Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Countown to school

There have been so many things going on since I was "fired". Starting with living in this hotel. It's strange living somewhere that is made to be temporary.

I've filled out six or seven applications for part time work the next year and I'm trying to get a head start on next summer's work. I still thinkn I want to nanny but I'm definitely going to use a propper agency. The thing that looks most promising is the campus bookstore placement. It's minimum wage an hour plus a discount on store items. It's very close to my dorm and the schedule is one where you can leave in the middle of shifts to take class as long you come right back when class is finished and put in your assigned hours for the day. It's pretty flexible. As long as two people are in the store at all times, they don't worry about it. This could be the answer to my prayers.

I GOT AN RA GIG!!!!!!! I was a last minute replacement for another girl who decided she wasn't going to live on campus after all. Her spot came open and I was eligible for it. I have to quickly take a series of video classes and go through a handbook that I'll get tested on in a week. They do this all differently if you're picked in the first round. I have to squash all of the information in in a short time. I have to take a training course on "listening" and "protecting the people in our care by helping them recognize bad situations and help them form reasonable exit strategies". I couldn't help but smile at the irony.

More fun! The RA rooms are equipped with wifi so that we can do daily tally sheets and communicate with the director of student life. We have a daily webchat (5 minutes). The laptop is owned by the school but it sounds like they "reward you" with your laptop at the end of your service. Cool.

Harris and I are considering something very big. For those that pray, please pray for god to give us wisdom to make this decision. It's not moving in together or having a baby...it's, in the context of my upbringing, bigger. I don't want to say what it is now but I'll let you know soon. Just pray for God to show me how normal 26 year olds would deal with the situation. :)

As I wrote that I realized I can't keep the secret. Harris wants to take me to meet his family at a reunion and introduce me as his "very serious girlfriend" (his words). He wants to see how I fit with their family and he wants to see how his family will react to my past.


  1. I am so glad to hear all of this! Being an RA will be a great experience for you.

    So exciting about meeting the family!! It's a very big (hopefully fun) step in any relationship - you get to see him "in context." All you can do is be honest to the level of intimacy that feels comfortable (take your cues from him), and go from there. In most families, they want to love who their family member loves, so it should go swimmingly!

  2. You're an RA!! Congrats!! You've earned this, Ruth! :-D

    I seriously squealed aloud when I read that Harris would be introducing you to his family. I'm smiling as I type this; I'm really excited for you. :-D I will definitely keep you in my prayers! :-)

  3. Harris sounds like a great guy, if his family are like him too, you'll do fine. Best wishes! :)

  4. Oh wow, congrats on the RA gig! And, while I know you're nervous over meeting Harris' family, don't be! You sound lovely...just be your usual nice self and everything will turn out just fine. However since you asked I'll be keeping the two of you in my prayers.

  5. Ruth,

    First I just want to say that I am really sorry about what happened with your job. Second I want to say is Congrats on the RA job. That is GREAT that you are going to meet Harris's family. I know from experence that in a relationship that after you seen someone's family you know how they will be, either good or bad.

  6. Long time reader, first time poster,
    You rock!!!!!!!
    Enjoy being an RA, I was one and just wanted you to be aware of one thing, though this might sound random, there could be one or two kids in your care who will "manufacture" drama or needs because they thrive off the attention an RA is required to give them, just remember your boundaries and role in the situations you will face.

    As a freaky aside, when you mentioned praying about doing "something big" with Harris, I was freaking out like "OMG MAYBE ITS THE BIG S WORD!!!!!!!", then when you mentioned meeting his family, I had to laugh at myself and how I always get carried away in my grand assumptions.
    Love RENA! :)

  7. It's all good. :=) Will pray for "normal 26 yo wisdom" LOL.


  8. Ruth,

    Awesome!!!!! Do you get your own room plus a stipend? Or is it free room and board? I hope this eases the financial concerns and that you have more money to buy fresh food and veggies. I worry about your health!!!

    I'm so glad that they had a last minute position. I always thought your age would help you get a position like that. You've just got so much wisdom to impart.

    Will you have to move to a different dorm?

    The bookstore gig sounds very nice, as well. Any break you can get on books will help. And just having some extra money will help year round.

    I'm so excited for you and Harris! Don't worry too much about his family. Smile and engage in conversation and be yourself. I'm sure they'll love you.

    So much good news. I'm very excited for you. Now, hit the books and get ready to study!!!

  9. Congratulations on all of your good news, Ruth. You're an inspiration and your students will have a good role model in you. I'm sure you will learn a lot from them as well.

    Fantastic news about Harris. Most of us are reflections of our upbringing and I'd bet that Harris' family will be kind, compassionate and non-judgemental, focusing more on who you ARE, rather than reactionary about your own family background.

