Life in the Fishbowl
Having lived in a city of 80,000 people my entire life, I rarely ever had to deal with “watching my back” when out in public. Not that I had a tendency to do anything reckless or act in careless ways, but it was easy to relax while out and about because I knew that the chance of seeing someone I knew was slim-to-none. However, over the past 3 years that I have spent in Macomb, I have realized something: You tend to see at least one familiar face, anywhere you go, and at any time of day. In fact, it actually begins to feel odd when you walk into a store or a restaurant and you don’t see somebody you know. As an RA, I had noticed the fishbowl effect right from the start of this position. Sometimes, it almost feels as if I am under a spotlight, and all eyes are on me…especially while walking through the dining center, and even while eating there. The thought of being watched may cause some people to feel anxious and uneasy, but at the same time it also brings benefits. To me, the fishbowl effect serves as a constant reminder to act appropriately and professionally, where ever I am. As the reader, ask yourself: Where is the majority of time spent between an RA and their residents? The answer: on their floor in the residence hall. That being said, when a resident spots their RA in a setting other than the residence hall, they typically become very excited about it because it’s an environment in which they don’t usually see their RA. For example, when a certain resident and I see each other in our hallway, we normally say hello and have a short conversation, nothing overly exciting; however, when I ran into this same resident at Wal-Mart just the other day, he practically yelled my name halfway across the store and told all of his friends that I was his RA. Since we strive to learn so much about our residents, they also feel the need to learn about their RA, and they often do this by simply observing our behavior. The way we talk, the clothes...
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