I don’t blame my college RA for getting charges pressed against me. She was just doing her job. The timing wasn’t in my favor, either: The Monday afternoon she happened to investigate reports that my dorm room was leaking smoke like a chimney, my roommates and I had just busted out a double-barrelled joint. And when she arrived — with a member of the housing staff, a full adult with salary and benefits — she found our living room walls covered with signs we’d “repurposed” from various campus events. Also, one of the signs was that same housing staff member’s wedding announcement.
The charge: stolen property.
This certainly wasn’t the worst or weirdest thing our college resident advisers had to deal with at New College of Florida. Colleges decide to delegate power and responsibility to kids a year older than their subordinates in exchange for subsidized living and maybe minimum wage. More often than not, they’re in over their heads.
That is to say, they’ve seen some shit. Often, literal shit. Last week, a former RA who goes by the Reddit username PMForHonestOpinions started a thread in AskRedditAfterDark about people’s biggest “pics or it didn’t happen” type of moments. He kickstarted the converation with stories about naked women, attempted sexual assault and a time he accidentally walked in on two straight girls 69ing. Inspired by this, we looked for other threads detailing RA stories.
Last year, in another thread, RAs shared all the fun, weird, gross, and disturbing things they witnessed on the job. I can’t stress enough how often the stories relate to poop. Here’s a sample:
“Yes, someone shat in the shower. I don’t know why, but this happens everywhere for some reason,” said Reddit user WarwickshireBear. (At my school, we had a notorious public shitter who famously frequented the one dorm on campus with communal showers.)
Someone (maybe multiple people??) shat in the shower so much in my dorm that it actually had to be a written rule on the dorm etiquette poster in the middle of the hall. What the fuck, guys.
Eponinethenerdier had to set a similar rule:
I’m a current RA. I also had to make this a community standard second semester. I hate everything. I also go to a women’s college. So much for girls not pooping.
Had the typical football boys shit in one of the shower drains and not tell the janitors, until they found it a week later after the communal bathroom started to smell.
RAs like Gronkalicious became collateral damage to pranks between residents:
I was an RA in our freshman dorm my senior year (2009-2010).
I had 2 residents who played a game where they tricked each other into seeing their buttholes. Texts, printed pictures in a laptop, and so on.
Walking the hall one night I see their door is cracked open but the light is off. I figure I should make sure their stuff is safe and lock it up for them.
I push the door open, flip the light on, and look into the middle of the room to see one of the residents pantless laying on his back knees pulled up to his ears presenting his pooper in all of its glory.
It was an anus ambush and I was collateral damage.
IRunOnDietCoke shared a story of how RAs like to have fun, too… sort of.
My favorite was not actually what a resident did, but another RA. It was her birthday so her and two friends did shrooms in her room. I heard screaming so I went up to check it out. My colleague saw me and was like, “Please, you have to help me.” Her friend was running up and down the hall screaming, “I’m on drugs! I’m on drugs!” She killed my colleague’s goldfish and almost threw herself down a flight of stairs. Their third friend was pretty much unresponsive when the police/paramedics came.
Also had a resident who sold breakfast sandwiches out of his room sometimes.
Dorm rooms are not a good place to do shrooms, kids.
BestClipFan’s job as an RA was basically to make the school look good, avoid a lawsuit and protect young eyes:
Midway through winter our college does a sort of preview day for seniors who would be interested in applying to the college. Part of the preview day is a tour of the residence halls as a way to entice the would-be students.
The preview day was on a Saturday, and the current residents were all recovering from a Friday of drinking and doing whatever freshman do. Usually the freshman are able to make it back to their room… but in this case one did not make it all the way back. Rather, this freshman had made it back to his room, proceeded to undress, left his room and then passed out midway to the bathroom.
Any other day this would be a funny little college story… but the tours were about the start. Luckily I stumbled upon Sleeping Beauty pretty early in the morning and proceeded to rouse him. Someone had thrown a towel over him so he wasn’t completely naked (a maid later told me she put the towel on him and I really do wonder what these maids see… probably worth a thread in itself). As I started to wake him up I started to hear voices and a lot of footsteps. Knowing the tour was coming I shoved the resident toward his room, opened the unlocked door and dropped him in.
A minute or so later, a tour group wandered around the corner and I walked away. It would have been absolutely hilarious to have had them stumble upon a drunk, passed-out resident in the middle of their tour. Though I imagine I probably would have gotten at the very least a firm talking to and I am glad to have avoided that.
Here’s my personal favorite response to the Reddit thread, from JSchecter11:
- Octopus in the toilet…. Like a fresh octopus.
- Pancake mix party… I don’t know either.
- Watching a drunk girl take a shit in the middle of a sidewalk in a populated area.
- Washing machine full of rice. Why.
RAs probably are the target of some unnecessary hatred, as VagabondHermit explained:
Being an RA was a lot of fun. People think you’re a narc, and sometimes you have to be, but I was mostly focused on just stopping them from hurting themselves or others. The experience was worth the alienation. And the recurring bottles of piss left at my door.
After combing through this Reddit thread, I turned to the alumni Facebook group for my alma mater to see if I could gather some more stories there.
Dwight H. Mann of West Palm Beach shared this:
During the ’93–’94 year while I was “on duty” [as a dorm patroller], a member of the beloved retired NYPD contingent of the NCPD police force approached me and asked if I knew [name]. I responded that I knew him a bit, why? The officer suggested that it might be a good idea if I approached [name], who lived in a single balcony that faced the sidewalk running between the Fitness Center and Palm Court, and get him to keep the shades over the sliding glass doors completely shut. I asked for specifics and he just smiled and indicated that if certain members of the department were to happen by at night that student might have problems. I immediately headed out to the Fitness Center and made the walk back to Palm Court but couldn’t really see anything through the obviously open shades, so I decided to let it slide for the moment.
A couple hours later I walked that route again and from more than one hundred feet away could see the unmistakable glow of a high-powered grow lamp inside the room. As I was SMH on the way to his room I hoped that the only reason the shades weren’t pulled was to assist in venting the massive amount of heat those lights generated. Nope, the sliding glass door was completely closed. I walked around to his front door and knocked on it and he answered. I said I needed to speak to him inside his room and he let me in. I conveyed that I could see the grow light and that he needed to keep the shade pulled while it was on. He responded that he didn’t see why that was necessary. I then conveyed that the police were aware of the grow operation and that if it wasn’t kept better undercover it might not go well for him. His response, and in line with how many students of that era would have reacted: “Why the fuck do they care what I do in my room!?”
And a similar story from alum Emma Jay Byfield:
I was an RA from 2001-2004 and I’ll never forget walking into a room in Pei 1st Court. They had a full on distillery in their room. “What are you making in here?” “Absinthe!”
I recall my roommates sophomore year also making absinthe, as well as a student allegedly cooking crack cocaine in a communal kitchen, mostly just to see if he could do it. Knowing my school, I’m doubtful that an RA would have allowed the latter, but the former probably would have been chill.
Most of the time, RAs are just fellow kids trying to get by. A job’s a job. It can even have a few perks, as fellow alum Lando Ringel, an RA from 2011 to 2012, shared: “I used to have my residents pay me in cigarettes to unlock their doors for them.”