    Funny, as I write this, I have TLC playing in the background & the Duggars just came on. I was once briefly fascinated by them. Since watching them more and reading your blog, I just can't stomache them.

    Anyway... best of luck to you now and always. You deserve nothing short of Love, joy and abundance.


  10. RA is a good thing to do. (We always pronounced it "Ra", like the Egyptian sun god, but in this case I'll modify it to "Rah!" Sort of a short form of "hoorah!") My wife was a RA, and she really enjoyed it.

    One word of advice about meeting Harris' family: don't worry too much about your past. Present yourself as who you are now. Yes, your past is part of that, but it's not the important or interesting part.

    And I think Harris has the right idea. When I was younger - say, eighteen to twenty-two - I thought that boyfriend/girlfriend relationships (and, by extension, marriages) were pretty much about the two people *in* the relationship. In the years since, I've come to consider that a foolish naivete. If you really connect with someone, you connect with their family, too - until and unless that person has cut themselves loose from their family.

    So... take advantage of this. Meet the family. See what you think of them. See what they think of you, how they interact with Harris and with each other. Don't stress out about it; it's an opportunity, not a trial.

  11. An RA position is GREAT!! Keep your eyes on your education [says the Mom] and go slowly with the guy--you seem to have found a good one, but you NEED the education! I'm proud of you for keeping at it and finding some work options that support your schooling! Well Done!

  12. Congratulations on the RA job!! They look great on resumes. I know money is a concern but try not to overload yourself, although the bookstore gig does sound fantastically flexible for a college student.

    Harris sounds like a nice guy...good luck :)

  13. Wonderful news, Ruth! So happy to hear that things are looking up. If you need more work, you may also want to look into tutoring. Usually you get paid for showing up at the university's tutoring site, but if no one shows up for tutoring (which is often the case), you're paid all the same.

    About meeting the boyfriend's family--Speaking from my own experience as someone who has a background similar to your own, I recommend treading with caution. Of course, be yourself, but expect that there will be at least one extended family member who may be condescending or (unintentionally) insulting. Let them get to know the 2010 version of Ruth before you reveal everything about your past. Otherwise, they will tend to think of you in terms of your past, not in terms of who you are now (and who you are becoming).

    Even people who are decent, kind, and warm can be a little weird when they meet someone from an unfamiliar background. Since we all rely so strongly on stereotypes, you can reasonably expect that it may take years before they see you in any other way.

    I say this with all due respect to my husband's family. They are terrific people, but it's taken a while for them to get past assumptions they've made about my past. It hasn't helped that my husband is the youngest in his family, so they project his family role (youngest) onto me (next to oldest daughter of a seven kids). Therefore, it doesn't matter that we both have advanced degrees, own our own home, have a daughter, etc., they often still talk to us as though we're total idiots--in the most loving way, of course.

    But now this comment is way too long. In short, don't forget to protect yourself. There'll be plenty of time for them to learn the gory details later--if you decide they need to know.

  14. OMG yay!! my sister's boyfriend just became an RA but he had to go to an orrientation, i hope you enjoy it!

    Yay formeeting harris family....i agree with previous posters, be yourself and reveal your past after they get to know the "new" you

    i am so happy to read somthing good!

  15. I'm so glad things have taken a positive turn for you. You deserve it.

    My husband converted for me, so when I first met his family they had lots of questions about my religion (Judaism). They had never met a Jewish person and asked tons of questions, but they were just honestly curious. I would expect, if you choose to share your past with Harris' family, that you will be asked many questions because it's so out of people's normal life experience. If you are comfortable doing so I would answer honestly but not get in to details - at least not in the first meeting. Let them get to know *you* this time and let your "back story" fill itself in over subsequent meetings. Most of all relax and enjoy yourself!

  16. Yay! I hope you get all the good things you deserve for working so hard.

    Harris seems like a nice sane person, so if he wants you to meet his family, there's a fair chance that they'll be nice and sane too. Enjoy yourself, learn about them, and don't feel you have to answer questions that make you uncomfortable. Good luck!

  17. Congrats! That's great news! :o)

    @Rena: What's "the big S word?" I'm sure it's obvious, but I just can't figure it out! Anyone?

    @Lisah: "Most of us are reflections of our upbringing" *shudder* I hope not! :o\

  18. I'm so happy things are really working out for you after what you put up with this summer!
    You'll be a fantastic RA!
    Congrats and I'll be sending good thoughts your way!!

  19. Cool. So glad things are going better for u.

  20. "Let them get to know the 2010 version of Ruth before you reveal everything about your past."

