Living a RA life: Sumra Kanwal

Andrew Henderson

WKU’s resident assistants can be found from the bottom floors of Gilbert Hall all the way to the tip-top of Pearce Ford Tower. 

RAs, like graduate student Sumra Kanwal, serve as the backbone of WKU’s housing community.  

Kanwal is a Pakistani graduate student. She has been a RA in PFT since last semester. Kanwal said she was timid at first being offered the position because it seemed difficult to handle all the associated responsibility. 

“I thought it would be really difficult for me being RA, but it is not too difficult—it’s just kind of a 24/7 job,” Kanwal said in an email.

She said she expected to learn different experiences and perspectives by interacting with her residents. Furthermore, she hoped to polish her communication and leadership skills. She said so far she has learned a lot, but admits there is still much more for her to learn.  

Kanwal also said her identity as an international student was a driving factor in what inspired her to serve as a RA. 

“I am an international student so sometimes it’s hard to fit in and be a part of the community,” she said. 

Being able to serve as a RA has allowed Kanwal the opportunity to build a community with the people on her floor and in PFT. She cited being a RA as “the best opportunity to be a part of this community and learn new experiences”.

Kanwal said many of these new experiences have been memorable to her, and she has difficulty narrowing them down to a one singular memorable experience. She recalled an instance when her residents provided her with comfort when she did poorly on an exam. Another time was when her fellow RAs and colleagues offered solidarity to her to let her know they’re they to help her. 

“I mean these small, small things are my favorite and memorable to me,” she said. 

To Kanwal, being a RA is a great way to have a positive impact on the lives of your residents. She said that serving as a role model for your residents and being a shoulder to cry on in hard times is important in the role of being a RA. 

“It always feels so good to help your residents in their hard times or celebrate their success,” Kanwal said. 

Kanwal closed saying she has made really good memories and shares her love for her residents and colleagues, and strongly encourages other students to serve in the capacity of a RA.