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Oct 14, 2013

Spotlight: Annamarie Frost, Rockingham Hall Director

Photo of AnnamarieWorking for any company for five years is something to be proud of, but finishing five years of employment as a student is a huge accomplishment.

Annamarie Frost, a Master's of Arts in Teaching student, has held a number of student positions in the Office of Residence Life. She began her ORL career as a freshman on Shenandoah Hall's Community Activities Board (CAB). She became a more permanent member of the staff as a Resident Adviser in Weaver, continuing on to be a Hall Director in White, Dingledine, and finally in Rockingham as a Graduate HD this year.

"I knew I wanted to participate in a lot of things in college, being an out of state student is a big financial commitment and takes you far from home so I wanted to find a good safe way to meet people," she said. "In my CAB Secretary/Treasure position I had to meet with Rosie in the ORL office and that exposed me to the office early on. She mentioned that I would be a great RA, so I applied for the job."

Annamarie got the position and with support from the ORL staff she decided to apply to be a Hall Director her junior year. The Hall Director application process includes submitting a formal application, 3 references, and completing 3 separate interviews.

"The application process can be a lot of work, especially for an undergrad because the process starts so early. It takes a ton of planning to get recommendation letters together and to learn how to interview," she said. "I feel like this office conditioned me for the interviews that I have coming for teaching positions."

Being a Hall Director isn't just about designing bulletin boards and planning hall events, there are parts of the job that are a lot less enjoyable for many, like addressing violations and assigning appropriate disciplinary actions. Despite her initial feelings of guilt, Annamarie has learned that the best and worst parts of her job are often the same.

"I have never liked confronting situations but I know how important it is in my position. To this day after I have to address something I still feel that little twinge of guilt" she said. "In the end, the most rewarding part of this job is seeing some of your troublemakers, and I have definitely had a few, who really start the year in a bad place, go on to make life changes and get on the right track. So my least favorite thing ends up turning into the best."

One of the most important roles of an RA/HD is to serve as an outlet for students to seek help and advice. Annamarie makes a point to reassure her RAs and the students living in her buildings that she truly cares about their well-being and success.

"I think the biggest piece of advice I can give to students living on campus is to not feel like your RA and HD are 1) unapproachable and 2) out to get you, because that is not in our job description. Our job is to help you and to help you grow, that may involve confronting a negative behavior but we are so focused on learning that sometimes when you have to do that you learn about another side of you. Don't think that we are scary and that we live in a room alone and only come out when we know that you're doing something wrong. We want to get to know you not just get you in trouble. Everyone who applies for this job will say 'I want to do this job because I want to help people, not because I want to get them in trouble.'"

Annamarie will graduate in May with a Master's of Arts in Teaching and plans to teach 2nd or 4th grade next year, fulfilling her childhood dream of becoming an elementary school teacher. While she's not exactly sure where she may end up geographically, she knows that she can always call JMU and the Office of Residence Life home.

To learn more about how to become an ORL student staff member click here.

By Megan Martin ('11)

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