North Central College - Naperville, IL

Real Advice

Adjusting to campus life may be a freshman’s greatest worry but you’ll find an understanding Resident Assistant (RA) down the hall for questions and help.

Alexis Ledbetter sees the need to help new students understand the importance of acceptance and to encourage respect for others’ backgrounds and personal situations. “I emphasize how important it is to accept and embrace people who may not be exactly like you,” she says. “It’s common for us to be drawn to people who are like us, but we need to reach out to understand everyone.”

Alexis distributes flower petals as a way to recognize residents who invite floormates to dinner, coffee or other events. A wall display called the “petal peddler” shows everyone’s progress.

A theatre major, she uses her free nights away from rehearsals for floor programs. She organized a group outing to a campus event on international social issues and then led a spirited discussion in her room that included tea and sweets. “I’m proud of you all for wanting to become proactive on this issue,” she told the group.

Alex Pirela was very motivated to become an RA and mentor freshman student-athletes. “I want to guide them in their transition from high school,” he says. “There are so many challenges that you can help them with: living conditions, classes and time management.”

Alex feels strongly that “college sets us up for the rest of our lives. How we treat another person, achieve a goal in class and form habits will make us or break us in real life.”

Balancing RA duties with Cardinal football can be challenging, but Alex finds time to plan programs on time management and meditation for his residents. For fun, spontaneous Nerf basketball games take place in his room. “There are several different aspects of your life that you can work on to make yourself succeed,” he adds. “There is no better place than college to sculpt the person you want to be.”