GetReConnected

May 2020


 

Haleigh Meny 

Student Profile

Meny Helps Residents Connect During Transition

It’s not typical for a resident assistant to change buildings during the year, but these are not typical times.  

Haleigh Meny, a sophomore resident assistant, knew she would remain on campus rather than return home during the COVID-19 pandemic to be able to better complete her studies for the year. After filling out the necessary paperwork to remain on campus, Meny was selected to continue her RA duties to assist and lead students remaining in the residence halls. The result was a move from Owen Hall to Honors College and Residences North as students were relocated to residence halls that could better support privacy and social distancing.  

The transition from Owen to Honors meant a lot of changes. After being part of a staff of 16 and supervising a floor of 40 residents, Meny was now part of a team of four RAs and was responsible for connecting with about 20 residents. Social distancing requirements also meant an adjustment in how Meny could connect with her residents, but she was committed to making sure connection could still take place. 

“I think it’s good to make sure that people have someone to talk to,” says Meny. “I always want my residents to know that they can come talk to me. I think it was even more important with what’s going on because it’s just a difficult time for everyone." 

In addition to digital meetings, conversations and events, Meny offered opportunities for her new residents to connect with her individually, which several took advantage of. She says offering these opportunities was important for students who may have been feeling isolated or stressed about the transition to online learning. 

“Connecting with your friends, seeing people and seeing your family is important to mental health,” says Meny. “A lot of the people can’t see their family or friends and that can just be really hard to deal with. You’re dealing with all of these changes and you might not have your group of friends or family to help you.” 

“In addition, when walking through the halls, you don’t see very many people,” says Meny. “It almost feels like you can be alone at times and I didn’t want anyone to feel that way under the stress.” 

Meny initially became interested in becoming a RA as a way to have a job on campus, an interest that was furthered through encouragement from her freshman resident assistant in Harrison Hall. She was initially selected as a RA alternate before receiving assignment to Owen Hall for the Fall 2019 semester. 

Meny entered the position with some leadership experience accrued from being a member of the Northeast Dubois High School swim team and through observing her parents, who manage three hardware stores in Dubois County. She worked closely with her mother in an internship role with the business, which has been in the family since 1881. The observations and experience gave Meny some background to draw on when she became a RA, but she says there were still some adjustments to make.  

“I think I’ve definitely been able to take some of those skills I’ve learned from my Mom and use them in how I can manage residents, how I work with my staff and make sure everyone stays happy and communicates well,” says Meny. “In working with my Mom’s store, I always worked with my parents and our employees. Now, I’m just working with all of my peers. That was an adjustment but it’s a fun experience to work with new people and my peers.”  

Keeping her door open to share tea and coffee helped Meny connect with her residents in Owen this year. She also says she enjoyed making sure her residents were taken care of around finals, providing pizza and care packages full of study supplies and food to her floor. Meny also cites dinners with Faculty Fellow Alice Wilcoxson of the Department of Health & Kinesiology as a significant part of her Owen experience. Overall, Meny says she has enjoyed the experience of being a RA on a close-knit staff and in a hall made up of mostly first-year students. 

“I’ve made a lot of close friends on staff,” says Meny. “We communicate really well. It’s kind of a neat experience to be a mentor for people who are new to campus and to find out ways you can help them and introduce them to campus.”  

Being a RA has also helped Meny become a more assertive leader. 

“I definitely think I’m more confident in my leadership ability,” says Meny. “I’ve learned to make fast decisions, to be ready and prepared to deal with something I walk into. You can’t just sit around think about what has to be done. You have to make the decision, be confident in what you’re doing and take control.”  

A rising junior, Meny will return to Owen Hall as a RA this fall as she continues to pursue a major in biology and a minor in psychology. She is also involved in undergraduate research with the Zhang Research Group, which uses zebra fish to study cancer genetics and developmental biology. She hopes to work in the medical field some day and says she is considering optometry school, medical school or a masters in genetics counseling. 


  Megan Worobey 

Alumni Profile

Worobey Reflects on Transformative RA Experience

Becoming a resident assistant was a transformative experience for Megan Worobey (Pharmaceutical Sciences, ‘17).  

“Being a RA, to this day, is one of the greatest things I’ve ever done,” says Worobey. “I think everything about who I am as a leader, and even as a person, was kind of shaped and touched by being a RA.”  

Worobey’s initial plan on coming to Purdue didn’t involve becoming a RA, or even participating in a hall club. She says she came to Purdue with a list of academic clubs she had researched and wanted to be a part of. That all began to change at the traditional “back dock” party hosted by Earhart and Shreve halls, when she and her friends learned about Earhart Hall’s Itasca Club and decided to answer the call-out.  

Her early involvement in the residence halls was shaped largely by the group of friends she made during Boiler Gold Rush, most of whom lived in Earhart or Shreve.  

