The opinions expressed in this column are the columnist’s own, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Resident Life at the University of Maryland.

You are a full-grown adult, so expect us to treat you like one.

If you’re a freshman who just moved out of your parents’ house and straight into the dorms, it might seem like a big adjustment — and it is. As a resident assistant, my motto is “I’m not your mom.” We’re not here to baby you; we’re here to get you ready to live on your own someday. When you go live out in the real world, there are no official quiet hours, and that noise complaint from your neighbor is going to be a visit from the police instead of your friendly neighborhood RA telling you to keep it down.

As RAs, part of our job is to help you learn how to be a good neighbor and learn how to handle situations on your own so you’re not left completely in the dark when you have to do it after you graduate. Also, clean up after yourself in common spaces. Your mother doesn’t work here, and even if she did, I doubt she’d want to clean up your mess.

RAs are people, too.

This might come as a surprise to some people, but RAs are people just as much as you are. We have friends (usually other RAs), we go out, we go to class, and we generally have lives just as complex and busy as yours. So please, if you see us on McKeldin Mall (or at a bar/party if you and your RA are both 21), just say hi and act normal. It might seem like — as Mean Girls would phrase it — “seeing a dog stand on its hind legs,” but just try to remember that we are people too.

Also, try not to knock on our doors early in the morning or late at night. We have an RA on duty for a reason, so if you need help you can always call them. But unless your RA is on duty, please let them sleep.

Bulletin boards are sacred.

Look, we know you probably don’t read our bulletin boards unless you’re forced to, and that’s fine. But respect the work that we’ve put into them by not tearing them down. I can’t think of a faster way to piss off most of the RAs that I know than ripping down their bulletin boards. We’re required to do them once a month, and they usually take at least three hours each, if not a considerable amount more. So out of respect for your RA or just out of sheer human decency, don’t mess with your RAs’ bulletin boards.

(Most) RAs aren’t looking to get people in trouble.

Yes, our job is to enforce policy in the dorms. However, we aren’t junior police officers, we aren’t out to get you, and we don’t take any pleasure in getting people in trouble. We aren’t stupid — we know residents are going to drink in their rooms, but we aren’t going to catch them unless there’s loud music playing or there are a large number of people in the room. We don’t go listening at people’s doors hoping to catch them. If you get caught violating policy, it’s almost always because you’re not being smart about how you’re doing it. Trust me, your RA isn’t looking forward to writing a five-paragraph report at 3 a.m. on exactly how you violated policy. We have better things to do, like sleep.

We genuinely care about our residents.

This is probably the most important. As a resident, I never realized how much work and effort RAs put into their jobs and how much time they spend talking with residents and listening to them. Every RA went through an intense screening process, a three-credit course and two weeks of summer training to become an RA, and every single one of us cares about our job and genuinely cares about our residents. Yes, the single room, the free room and board are pretty awesome, but we don’t do it for that. We do it because we love it. So next time you’re having a problem, know that you can always go and talk to your RA about it and know that they will honestly be happy to help you with it or just listen.

Isobel Hawes is a sophomore biology and English major. She can be reached at