The other night I found myself at a party at a friend’s apartment. Everyone was is a good mood, having fun and enjoying the college lifestyle. There was no Ke$ha or Miley Cyrus to be heard; all was good. Epic battles of Beirut were going down in the kitchen and on the living room table a game of kings was being played. Other people stood around sharing tales of their glory days of high school sports and other general conversational topics from classes to internships. Then came the knock on the door.
The knock came from two RAs because it was after the 1 a.m. quiet hours. Earlier, one of the residents had asked everyone to keep it down, but unfortunately that didn’t last too long. One RA spoke and said something along the lines of “You guys are being too loud. Unless you are sleeping here you all have to leave. Form a single file line and have your IDs ready so we can take down your names and ask a few questions.” That was it. No warning. Nothing. It was your typical power-tripping “I got picked on in high school so I became an RA,” the worst type of RA. While the two RAs talked with one of the residents, I grabbed my backpack and started the line out the door. I went first because I was feeling confident and knew others might need a little more time to collect themselves.
I handed over my ID, gave them my date of birth and informed them that I had not been drinking. I was free to go. I waited outside for a few friends and to make sure everyone was leaving OK. Despite the fact that the music was turned down low, the amount of conversations and laughing was apparently loud enough to call attention to the apartment. As I stood outside, I wondered if they would bust the party next door too; and the one that was above us, and the one in the next building over. Noise violations are always the easiest way to get written up by an RA or CA and if you are not prepared they can lead to more serious violations, which could attract the police.
When it comes to dealing with RAs it is very important to know ahead of time what type of RA they are, and this is a lot easier if you live in a dorm compared to the Gables or Woodsides. There are really two main classifications that RAs fit into; there is the power hungry kind and the “I need free housing” kind. Those in the first group are going to use all that power they have to make themselves feel better by ruining the night of fellow students who are just looking to have a good time. They, like many of Durham and UNH’s finest, are on a massive power trip and love the fact that they get to tell people what to do. Sure they are just doing their jobs, but a verbal warning is always nice. The best RAs are the ones who just want the free housing; as long as you are not rude to them they will usually let you off with a warning. They aren’t there to just bust people or make themselves feel important, they just want to get free housing.
Despite a few verbal warnings, I have never been written up for anything, not even a noise violation. It is all about preparation, showing courtesy and obeying quiet hours. If you are in a regular dorm room, and under 21, make sure that nothing is visible from the door if there is a knock. That means having a place to quickly stash all your “Gatorade” and “Mountain Dew.” Try to avoid using anything that will emit curious odors. Also, if you are playing Beirut, always use water cups. It is way easier to hide one drink each than all those cups. Plus, it is more sanitary; trust me, I aced Germs.
If you are hosting a gathering be sure to keep the volume as a reasonable level and don’t be afraid to ask people to leave if they can’t settle down. As a guest always do what the host asks and respect their rules. The bottom line is when you have to deal with RAs or CAs, as painful as it may sound, is to be respectful because it is better than having to deal with the police.
Stay classy, not UMassy.