Tuesday, September 13, 2016
Leadership lived: Resident assistant learns life lessons at UIS
Audrey LeVault says being a resident assistant (RA) at the University of Illinois Springfield is teaching her valuable leadership skills and preparing her for a future career in social work.
“Being an RA has taught me to really have an open mind when I come into a conflict,” she said. “I can’t just assume that one person is right and one person is wrong. You really have to be willing to listen to the full story and not take sides in a situation.”
LeVault has been an RA on campus for the past two years, is a member of the Capital Scholars Honors Program, the Social Work Club and is on the Christian Student Fellowship leadership team.
As an RA, she goes on rounds checking on students, works at resident hall front desks and responds to lock outs, fire alarms and noise complaints. However, she says the most important part of her job is community building.
“We really just want residents to feel at home, so we put on different programs trying to get them out of their houses, so they can interact with their neighbors,” she said.
She often comes across challenging situations, where corrective action is required, but believes lessons can be learned from a second chance.
“Everybody makes mistakes and it’s being willing to work with that person when they make a mistake, so they don’t have to go through this again, that makes conflict a learning experience and not just getting someone into trouble.”
LeVault, an Edinburg, Illinois native, says she chose UIS because of the right-sized campus feel.
“I love how tiny it is, because I feel like you have so many opportunities,” she said. “There’s so many different student-lead organizations here. You have such a good chance to be involved, if you want to be involved.”
Following graduation from UIS, she plans to earn her master’s degree in social work with a focus on either school social work or children and family services.
“Overall, my experience at UIS has been great,” she said. “I’m super glad I chose UIS. If I had to do it over again, I’d still pick UIS.”