This week, Angie is joined by Nichole Thompson, a Junior from Skokie, Illinois who is studying Music Performance at Bradley. Nichole is currently a Resident Advisor (RA) and loves to talk about her experience living in the residence halls.
Angie: Hi Nichole! Let’s talk about living in Bradley’s residence halls. For you, what was the most surprising thing about living in a residence hall?
Nichole: Coming into my first year at Bradley, I was really concerned about the communal restrooms/showers. I was so worried that the restrooms would be packed all the time and I wouldn’t be able to use it when needed. I quickly found out that it is rare to see the restroom completely full so I’ve never had an issue. My concerns about the communal showers went away fairly quickly too. You get into a routine and so does everyone else.
Angie: We do hear from a lot of students that the communal restrooms sound scary in the beginning. Most of the time, students only know what is shown in the movies or on tv and that can be a challenge because real life is so different.
Angie: What’s been your favorite thing about living in the residence halls?
Nichole: The friendships for sure. I began at Bradley in Fall 2020, so COVID was in full force and we weren’t able to do much outside of our floor. The RAs were so amazing and because of them, our entire floor became extremely close. We were always together and loved it. Actually, that is the reason I wanted to become an RA. I saw the effort that the RAs were putting in and it inspired me to become an RA!
Angie: And what is the best part of being an RA?
Nichole: I absolutely love being an RA. I love getting to know people’s backgrounds and the joy of making others feel welcome. It is so important that everyone feels comfortable where they are living. I organize events and programs for my floor on a regular basis, like going out to eat, hanging out in the quad to do homework, painting on the quad, and scavenger hunts. We find that people who attend these events also become interested in becoming an RA themselves! Another perk of being an RA is getting to live by yourself too.
Angie: Let’s talk about living with a roommate. This may be the first time that a student will share a room with someone else. What is your advice for roommates?
Nichole: I would say a roommate agreement or contract is a great idea. I always ask my floor to create and sign a roommate agreement so that boundaries are set in the beginning. Also, communication with your roommate is so important. You can’t assume that your roommate knows what you thinking or if you are unhappy with something they did. Just be honest with them. And don’t feel like you can only hang out with your roommate! Knock on a neighbor’s door and ask to hang out – that is a great way to meet others and find new friends.
Angie: Living in a residence hall is just one of the many ways that you can meet people and build a connection to our Bradley community. Is there anything you want to add or any other advice you would like to provide?
Nichole: I tell everyone to meet and talk to their professors before you start classes, if possible. That will help you get a feel for how they’ll work with you. I chose Bradley because of Dr. Kyle Dzapo. I met her at a visit day and knew that I wanted to attend Bradley because of her passion and enthusiasm. And maintain a good relationship with faculty – you never know what opportunities they can provide for your future career.