    I agree with this, except that I don't even know that you ever need to reveal "everything". I wouldn't. I've been married to my awesome, incredible, sexy :D kind and amazing husband for 6.5 years, and his family STILL doesn't know the entire truth about how insane my upbringing was. They know a basic framework and I've left it at that. Why should they know everything? How I treat their son is the most important thing, being a good wife to him, being a good mother to their grandchildren - not how others treated me 20 years ago.

  21. Congrats. Gald things are looking better for you. Word of advice (I learned after being in the dating world too long after my divorce, and after lots and lots of therapy) don't offer too much information about your past. You don't owe anyone that information. My name is a very Christmas sounding name, as I was adopted right before Christmas, although my birthday is in early fall. People always ask me if I was born at Christmas and I would respond "no, I was born in the fall, but my parents adopted me right before Christmas". I have no clue why I shared that with everyone, because it was the business of no one, execpt me. It was automatic that I would give that little speech, which people then thought they could ask me a billon questions about my "real" mother, my desire to search, and their thoughts and feelings on birth control, etc. I finally stopped answering question with my stock answer and when people say "oh, what a beautiful name, were you born at Christmas" I just look at them and say "no, I was not". End of story. I find that it actually gives me a great feeling of control over my story, my life, and I think people respect you more because you aren't letting everything hang out there. When you give people too much information you end up giving them control. Let them see how you treat their son and how he treats you. That is all that matters. The other things will come out in time. As tempting as you are to share all, esp. when someone askes you questions about your past, don't do it. There will be oddles of time later on and the rest of your life to share. Just my humble opinion. -NDC

  22. It is not a good plan to overshare the first time you meet anyone. Just present yourself as lovely, caring about Harris, and getting an education and supporting yourself. Then, when they have already welcomed you, you can share with them bits and peices. You don't owe them an autobio the day you meet them.

  23. Yay!!! You have some great news!!! I am so happy for you!!! I don't have a lot of advice about meeting his parents, but I have a funny story. When I was dating my exfiance, I met his parents, who only really spoke Spanish. They understood more English than they could speak. Talk about awkward! Not only was I insanely nervous, I didn't understand more than about a quarter of what they said! *shiver*

    You, my dear, will be fine. :o)

  24. To Anonymous at 11:01-- Totally. In retrospect I see how you could read my statement to suggest that there is a right time to reveal EVERYTHING, but actually I whole-heartedly agree with you!

  25. Harris wants to take me to meet his family at a reunion and introduce me as his "very serious girlfriend" (his words).

    I've never heard it put that way. It kind of makes it sound like you're an IRS auditor or a bomb technician. ;)

    Congrats, and have fun!

  26. Very good news all around! Really glad to hear it. Have fun!

  27. Hey Ruth...33 years ago, neither set of parents were happy. (Race issues) Our firstborn pretty much mellowed the in-laws out.

    So... speaking from experience, I think Harris needs to understand that he may be obliged to run interference for you.

    Harris, if you are reading this, you are essentially putting Ruth up for interrogation, and we've been there.

    Just as I stood right alongside my man...tactfully diverting impertinent and inappropriate questioning by my extended family...("what about the children?"...and we were just DATING, for Heaven Sakes!)

    ...you need to stand by Ruth, deflecting the searching questions that might cause embarrassment.

    Kids, we've been in your situation, and you need to present a confident and UNITED front. And that takes always being in proximity to one another until some connections are established. Do not mean to be bossy, but our our relatives, way back when...were well-meaning bullies!

    Ruth...we are so psyched about your opportunities. You are going to be a great RA! The bookstore works well with your situation, and you got computer access!

    You've earned every bit of this hopeful fortune...

  28. Cool (to all the news)! Just enjoy being 26. Most parents just want their kid's to be with someone who makes them happy and treats them well.

    Your past makes you, in part, who you are today. But the beauty of being 26 (and in college) is that you are given the chance to grow and learn to become whoever you want to be.

  29. I'm glad things are looking good for the school year, Ruth. It's so much easier to start the year when you have fewer issues to contend with -- and where the money to pay for things is coming from is one of the hardest, because you can't just ignore it! So, I'm definitely glad for you that you have job opportunities. :)

    And, as many others have said...Start the first meeting with Harris' family with "Hi, I'm Ruth". I wouldn't suggest putting everything out there during the first meeting. And, if you'd rather keep something private for now, you can -- a simple "I'm estranged from my parents" should be enough to start with. The full story can be told over time.

  30. Not THAT's making some major lemonade out of the lemons life gave you!

    Regarding Harris' family, talk to him; he knows them best and can advise you about how to approach the sticky wicket queries.

    Bon chance, mon amie!

  31. Congratulations! Seems like things are really turning around for you!

  32. Usually when people talk about their "past" they're referring to drugs, a previous marriage, some run ins with the law. You know, things that they are responsible for. :P That's not what you mean so don't talk about it like that. Having crazy parents doesn't say anything about you as a person.

