Tuesday, January 29, 2013


I remember the first year that I was a Hall Director and I organized training.  I was so excited and had all of these great ideas.  I thought that no one in the world had ever thought about incorporating learning outcomes, creating activities that pertained to the job, etc.  Year 1, I remember it well and I was so excited.  I think that I even made door decorations for all of my RA’s AND wrote motivational note cards to them that I would sneak and put up at night.  They would wake up in the morning, after five hours of sleep, rejuvenated and excited to see that I cared about them as a person.  Hell, I even created an entire training theme that I would carry over into the lobby decorations, bulletin boards, and the door decs of my RA’s.   I would also insert two or three game nights where I stayed up with them and we watched movies and I made them popcorn as they worked so hard on their jobs.

Let us fast forward to X number of years later (I admit, I am wee bit embarrassed to say just HOW many years).  I have had enough seniority to wiggle my way out of leading training for the department; rather I giggle every time a new and bright eyed person comes on board and want to lead the process.  Inevitability they always talk about learning out comes and how it’s going to be “better” this year.  I admit, there was a point where I would try and defend the training of the past and try and explain the limitations of what one could during training.  This was also in addition to explaining that about $20,000 was spent on food and if a retreat occurred add on another $15,000.  In all honesty, as the years have gone by, I don’t say anything.  You know what; sometimes the training are hella better than anything I could have done.  Yet, without fail, there is always some level of outrage at how much t-shirts for all the RA’s cost AND no matter what you try and do to prevent it, t-shirt sizes will never align with the actual sizes needed.  I tried having them write the shirt size on their application, as part of their contract, even follow-up e-mails.  Trust me, there is nothing you can do, it will never match-up.

I digress though.  I would say around year three is when I started sitting there thinking to myself “I’ve been through X number of trainings”.  Each year, even though the year had only increased by one, the number of trainings seemed to increase by 3-4.  Fall Training, Spring Training, and Summer Training.  Holy Shit, there are on so many times you can have excitement at making someone cry while doing a Behind Closed Doors Scenario (Oh, let us not forget the yearly genius who always 1) changes the name of BCD or 2) “revolutionizes” how it is run).  …I take that back, there are some fun times in making people cry during behind closed doors, especially when it is about mundane tasks such as a broken pipe, gushing sink, or academic support.  Yet, now I kind of sit there and just stare blankly at the fresh meat who basically just told a kid to go kill himself.  Ah, training. 

However, I’m back on track now, there just comes a point where you say screw the matching door decs and maybe you doodle the RA’s names on a note pad.  I measure the success of an RA training by whether or not the organizer has fitted in a significant amount of “me” time and ends the day by 5:00 p.m.  Or, as a super added bonus, only requires one or two HD’s to be present during the training session, thus giving all the other ones time off.  That’s a successful training, not 2 a.m. popcorn parties when your body clearly needs 8 hours of sleep because you’re old. 

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