Thursday, May 14, 2009

RA Memories

In a meeting the other day, a couple of us talked briefly about our days of being an RA. Granted, none of us were RA's at the same school, it had me thinking back on the 5 years (that's right, 5 years) that I spent in good ole' Reese Hall back at Tennessee. Only 4 of those were as an RA, I also lived there my Freshman year. The picture doesn't look like much, but I have many fond memories of my time there.Today's list is . . . The 5 things I miss about being an RA (in an all guys res hall)

1) My friends on the different staffs over the years -- I've kept in touch with many thanks to Facebook, but there are only about 5 that I've kept in close contact with over the years. We ate meals together, played intramurals together, had classes together and went to football games together. I like to say that it was like having 13 roommates every year, but we didn't have to share a bathroom.

2) Defending the honor of Gumby -- All of you are thinking "Gumby? The green cartoon?" Yep, that's him. Back in the 1970's, Reese Hall adopted Gumby as their mascot and it stuck. I think I have 7 t-shirts with Gumby on them. We even had a stuffed Gumby that we passed around from week to week at staff meetings that went to the person who did something that benefited the entire hall or went out of their way to help a fellow RA. I had it my fair share of time, it was an honor to guard him. "Guard him?" Yep, the other halls knew that he was our mascot and would try to steal him if they could. I think in my 4 years on staff, he only got stolen twice.

3) Staff meetings -- I enjoyed them because it was the only time the entire week that we all saw one another. There was always business to go over, but sharing funny moments throughout the week about our residents was always good for a laugh. Since it was a time that we all had on our schedule every week, it allowed us to play IM softball as a staff during softball season. It was awesome that we had a Hall Director that would let us do that for two years; he was also our second baseman.

4) Random road trips -- The one that I remember the most was a Friday night that a few of us had nothing to do. After some conversation, we ended up taking a trip to Cherokee, NC to visit the Casino on the Indian reservation. I remember it well, it was me, Erik P, and Greg K leaving Knoxville at like 9pm to make the 90 mile drive. We had to drive through Pigeon Forge, TN (tourist hell) to get to where we were going and we didn't know that there was a car show in town that night. Combine that with Erik P's car burning oil and all the people of the side of the road to watch the other cars were telling us that our car was smoking; I need to mention that we were moving at a snail's pace with the windows down. We could have had a conversation with the people in their lawn chairs if we wanted to, we were moving that slow. We got to the casino close to midnight. I won a little money, got little sleep and had to be on desk duty at 8am Saturday morning. I was tired on Saturday, but it was worth it.

5) My bathroom was cleaned for me every week -- Yeah, call me lazy; it was a skill that I didn't learn until grad school. I loved Laura and Ernestine who cleaned my bathrooms over the years. Heck, I loved our entire custodial, maintenance, and clerical staff; after working there for 4 years, I got to know them pretty well.

I had a great time being an RA, but I've enjoyed life after on-campus living so much more. I'm not one of those people who will go back to Reese Hall when I'm up there for a football game and tell the RA on duty at the desk that I used to be an RA there. Last time I was up there, I went in, looked around the lobby, used the lobby restroom and then left. That's all I needed to do to bring back old memories (I'm talking about looking around the lobby, not using the restroom).


  1. Billy,

    I'm going through Knoxville in early July. Reese will either be really quiet, or packed with summer campers. Either way I am going to stop and just look around.

    How can you have a list about Reese without mentioning Grand Illuminations, Gumby fest, or the Don't Hate on Me program?


  2. I forgot about Don't Hate on Me. When I wrote this last week, I focused on big picture memories and not too many specifics. I do miss a lot of things from those days, but I'm happier being out in the real world even though I kind of never left college. I think I miss being in the SEC the most.