    All Harris's family is going to care about is if you're pleasant and if you care about him. You're a good person so I'm sure you'll fulfill both expectations without any trouble at all. :)

  33. Hi Ruth,

    Congratulations on the RA job and on your happiness with Harris! How's your leg?

    I'd like to second what others are saying about not spilling it all out at once, or even at all. I've learned that whenever I reveal my experience or familiarity with fundamentalist Christianity, people treat me like I *am* a fundie. Never mind that it was thrust on me at age 7 and that as soon as I gained my independence I dropped it like a dead raccoon. They associate my past with the present me, so it's really not worth them knowing.

  34. @ Lainey..
    To clarify, when I read Ruth's post and she mentioned contemplating something big with Harris, I immediatly thought Ruth was asking for prayers over a decision to take her relationship to the "next level" shall we say, of the more "intimate type" or the S word.
    I just have a dirty ole mind, SORRY RUTH!!!!!
    I had to laugh at myself, forgive me!!!!!!!
    Love Rena
    PS, you rock!

  35. Just my 2-cents. I remember the day I met my (now) in-laws with almost as much fondness as the day I met my husband. People are all different and many people end up with in-laws who have their own issues of jealousy, etc. Whatever happens with you and Harris, I wish you wonderful in-laws in your future who can give you the love you deserve.

  36. Good luck Ruth and remember meeting the family of your boyfriend or girlfriend is stressful for everyone. Just be yourself!

  37. Ruth, I'm so happy for you!

    Please, don't allow anyone to spoil this for you. You are a strong woman who has a bright future. Hopefully, the past will become more and more of a distant memory for you.

    Regarding your meeting Harris's family? I agree with everyone who suggested that it's a good idea to NOT make a big deal out of your past. This is an opportunity for you to be the new "Ruth" without the baggage of your past. You'll need to know what he has told his family about you, and be ready to answer questions related to that. However, there is no good reason to share the details of your upbringing. Let them get to know you as the woman you are now, and don't encumber them with your past.

    Most parents just want their children to be happy. If they can see you as someone who is bringing happiness to their son's life, they're gonna love you.

    Please keep us posted, it's so nice to hear some good news.

  38. @Rena: Ohhhhh!!! LOL--I can't believe I didn't pick up on that. Colour me oblivious! haha

  39. I would handle the family questions with something vague and yet truthful. "They're a huge herd of siblings, but my parents were not supportive of me going to college, so there's a bit of tension right now".

    Or fill in the appropriate words. That let's them know that you a) have a family b) that they are big in number, and c) they don't support you on your path of education, which makes them look like freaks and you look like a scholar.

    Just kidding about c. Kinda. Their son is in school, so they probably appreciate education. I think you should not get into a dissertation but should feel free to say little things about them. I would personally say "they are like the Duggars on crack" and let it go. I'm a bit of a smart ass though.

    You'll do fine. Try to be natural and let the conversation flow. I've found it useful in the past to take little things people say and turn it into a conversation. Just saying "tell me more, I'm not familiar with that" can take you anywhere. And then people will usually think you are a brilliant conversationalist. Never under estimate the power of letting people prattle on.

  40. A couple of things I thought of -

    Be sure to find out from Harris exactly what kind of reunion this is, and what people typically wear. You don't want to show up dressed to the nines if people are in shorts and flip-flops, but you don't want to dress like you're going to a picnic if most people are dressed up. You'll feel more confident if you blend in with the surroundings. (If he hasn't paid close attention to what the women were wearing - which is possible, since he's a guy - ask if he has any pics from previous family reunions.) I'm guessing prairie dresses won't be the norm ;o)

    Also, just be aware that some people may automatically see it as a red flag that you don't have a good relationship with your parents right now. I like the answers given above - like "There's some tension right now." Or you might want to say "I'm working through some things, and I'm in touch with my family when it's possible" or something like that. And while his parents would probably like a more in-depth history on you, especially as you get more serious, there's no need for every aunt, uncle, and grandparent to know all about the special brand of crazy that was your upbringing - especially at the first meeting.

    Beth Ann

  41. I hate to miss the obvious, but what's an RA?

  42. @M- An RA is a Resident Assistant. Usually there's just one assigned per "floor" of a particular dorm.

  43. supernova, thank you.
    Ruth, now that I know what it is, I'm very happy for you!

  44. "Never under estimate the power of letting people prattle on."

    Seriously, there is great wisdom in that.

    Yay! Yay! Yay! Im stoked for you, Ruth!
    One more Yay! for good measure.


