Best Resident Assistant – Jimmy Johnson
Being a resident assistant involves patience, persistence and even a little knowledge in knowing how to balance your personal life with your work life.Sophomore finance major Jimmy Johnson knows just how to do this. Being an RA in West Hall involves a lot of time and commitment, and the student from Osceola learned first-hand how this worked.“I wanted to inspire incoming freshmen to be themselves as well as remember why they’re here: let’s get something out of college; know why you’re here,” Johnson said. He is no stranger to leadership roles; he was involved in EAST labs and Drama club in high school.This fall is Johnson’s first semester as a RA; he has 28 residents.“I felt this was a good transition to make while in college- it’s quite an honor to be called the best RA, I just started this job and I’m already getting recognition for my work,” Johnson said.Change is inevitable while being a college student, Johnson said he handles this with a realistic approach by telling his residents that they won’t be the same person by Christmas break, let alone the end of the year, because he knows he’s not the same person he was last year.“Knowing that you’re touching someone’s life every day is the best part of being a RA. I would like my residents to learn to be themselves. There is nothing wrong with being yourself, just be you. We don’t use the word ‘weird’ on our floor. People have the tendency to stereotype other people,” Johnson said.At the beginning of the semester, Johnson did an “Ask Your RA” program with his residents, which he said is his favorite. “I just really gave them the chance to break the ice between the residents and me,” he said. In this program, Johnson had his residents write questions on a piece of paper, and he put the questions in a hat and drew questions to answer. “I found out that I have very curious residents,” Johnson said. They asked him questions like, ‘do you have a girlfriend?’ ‘Can you teach me how to dress?’ and ‘Where are you from, and how do you make it through each day?,” Johnson said.Some people make being a RA a career. “I plan on being a RA [during] my entire attendance here at UALR. My future is something that I often pray about. Student affairs would be a good field to go into, but ultimately I would want to get a master’s in finance.” Johnson said.Aside from being a RA and keeping his grades up, Johnson enjoys working out and playing basketball. In high school, Johnson played basketball for his school. “I had an ultimate goal to play college basketball, but after I didn’t get the division 1 scholarships I wanted, I decided to take an academic route and make the best of my situation,” Johnson said.