“It was fun because we all had different majors, but this was a club that we could do together,” says Worobey. “I really liked that. I think coming in, I already felt a great sense of pride to be in Earhart. What really drew me in more was I’ve always liked being on committees and being a leader. For me, it was amazing because as a freshman, with a lot of other clubs, you can’t come in and be a leader. This was a way for me to come in and immediately start not only giving back to the people in my hall, but also begin to cultivate some of my leadership on a bigger scale.”  

Worobey went on to serve as president of Itasca Club and learned important lessons that have stayed with her.  

“I definitely learned a lot about delegating because it was just not possible to do it all,” says Worobey. “There’s no way you were going to put on this massive event without help. I think that was a really big step for me, and also learning about how people in different committees and with different interests can really come together.”  

Spending time with her friends on the sixth floor of Earhart, and the welcome she felt there from the floor’s RA, helped Worobey decide that she wanted to become a resident assistant.  

Two years of RA experience in McCutcheon Hall imparted more lessons on Worobey. She says she gained experience in time management, organization, prioritizing and critical thinking. It’s the lessons learned and memories formed through relationships however, that stick out the most for Worobey. In one instance, a student told Worobey that she probably wouldn’t have finished the year if not for Worobey’s friendship, support and encouragement. In other instances, friendships were cemented early in the school year and have stuck. 

“Being a RA really taught me how to listen and how to be there for someone,” says Worobey. “I think it brought me some of my best friendships and some of my toughest moments, but also some of my best moments. I wanted to walk away from Purdue feeling like I made a difference I think that was the biggest part of being a RA. I still have residents that will find me on Instagram and tag me in pictures from their freshman year. I think that is definitely the most special part of my Purdue experience.”  

Worobey also took advantage of an opportunity to become part of the UR Alumni and Guest Center student staff, another experience that wasn’t planned but turned out to be an important part of her Purdue journey. Worobey just happened to be in the lobby of Windsor Hall when she ran into a former hall club acquaintance, who encouraged her to apply for a new student position with the Alumni and Guest Center. She was hired as a tour ambassador and later became a tour coordinator. Since many of the student positions were in the infancy of their development, Worobey and her peers were part of the group that helped realize what those positions could become. 

“Being a RA was the most rewarding job, but that tour coordinator job was probably the best I think I’ll ever have,” says Worobey. “We kind of got to create what we wanted it to feel like. We just had so much fun. We made videos to promote UR, we did group events to get some team building in and we hung out outside of work. It was one of those places where I wanted to go to work so even if I wasn’t working that day, I would stop in and hang out for a bit to say hi and see what everyone was up to.” 

Experiences gained as a RA and in University Residences have helped Worobey beyond Purdue, first in an internship and now in her career with AbbVie, a biopharmaceutical company in Chicago. Worobey’s primary responsibilities include writing clinical and pre-clinical lab contracts, which involves extensive communication with others.  

“I was a good student, but I think being so involved in UR helped set me apart because it showed I can connect with people and handle pressure,” says Worobey. “When I went to my internship, my manager said to let him know if I ever got overwhelmed and stressed and I kind of chuckled. I said ‘I’m a RA, there’s nothing you could throw at me that would stress me out or overwhelm me because I’ve been able to manage all of it.’” 

In considering the circumstances of her own experience, Worobey says students should try to remain open to opportunities as they’re presented.  

“I am really glad that when that flyer came across the table we were sitting at for hall club, I didn’t think that it wasn’t really part of my plan,” says Worobey. “I would say just go with the flow and try to take the opportunities that are given to you because Purdue does have a lot of amazing opportunities. 

“Put yourself out there and have faith in yourself that you’ll manage it and learn from it. I was very shy and I didn’t know who I was, but because I said yes to things, that really helped me become who I wanted to be.” 

    NRHH-Decorations.jpg

Organization News

NRHH Sends Door Decorations to Members

In order to help students continue to feel connected to Purdue, members and advisors of the National Residence Hall Honorary (NRHH) sent door decorations to its members who moved home to finish the semester.

Purdue's chapter of NRHH strives to encourage the development of leadership skills through recognition and support. Members are selected based on scholastic achievement, leadership potential and past accomplishments. All members live on campus with University Residences. 

NRHH members are involved in numerous service activities on campus. The organization supported events such as Take Back The Night, an event to raise awareness and end sexual assault and domestic violence, and supported University Residences service staff with care packages for Service Staff Appreciation Day. Members also attend leadership development events, such as University Residences' annual Jay Severson Leadership Retreat. 

 

Writer: Matt Vader | Editors: Elizabeth Hartley, Tammy Loew, Danielle Fawbush

Editorial Board: Barb Frazee, Tammy Loew, Elizabeth Hartley | Inquiries Contact: studentlifemarketing@purdue.edu