  45. Congratulations, Ruth! I'm glad that things seem to be looking up for you. I'll keep you in my prayers.

  46. Enh, honestly? Don't worry too hard about what to tell his parents. Tell them what you're comfortable telling anyone - maybe that your parents are really religious, so it took you a while to realize you wanted to go to school but you're really happy with that choice because you love your studies and you got to meet cool people like Harris. If you are comfortable with what you're telling them, chances are they'll be comfortable hearing it - communication is 90% the non-verbal stuff, anyway. If you're uncomfortable because you feel like you're obfuscating the facts or pushing yourself to overshare, your discomfort will communicate itself. I'm guessing you're shy around new people, and honestly, being shy around your SO's family at first is normal and often interpreted as cute.

    This is also a good opportunity to get practice turning the conversation - ask them a lot of questions and look interested, for example, if you don't want to talk about yourself. Have you read Miss Manners? Miss Manners has some awesome advice on how to avoid touchy subjects while still being polite. I'll bet there are Miss Manners books in your library. I think you'll be fine. And honestly, your SO's extended family can often form a backup support network for the time that you're dating - my extended family helped my boyfriend find places to apply for temp jobs, for example. Knowing more people is almost always helpful.

  47. I'll get toasted for this, but I'm going to say it anyway - Ruth has no business being an RA. Good that she got her room and board taken care of and all, but she doesn't have the coping tools to help anyone with their problems - she can barely handle the intricacies of navigating normal adult life. Escaping from a cult might give her a strong core, but she is too naive to give any sort of advice or guidance to "normal" kids.

    And yes, I'm going to leave this comment anonymous, because too often, overzealous supporters from this site decide that they have a mission to go to a commenter's personal blog and leave rude messages. I'm not trying to be mean - I'm glad that she's being taken are of, and that maybe this year will be easier on her. I'm glad for her news about Harris and his family. I just don't think that she has the appropriate coping tools or life skills to have any hand in guiding the lives or behaviors of other people. She can't even solve her own problems yet.

  48. Anonymous of 12:56: you actually kind of have a point, but I'd also like to point out that most of us are just faking it and can't really solve our own problems concretely. At the most, we make educated guesses. So...maybe she doesn't have as much experience from which to draw an educated guess? But frankly, I think she'll be just fine. She's honest and eager to help, which will likely serve her - and the people on her hall - well.

  49. Moreover...Ruth is getting training AND has an adviser to turn to...

    She'll be fine.

    Also...Ruth seems to be solving her own problems very well. She has pursued and gotten a situation that gives her room and board, and is looking to have her scholarship reinstated, AND is finding employment at the bookstore.

    Just what problem is Ruth not handling here?

  50. Anon 1:15, you're kidding me, right? What real-world problem has Ruth solved for herself? Whenever her painful naivete lands her in hot water, she comes here to her blog, and all of the mother hens solve her issues for her. She simply does what they tell her to do. Have things turned out positively on the whole? Yes, but not because Ruth is so great at getting herself out of trouble. Only because she's good at following the instructions that others give her.

    A couple of recent examples? When faced with her summertime employment issues, she didn't utilize any of the on-campus resources that are readily available, she applied for a bunch of jobs that she was incapable of actually performing due to her broken leg, and then ended up being taken advantage of by shady people. When that blew up in her face, she didn't take charge of the situation, she came here and followed the advice of people who are older, wiser, and more worldly. And then hid in her bedroom while everything played out, until Harris came to rescue her.

    These things are perfectly normal for a kid out on her own for the first time, and I'm sure she'll take these instances, learn from them, and not repeat them, but I wouldn't feel comfortable knowing my child was going to someone as emotionally immature as Ruth. It's not her fault that she is this way, but it *is* the way that she is. To try and say otherwise is just plain lying to yourself.

    She has had almost none of the normal experiences of your average college sophomore. She is incapable of identifying bad situations before they reach disaster level, and is unable to guide anyone else out of trouble because she lacks the tools to get herself out. Could she smuggle someone out of a cult? Like no one else, I'm sure. Get them set up in a safe house? Probably. But that's where her crisis experience begins and ends.

    Reading a handbook to cram for a basic test in a week, isn't training. What everyone else who will be RA's this coming year had was training. Perhaps a person with average life experience would be able to wing it in this situation, but Ruth has the emotional maturity of your average 15 year old.

    Like I said, I'm glad that she's taken care of the room and board situation, but all she did was follow the advice of multiple people here in the comments section. She didn't solve problems, she acted on instruction. That isn't the same thing. And if my child were in her dorm, turning to her for help in a time of crisis, I'd be pretty upset about it. Because she doesn't have real-world experience or coping skills. I know how harsh it sounds, and I'm sorry for that, but its the truth. No one can say with any level of honesty that she is, emotionally, where your average 26 year old woman is. Or even your average 20 year old. It isn't her fault, but it's reality.

