This semester has been a particularly trying one for me specifically outside of school. I have had someone leave in every department I am affiliated with (a total of three). After all of these resignations and changes, I began to ask myself if there was something wrong with the university itself as all of these people who left made invaluable contributions to the community. One resignation that really affected me was that of one of my supervisors. I work as a Resident Advisor (RA) on campus and so I have a unique situation where I live where I work. I am one of the RAs for a specialized program that is specifically for first generation college students. This has been one of the best experiences thus far as a college student so as you can imagine, the sudden resignation of one of my supervisors devastated me. It was hard for me to come to grips with being one of the only two returning staff members to the program but I kept an open mind. The program was going to have completely new leadership and not knowing what that was going to look like made me nervous.
It turned out that my nervousness was completely warranted because the program started to look like something totally different, in a bad way. The endless complaints I received from new and returning residents on a daily basis began to take a toll on me. It was the combination of being involved in so many things outside of school along with my rigorous coursework that just made things worse. My residents told me that they were going to take matters into their own hands because of how dissatisfied they were with the changes within the program. I was put in a tough position because I shared their frustration but wasn’t sure what I would be able to do as an RA. I decided to document all of the comments and complaints that I was hearing from residents so that I could bring it up to my boss. We were able to meet and I think the meeting was pretty productive. I realized that I had little to no power in my position and the most I could do was let me superiors know and they would then notify their bosses about everything that was going on. After coming to this realization, I told myself that I wouldn’t let this situation affect me as it did at the beginning of the semester. Change within this program is inevitable and I had to just do my job as an RA to the best of my ability and support my residents in as many ways I can.
I was okay with this decision up until last week when I overheard the new leadership of the program talk negatively about me, my colleagues as well as my boss. All of a sudden, the emotions and thoughts I had at the beginning of the semester came flooding back and I found myself extremely upset. I am a verbal communicator and so it was hard for me not to pour out my thoughts to the first person I saw after hearing these things. After some internal reflection and a conversation with my old supervisor, I asked myself if it was worth mentioning what I heard to my boss. Is it worth making things even more tense than they already are? As an activist, I am inclined to always act upon injustices. It is extremely hard for me to sit quiet about issues or things I disprove of. This is one of those things. However, this is my last year as an RA as well as a college student at UC. These issues I have with the new leadership probably won’t be resolved or looked into until the next school year. BUT, as I stated earlier, it is extremely hard for me to stay quiet about injustices or issues I see. Is it worth adding an additional amount of stress into my already hectic life or is it time to say “enough, let’s move on?”
Mica Cunningham is a graduating Chemistry major and 3rd year WILLer. Her activism is present throughout her various campus roles.