Gatepost Interview: Jessica Linehan, Larned Resident Director

Can you briefly tell me your educational and work background?

I went to Rivier University in Nashua New Hampshire for four years and I got my degree in criminal justice and a minor in psychology. And currently studying with a tutor for the GRE’s so I can get my master’s in Counseling.

I was a residence director for two years at Rivier, where I got my undergrad. I worked as an R.A. Before that, I did my time in retail for two-and-a-half years. I worked at a bunch of camps – one in particular was Camp Sunny in Kentucky. I do a lot of volunteer work down there.

Are you from Kentucky?

I’m not from Kentucky. It started as a habitat trip through Rivier when I was an undergrad and I just fell in love with the area and went back every year to volunteer, so it’s been five years of volunteering down there in eastern Kentucky.

How long have you been an R.D. for Framingham?

This is my first year. I started in July.

How do you like it so far?

I really do love it here. My co-workers are great and supportive. The whole department is supportive. The students are wonderful, and they take a lot of initiative here, which I’m not used to, so it’s very nice.

How are they taking initiative?

I think a lot of students here are very proactive. They have a lot of clubs on campus. They start a lot of clubs on campus, and I feel like every student is at least involved in two or more clubs – or at least from what I’m finding out.

How do you think your residents and R.A.s would describe you?

That’s a tough question. I don’t know. I would like to think I’m pretty easy-going and laid back as a person ,and I am like that in my work, too. I don’t like to be too tense. I like to keep that behind closed doors, you know. If anyone sees me stressing it happens. I would hope all nice things.

What is your favorite part about your job?

I love helping students. I think that is one of my favorite things about this position, whether it’s supervising the staff and encouraging them to do better in seeking whatever they want in life, like, “Hey you got this.” I’m a huge supporter, so that’s one thing. Then, if a student comes to me with concerns – whether it’s roommate-related or family-related or something serious – just to guide them in the proper places where they can find resources here on campus or if they just want to talk to someone, I’m always here for them.

What is some advice that you would like to give to students?

Just never give up. You can’t. Whatever it is, just keep going. And there’s definitely going to be some bumps in the road, but they have to get over that in order to pursue what they need.

What do you think are some of your biggest accomplishments?

For one, I know this sounds very cliché, but I graduated college. I was the first one to graduate college in my family, so that was a huge accomplishment. And I pretty much paid for my own tuition at a private school, so that’s a lot of money, so I think that’s one of my biggest accomplishments. And then making the transition from R.A. to R.D. and just being more accomplished in that area in my career.

Did your time as an R.A. influence your decision to want to become an R.D.?

Absolutely. And I was very close with my R.D. staff, too, so that really helped.

What does your job entail?

There’s the administrative side and then there’s the on-call side. So I’m dealing with incidents, incident management and just your everyday interaction with students and my R.A.s. There’s a lot of different branches for our job.

What are some of your favorite hobbies?

I love running. One of my favorite things to do is hiking. I love anything that is outside, like kayaking. Those are definitely the top. I just signed up for a half marathon, so I’m training for that.

Do you have any advice for students who may want to become an R.A.?

If a student wants to become an R.A., I would definitely say go for it if you have that, you know, drive to help other people and the ability to just keep up with the work. It is very demanding, but if they feel like they can, then I would definitely recommend going for it. Because I think I was very reserved in college, and then I was like, “No, I’m going for this R.A. position,” and I did it, and here I am now as an R.D.

What would you say is one of your best memories from your undergraduate experience?

My R.A. staff. We’re still very close. Some of them are getting married this summer, so we’re in each other’s weddings, and it’s just one big family. That was one of my favorite moments of my undergrad. And of course going to Kentucky.

What do you like most about being at Framingham State?

The support system. Whether it’s my boss or my co-workers, and my staff is very supportive as well. Coming here and being new, they were like, “Here’s how we do things, but feel free to adjust as you will,” and I was like OK, because I’m completely different from the person that was here last year. So everyone is just wonderful here.

Is there anything else you would like to say about your job?

I am very thankful and fortunate to be here.

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