  51. Agenda here?

    I should point out that these efforts to undermine Ruth are disingenuous at best, and mean spirited at worst.

    Just out of curiosity...what should Ruth be doing, since you know her so well, Anonymous?

    Here's the thing...what is YOUR plan, since you have so little faith in Ruth? Tell us all what Ruth SHOULD be doing. How do YOU recommend she secure her immediate future?

    We are dying to hear it.

  52. If my child were in Ruth's dorm, I would be absolutely confident that my child would be safe under the watch of someone like Ruth.

    My own RA's were party-happy slackers.

  53. RIGHT anonymous ... because being an RA and learning how to tell people to shut the noise off, stop behaviors that are common sense related, doing administrative work and knowing how to treat somebody right are traits/abilities that are SOOOOOOOOOOO hard to learn.

    Seriously? The position of an RA is precisely there to help a person grow as an individual and leader, and it sounds like it's EXACTLY what Ruth may need! She apparently can figure out when she's in over her head, and then if something like that were to happen she could seek help from HER adviser. She is also skilled at showing people how to become independent, which is something MANY college students need.

    I've seen RA's that were horrible excuses for human beings and cold as anything ... I think Ruth is going to do fine.

    Oh, and it sounds like you need to take a clue and learn that we're only hearing the internet version of how things go. People are a lot different offline, and without knowing them ... judging makes you sound like an righteous BITCH.

  54. Yeah...I'd like the critic at large to tell us exactly how Ruth SHOULD have handled the Jack/Jill situation.

    By not accepting the position? What?

  55. Bullshit, Anonymous.

    By recognizing her abusive background and taking the initiative to change it, despite it being all she's ever known, she is far and away more mature, brave and capable than most of your 20-year-old RAs who have lived pampered little middle-class lives with bog-standard high school experiences. Hell, she can probably recognize a bad boyfriend/parent a mile away by now and obviously knows the consequences of letting others take advantage of oneself - that's an asset. She's been taught nothing but self-reliance and perseverance through her childhood. She's been taught not to be impulsive or selfish or to act on her feelings without forethought. Frankly, those traits will serve her much better than being able to reminisce about the Backstreet Boys or high school crushes.

  56. This comment has been removed by the author.

  57. IMO Ruth has learned an exceptional amount about the world in the last year. She may have more to learn but that's what life is about. I would be very comfortable with my child on her floor. She isn't there to solve their biggest problems but to keep the students following common sense rules. If a big situation should arise, she will point them in a positive direction to get help. I don't think she would try to "solve" their problem on her own.

    Way to go Ruth! This is my first time posting but I have been reading your blog for months. You are a very brave woman to leave all you have ever known and stand on your own two feet!

  58. I agree, RA's aren't free therapists. If a student had a crisis, Ruth would be there to listen and would mobilize the resources the student needed. I'm not clear what Anon the troublemaker thinks an RA is. My RA's were a year older than me only. I was 18. How much does any 19 yo really know about life and how to handle their own problems? Sure, at 45, I'd be a great RA now. I have my own family to care for though. Ruth will do fine.

  59. Ruth will do fine; she is like any one of us, doing the best with the circumstances we're living under.

    As far as Anonymous and his/her comments about Ruth, so what? Everyone has the right to state their opinion. IMO, there ARE a bunch of protective mother hens here on this forum; I've been a mother hen myself here quite a few times. Why? For me, it's because Ruth's own mother sucked so badly in protecting Ruth from the abuse that was inflicted on her due to BG's teachings, that's why. And her father? Forget about that! He is a freaking Gothardite head case. His mind runs on a Gothard-approved loop. His anger is at the fact that the brainwashing didn't "take" to all of his slaves and that his little protégé slave r-a-n-n-o-f-t!

    Good luck, Ruth. Wishing you a good semester. Hang in there. :)

  60. It's clear that a good portion of you have no faith in Ruth's ability to take any kind of criticism. You seem to think she's made of paper mache or something. I wasn't being mean to her, I wasn't calling her names, I wasn't encouraging her to give up. I said that I was glad that things were turning out well for her, was excited for her about the new developments with Harris, and wished her all the best. My point was that she doesn't have any problem solving skills, and that if I were the parent of one of the kids in her dorm, I'd be unhappy knowing that someone with such poor life skills was in any kind of position of authority.

    Ruth hasn't solved any of her own problems, she's come here and asked people what she should do about almost everything that has happened to her since going to school. There's nothing wrong with it, and it doesn't make her bad, or weak, or stupid. Asking advice from people who have been there is how you learn, and most of what she asks, she would already know if she didn't have such failures for parents. But I stand by what I said. She isn't at a point where she should be in authority. She doesn't have the common sense or problem solving skills.

