Author: Sarabesh Natarajan & New Student and Family Programs
Sarabesh Natarajan is a senior studying chemistry in the Trinity College of Arts and Science from Charlotte, North Carolina. He has served as a Resident Assistant (RA) on East Campus for three years. Sarabesh provided New Student and Family Programs with some insight on a day in the life of an RA:
Q: In what ways do you intentionally make efforts to support student success through your role as a Resident Advisor (RA)?
A: As a senior, I’m in a position where I can reflect on my time at Duke and give advice to my freshman residents on how to have a successful and fun college career. And that’s what I do! I try to make myself available to foster these conversations, whether it be through reminding them that I’m here for them or through hosting casual events in the dorm that bring me and them together.
Q: What campus resources have you utilized (and encourage your residents to use) that have been meaningful during your academic journey at Duke?
A: I definitely encourage students to use the Wellness Center, since it is so multifaceted! I’ve gone to the Wellness Center to get nutritional advice, receive immunizations, do homework, and drink tea with tea connoisseurs, so there’s something in the Wellness Center for everyone’s needs and wants. Additionally, Academic Advisors at Duke want the best from their students, and I encourage residents to meet with their academic advisors and form a relationship with them.
Q: Why did you choose to attend Duke?
A: I won’t deny that trying the Duke dining hall food was a factor in deciding to attend Duke. The implications of this are grander: it shows that Duke is willing to pour in resources to support their student body mentally, physically, and emotionally. Another testament to this is the huge Wellness Center on campus that contains a doctor’s office, Counseling and Psychological Services, and spaces for students to unwind and relax. I knew that I would be well-supported by the university if I became a student.
Q: What does your typical day-to-day look like on campus?
A: I wake up around 9 AM, get ready, grab breakfast, and head to my 10 AM class on West Campus. Typically I have classes throughout the day on West Campus, so inbetween classes I grab a bite to eat with a friend or I work in a campus study area. I come back to East Campus after classes are done, work out, and eat dinner. The rest of the night is dedicated to homework or late-night hangouts with friends and residents.
Q: What is your favorite memory from this academic year?
A: Over winter break, I was given the opportunity to take photos of a men’s basketball game on behalf of the Chronicle (the campus newspaper). I learned firsthand that sports photography is very difficult, but getting to see the “behind the scenes” of men’s basketball games was really cool, and it was an added bonus that we won the game!