I’m a little mortified to admit I have to hype myself up before I go on weekend duty as a Community Advisor. I listen to Beyoncé, eat a dinner I really like and watch Gilmore Girls. I’ve always done this, but ever since a bystander physically pushed me a few weeks ago while I tried to assess a situation involving the safety of another student, I’ve felt a little nervous. This feeling sucks because being on duty is one of the most time-consuming and regular parts of the job — making sure everyone is safe and that students are following policy.
By putting their hands on my body, the bystander violated my space and my agency as a female student-employee trying to help another student. They did it so I wouldn’t reach out to Campus Safety after assessing the other student’s condition, thereby hypothetically getting someone into trouble with the College. Students usually ask us not to call Safety because of the threat of disciplinary action, but it’s rare for someone to physically interfere with the situation in this way. It wasn’t good, and I want to be clear that something as overt as this is unusual.
What happened to me a couple of weekends ago gets to the crux of a fundamental misunderstanding about our job that’s become apparent to me as I’ve been working. More than anything, we’re here to help students, not to get them in trouble, at least in my experience. One of the best parts of my job is that I get to buy pizza regularly for my residents. I’m (obviously) a student, and a person, too. When we have to write people up for failing to adhere to College policy, I’m no less pleased about it than the students are. We’re happy to help. And we’re also stoked when we don’t have to bother you to turn down your music on a random Tuesday, to paraphrase something fellow CA Madeleine Manly ’18 texted me. And the job feels like so much more than just being your neighborhood hardass about stuff people do after-hours. I don’t want to speak for all CAs, of course, but I’ve never not found this to be the case.
Especially with Sendoff coming this weekend, I wanted to write this as a reminder to the student body. It’s the worst feeling when people get annoyed and hostile when we’re just trying to do our jobs and keep people safe.
Gabrielle Healy ’18 is an English major from Fairhaven, Mass. Contact her at email@example.com.