break." —Emily Carde
"Let the Word of God cultivate love for your studies and love for your neighbors. Both of these are costly loves, and they are almost never easy to live out, but they are God's gifts to you, both for your sanctification and your encouragement." —Stephen Williams
Reporting by Savannah Petree ,Rebekah Jorgenson, and Christine McDonald.