Desk is a somewhat easy, somewhat difficult part of being an RA. The desk is where many things happen. One newer thing from the housing department is that every RA has to work either 6 or 8 hours, and this is more dependent on the size of each staff. If you have more RAs, you work 6 hours; if your staff is smaller, you’ll work more hours but with Desk Assistants taking the leftover hours.
Mail is one thing we encounter at desk, and it’s not always a fun thing to do. USPS, UPS, FedEx, and Amazon all are required to come to the front desk. Amazon has gotten a lot better about delivering stuff there. They used to have a bad habit of just dropping things off at people’s front door. Once packages have gotten to us, we count the number we got and log it in the computer. After that, we search for names in the database to ensure we only receive packages for current residents (if they don’t live with us, it gets returned). After that, we finish logging it and send residents an email letting them know to come get it. Once it has been two weeks, packages get sent back or forwarded.
Lockouts are also a pretty common thing that happen. for something that seems so simple, there’s A LOT of paperwork involved. Each time it happens, we have to explain that they’ll be charged for needing to get back into their room/apartment. If they get locked out during the hours of 10am-10pm, they only get charged $5; if they get locked out between 10pm-10am, they get charged $25. If they get locked out, but bring the key back, they don’t get charged too much. The only time they get charged a lot of money is if they need to get the locks replaced.
Another aspect of desk is answering phones. This plays a huge part of our job, even though we don’t get many calls. The worst, and I mean ABSOLUTE WORST, calls we get are usually from parents. There are a lot of protocols that come along with being an RA, and parents don’t understand what confidentiality is.