    If people here think that my pointing it out means that I'm a "hater", or trying to tear her down or discourage her to make her go back to her family, then you have some serious reading comprehension issues. I don't wish ill on her, and I'm not hoping that something bad happens. I'm just saying that, while she's a perfectly nice girl, she shouldn't be in any kind of authority position. You all encouraged her to turn to her RA during some pretty serious stuff with her family, then later with her housing, money, and employment issues. She failed to utilize any of her school resources then - it almost seemed as though she didn't even know they were available, or couldn't get up the guts to go for real help. You all told her that her RA would be prepared to handle the issues, and could help her make it happen. How is she supposed to handle the problems of others when she can't even handle her own? From the simple to the complex? And I think that if you guys were being honest with yourselves, and you put yourselves in the shoes of a parent WITHOUT the intimate details of Ruth's character makeup, you'd agree with me instead of blindly running to the defense of a person that you clearly think is made of spun glass and will shatter irreparably if anyone says anything even remotely negative.

    Which is it? Is she a strong capable woman with the ability to take care of herself and others, or is she a scared and delicate little girl who will break at the first sign of trouble? Because, I got news, she can't be both. If she isn't capable of taking mild criticism, then she has no business in the real world. And if she's strong enough to do so and bounce back, then why are you all flipping your lids over something so minor as my comments?

  61. WTF do people think is going on in dorms these days anyway, bear attacks? We like giving advice to people because we're huge busybodies, not because Ruth will collapse without it. We defend Ruth because we're aggressively polite busybodies, not because she'll fall apart because someone's being a jerk.

    The average RA is 19-20 years old and is not required to have any previous job experience. Trust me, most of them are pretty effing helpless - the best you can hope for is "not actively high". And a lot of them are from damaging backgrounds - just because someone might know Ruth's background and not know any other RA's doesn't meant those RAs don't have histories of abuse, family violence, whatever. It's meant to be a starter job and RAs, at least at my school, worked under really close supervision. Starter jobs are how you get more capable. Sheesh.

    Look, I'm a year younger than Ruth and from a secular background. I also had a horrible experience this summer where a job I was doing for free (in addition to my professional job) backfired and put me in a really horrible situation. It was a tough effing learning experience. I leaned hard on the people around me. I found myself in unfamiliar territory and had to ask a lot of people for advice. And the situation had to be allowed to resolve itself, because we can't control everybody. This is called a normal part of life.

  62. So basically anon, you need to look up what an RA is responsible for before you start on with the "SHE HAS NO IDEA HOW TO HANDLE PROBLEMS!" jargon.

    She's not going to be working for the UN, she's going to be supervising a bunch of immature, young, college students who need somebody to tell them when to shut the music off, what time a social event starts, how to use the washer/dryer, telling two people to stop pointless bickering with each other and things of that nature. Anything more serious ... well I don't think Ruth needs to be Stephen Hawking to know when it's time to involve HER supervisor and somebody higher up.

    I think most are flipping their lid, because you sound completely ignorant and are trying to discourage her before she even starts the job. Maybe you don't know how you're coming across ... I'd expect that, because people like you are all too common and there's a word for you that I won't use.

  63. Well Anonymous critic-at-large, the problem is not criticism...it is the negative tone and clear lack of knowledge about dorm life that gets on my nerves.

    And since you have no CONSTRUCTIVE suggestions as to what Ruth SHOULD be doing to secure her future...and you apparently do not know anything about college dorm living...maybe you should consider shutting up?

  64. MJB here --- Ooooo, my liddle Ruthie, somebody's "special friend"!!!! I'm seriously tearing up. Yes, I'll pray for both of you. Pay close attention to how he treats his mama, bebe. And listen carefuly to how he talks about her when you two are out of their earshot.

    Whether or not this leads to you-know-where, it is wonderful to think that you have someone who is - I presume - very special to you, too. And that you have him on adult-to-adult terms, with no forced courtship or father-finagling involved.

    Peace and wisdom!

  65. Most RAs I've met are just this side of functionally incompetent. She'll be fine. Her own choices notwithstanding, most of the things about her upbringing that a lot of people would assume make her immature--like taking care of kids constantly, shouldering responsibility for other people, not partying or drinking/smoking/substance abusing, and so on--will probably actually make her a better RA than the high drunk partiers American universities usually hire.

  66. To those criticizing Ruth's problem-solving skills--sometimes the best way to learn is by doing. You don't learn to drive a car by sitting on the couch; you don't learn to cook by eating out; you don't learn to read by looking at picture books; you don't learn interpersonal skills by withdrawing. You learn these things by taking risks, acknowledging that failure IS an option, and then getting back up and DOING IT AGAIN.

