North Central College - Naperville, IL

Alex Pirela '13: Ready, Willing, and Able

It's easy for Alex Pirela '13 to articulate why he was motivated to become an RA. "I want to guide first-year students in their transition from high school," he says. "There are so many challenges that you can help them with: living conditions, class schedules and time management."

Pirela wants them to know 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 and majors in anthropology and global studies can be challenging, but Pirela finds time to involve his residents in programs on time management and meditation. They also enjoy group activities like dodgeball and Nerf basketball games in his room. "I'm trying to show them that 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."

Pirela was inspired by Sarah Avery, area hall director for selection and training, who made him feel welcome in Patterson Hall last year. "Sarah showed me that in a place of 2,000 students, I had a name and a story. Now I constantly ask my residents how they are doing and whether they need any resources from me. I really wanted to be able to mentor a group of guys."