The Best of Both Worlds

With labels like Community Adviser, Teachers Assistant, Resident Adviser, and College Ambassador, you would think these people would be some kind of modern day superheroes. Next thing you know you interact with an individual in your community that holds a position like this and see we are all average students just like yourself. Although we have been trained to have the knowledge in our specific areas of work to help other students, we do bad on tests, stay up late studying at the library, and struggle with life’s obstacles just as much as every other student at this university. The main goal of students in these positions is to take the hardships we have faced in our time at Iowa State and provide other students with information on how we deal with these issues and how they too can succeed by using the right resources.

Speaking specifically as a community adviser living in an apartment community I know that residents living in these areas are less likely to reach out to their community advisers when they need assistance. Like the majority of students that move out to campus owned apartments, I was ready live in Frederiksen Court in order have more independence after my freshman year. As a community adviser I often times feel like it is a lot harder to reach out to residents in the apartment communities than in the residence halls because of this reason.

The Frederiksen Court Community Center is a great place for residents of on campus apartments to meet each other and hang out.
The Frederiksen Court Community Center is a great place for residents of on campus apartments to meet each other and hang out.

In the residence halls, a significant number of residents tend to leave their doors open when they are home so people can stop in, say hello, and get to know each other. So far in the apartment community I have come across only one group of individuals that are social enough to do this. With all of the doors closed, it has proven more difficult to meet residents and fully introduce myself. Knock-and-talks have been a great way to let the students in my building see me face to face and understand who I am, but there have been countless times where I have met a Frederiksen Court resident and have been surprised to find out they live in my building. When this is the case it is slightly more difficult to let students in your community know what kind of resources we have available for them as community advisers.

Just like any position an individual may hold in their life, community advisers go through training in order to be an adequate resource to those around them. There is a two and a half week extensive training community advisers must participate in each semester where we learn the ins and outs of being a leader in our community. We gain information on every single resource at Iowa State, how each one is beneficial to students ranging from struggling to super successful, and ways we can connect all residents to these resources. A lot of times students think that those who use the resources available to them on campus such as counseling services, the student success center, student assistant outreach, etc. are those that need the most help, when in fact this is not always the case. There are a number of students doing well in all of their classes that use the student success center just to get an “A” as opposed to a “B” on their exams. This and many other examples are great indications as to why no student should be afraid to get even the littlest bit of help they need and how available that help really is.

Community Advisers might be your average joe students, but we are also here to share our information and knowledge with everyone around us. Whether you live in a residence hall, apartment community, or even off campus living, reach out to a community adviser. Ask them questions, challenge them to use the skills they have been trained to use, and don’t be afraid to get the help you need. We might not wear capes, but we do have some pretty cool powers when it comes to assisting those living in our community.