    Nothing will teach Ruth more about university resources than having a job like this. Hundreds of college students are not aware of all the resources available to them--learning from people who have been there is an important part of college prep. Unfortunately, first-generation students like Ruth and me didn't get that preparation at home; we have to pick it up from non-family members--whether it's via a book, a blog, or from personal friends.

  67. Ruth-for next summer, check with residence life and find out if there are any summer camps for high school students that have residential components. Usually, there's a need for RAs for them as well, which would let you continue to live on campus, while mostly leaving your time free during the day to work as well. And I KNOW most parents would feel better having their 16 yr old's band camp experience under the supervision of someone a little older than 19!

  68. Coming late to this post but had to respond!

    Congrats on the RA job Ruth!

    Boo hiss to the anonymous poster who thinks being transparent in a blog, asking questions, considering the opinions/advice of others is a sign of incompetence. It's a sign of maturity and good leadership skills!

    Yikes! The worst RA ever would be a self-important know-it-all who looks only to herself to solve problems. Yuck, yuck!

    Ruth, you are going to shine as RA! =)

  69. Donna said...
    Ruth-for next summer, check with residence life and find out if there are any summer camps for high school students that have residential components. Usually, there's a need for RAs for them as well, which would let you continue to live on campus, while mostly leaving your time free during the day to work as well. And I KNOW most parents would feel better having their 16 yr old's band camp experience under the supervision of someone a little older than 19!

    I don't know how to quote on here - sorry! I did want to say that Donna has a really good suggestion. My university has an Upward Bound program in the summers. It's a program to expose at-risk or first generation high schoolers to college life. While you need at least a bachelor's degree to teach, I don't think you need a bachelor's degree to be an RA for the program. I thought about doing it - you get free room and board for a few weeks in the summer, plus a stipend. I think at my school it was anywhere from $900-1100. They also had other positions like advisors and chaperones that paid less, but still paid. There is another group for gifted and talented middle schoolers that also hires people for RA and chaperone duties. I think the program is administered out of Johns Hopkins, but it's held all over the country.

  70. LMAO @ anon who thinks that Ruth is unqualified to be a RA!!!

    Who better to be a big sister to young immature classmates than someone who has been on a steep learning curve over the past FEW years (yes I give her "credit" for being able to leave the bad situation etc as credit for more than the last year of "experience").

    Ruth, I think that you will do an awesome job! I worked in a children's home as my first REAL job @ 24 and my bosses saw my upbringing as an asset. I also was older, but sheltered and knew just how to be an older and protective monitor.

    For those anons who think that they have some sort of say in the RA that will be in their children's dorms - Good luck with that!! (Funny that you criticize and then avoid criticism on your blog by being anon! ;)

    X-ati pilot daughter

  71. I just want to give my perspective as a former Residence Director (that's the RA's supervisor). I think the anonymous poster was overestimating the kind of situations she is likely to find herself in. However, when there is an emergency, the RAs are trained to ask for help (There's nothing wrong with asking for help, btw!). Residential Life is like the military... there's a chain of command and you know when to go to your supervisor. I learned a lot from my experience and so did the RAs... because that was one of the goals of the resident assistant program. RAs are employees but they are also college students and the college wants the RA experience to be enriching for them. So I think that A. Ruth will be not just an O.K. RA but a spectacular one! and B. She will hopefully find it to be a positive learning experience. It also looks really great on a resume because it shows you can handle difficult people and situations. Good luck with your training and getting to know your residents, Ruth. It will be fun!

  72. As a former RA, I can tell you what I dealt with on a daily basis:

    2. Noise complaints
    3. Calling to get a broken/clogged toilet fixed.

    In 2 years, I had two major, non-routine events. One was a girl who passed out due to insulin issues, and the other was a girl who had alcohol poisoning. Both times I called 911 and my supervisor and campus police were there quickly to take over.

    It's a job designed for the lowest common denominator. I can't tell you how many of my fellow RA's were hung over at our weekly 2pm meeting on Sunday afternoons. Heck, my freshman year I used to drink with my RA. I think Ruth will be just fine.

  73. Anon - While I agree with your general idea of being honest, I think that you're being disingenuous yourself by not having the courage to post under an account. You have an opinion, fine. But have the backbone to stand up for yourself and not hide under anonymity.

    I don't know what you're thinking goes in dorms that Ruth will have to handle, it sound as though you're envisioning life-changing problems that she's going to have to navigate students through. More likely, she'll have to knock on doors and tell people to keep it down. Maybe take down inappropriate posters, or at worst, deal with petty theft of shampoo from the showers. I imagine that Ruth will not be the absent, drunk, noisy RA that I often had on my floor. Out of three years of dorm life, I only met one responsible RA. Is Ruth greatly experienced in life? No. Are most college students? No. Can Ruth handle noisy and/or drunk students? Yeah, I think so. Give her some credit.


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