Being Male, Being Single.... continued
Stress Relief... Guess what, stress is going to happen. If you have made it to the mission field, I assume you must have both encountered stress, as well as figured out how to deal with it. Remember how you do this best, as it will come in handy. You might need to take a long walk, need to play sports, need to sleep, need to scream. What ever it is, be ready to use it.
Trust... Make sure you know who you can trust. Although BFA is a Christian community, we are human. Do not just assume trust, but build it.
Humor... If you don't have it, don't hang out with me. Actually this is something that I think you will need to have and keep developing. If you don't laugh every day, it is going to be a long day. Rest assured, the students and fellow staff give you plenty of things to laugh at. I have more crazy, funny stories from a year here, than four years of college.
Motivation... What is yours? Be prepared to answer why you are here, but also know that the kids can see right through you. Are you here to serve, to put off getting a "real" job, because you wanted to travel Europe, or because God brought you kicking and screaming. What ever the reason, you are here now, and the task is at hand. Make sure that your motivation for waking up, cooking, doing laundry, driving vans, preparing Bible studies, helping with homework, and putting kids to sleep is to serve as Christ served. If not, it is going to be a tough year.
Being liked by the students... Don't expect it, but if it happens, don't expect it to happen the next day. Don't avoid discipline hoping to win their favor. They might not like you now, but down the road they will thank you. (I hope)
No... This is a word that can be used at BFA, but often is not. You will be asked to help coach a sport, move heavy objects, teach extra classes, sing in the choir, stand on your head, and work twenty-five hours a day. Do not be afraid to say no to a few things. You do not want to be overworked. Feel free to say you already have enough on your plate.
OK, so you have made it through my warnings and advice, no let me tell you some great things about the job, besides the cheap room and board. This has to be the best job I have had, and I have had a variety of jobs. See you get to share in the lives of kids day in and day out. You get to be there for great times like birthdays and first dates (although we don't officially call it a date), the winning basketball game, and other highlights in their lives. But you also are there for the low test grade, rejection for that first "date," trouble with friends, and other low points. In both good and bad, you are there to guide them through it. You will go to bed tired at night, but it will be a good tired. Often you will feel a true sense of accomplishment like you have never felt. You are about to impact lives that touch the world. Enjoy it.
I will leave you with some of my favorite quotes about my job as an RA....
"It is a rough life, but someone's gotta live it."
"It is a rough job when your biggest decision of the day is what leftovers you are going to have for lunch."
"A great job, without the commute."
"I just haven't been sitting on my behind all night playing video games with the guys, I've been bonding with them."
"I'm twenty-six, live in a room that looks like it is Ferris Bueller's. It is next to door to junior highers, and I have to stand in line to use a shower. Is there is a problem with this?"