Residence Life staff receives the beautiful opportunity of investing in the lives of students. I was given the opportunity to interview Hannah Speth about her experience thus far as a Resident Chaplain (RC) in Burritt Hall. This is Speth’s first year of being an RC, yet she has already created many great memories in just one short semester.
Training to become an RC begins during the summer on a “Walkabout” trip and continues directly before the beginning of the school year. Walkabout is a ten-day trip that takes place in the Smoky Mountains. While in the mountains, they are distributed into groups and are required to live off the land and with what little they brought in their backpacks. I wrote about Speth’s beautiful Walkabout experience, you can click to read it here. The training at the school requires learning conversation, how to react in emergencies and awkward situations, knowing the number of the CRE on call and knowing who the therapist, security, and police are. Not only that, but Speth said, “we learned the rules and what to do if people are breaking them or show signs of being mentally unwell.”
The training is vital to take on the various responsibilities during the school year. Speth spoke with me about her various tasks, some of which are more time consuming than others. She is responsible for a floor of girls and checks them in and out of their dorms during breaks and when school begins and ends. She is also an enforcer of rules for the safety of the students. Speth must be available at all times in case someone needs her and must be a spiritual leader to those around her. The responsibilities can be overwhelming at times, but Speth talked about how much she loved having many opportunities to talk to people. She has created close friendships with numerous staff members and loves each of them.
She is the RC of Third Dallas Annex where sixteen other girls live. She spoke to me about her floor theme, Bob Ross. Those of you who are unfamiliar with him, he was a painter and had his own television series. Speth described to me why she chose the theme she did by saying, “I made my floor Bob Ross themed not only because I love him and his work, but also because he is relaxing, and reminds people not to worry so much. I think people in college are too stressed, so I wanted to incorporate something that reminded them how God can change their worries and failures into something much greater.”
While Speth loves her job as an RC, she also spoke with me about the struggles she has encountered. She briefly said, “Finding time to do things that aren’t related to school is hard. This is only because I am also the color guard captain in
Speth and I ended our conversation on a positive note, speaking about the perks of being an RC. She listed them off to me in this order: “Amazing friends, super flexible work hours, going on Walkabout, having a reason to connect with the campus, getting to pick a floor theme, and having the ability to do good things on campus with your leadership role.” I asked Speth if she would want to be an RC again, and she said, “I won’t be next year because I am studying abroad, but if they need me the semester I come back, I would love to. I would also do it my senior year.”
Media by: Di’Mond Salmond