Auburn student excels as resident assistant and equips students for on-campus living success

Published: January 17, 2020
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Jaylah Goodson, a junior majoring in biomedical sciences, excels at Auburn University through her studies, participating in student organizations and serving as a biology lab teaching assistant. But her success and busy schedule don’t stop there.

Beyond the classroom and back at her residence hall, Goodson is known for her outstanding work as a resident assistant, or RA, tending to each resident of Aubie Residence Hall in The Village Community.

“Jaylah was one of the first people I met in Auburn,” said Auburn student Brittney Hatfield. “When I met her, I knew she was going to help form my experience. Coming to a new town and living on my own was a new and frightening experience, as it is for most new college students, but Jaylah helped immensely to alleviate my worries the moment I walked onto campus.”

Serving as an RA provides students a unique opportunity to positively affect other students’ on-campus housing experience. Goodson’s dedication to inspiring others and cultivating the Auburn Family spirit in her residents is why she is known by her peers and Auburn administrators as a standout RA.

Goodson, one of 77 RAs at Auburn, is expected to work between six and 10 hours at the front desk of the residence hall each week and be on-call one night a week, with a week off every five weeks. This entails being available during all hours of the night. RAs are responsible for building community, mediating conflicts and encouraging healthy habits with residents. It is the personal connections that make this role meaningful to Goodson.

“The relationships formed with my co-workers and my residents are really special,” said Goodson. “It is such a rewarding experience. You are responsible for not only your residents, but for their experience of living on campus and truly fostering that Auburn Family and community feel in the resident halls.”

Goodson supports her residents by providing personal advice, resolving conflict and helping residents with any needs around the clock.

“From friend conflicts to stressing about school to being homesick, Jaylah always knew how best to help me,” said Hatfield. “She not only gave me advice on how to solve my problems, but also helped me to make decisions for myself. Jaylah is one of the most genuine RAs I have ever met. She was caring and empathetic to all of the problems I came to her with, and she encouraged me through some of the most difficult times I have had in my life.”

Goodson recently planned a “Chips, Dips and Tips” event, where residents were served chips and dips while hearing from faculty members about personal development and life skills. These events help residents feel confident in confiding in Goodson and show her dedication to being involved in both their academic and personal lives.

“Jaylah has impacted my time here at Auburn by giving me a friendly face around campus, as well as a friendly face when I come home,” said Auburn student Camille Colter. “Jaylah has been my RA for three semesters now, and I feel as though she aided me in my transition into college as a freshman by giving me advice and someone to talk to.”

Goodson has learned to manage her time efficiently with school and RA responsibilities by utilizing her desk hours to optimize her studies and assignments.

“Utilizing my required hours at the area desk helps me to use that time for school work that I need to complete, and any other tasks on my to-do lists,” said Goodson. “This job can be as busy as you make it. Allowing yourself time to complete your duties and maximizing your effectiveness in time management is the key to success.”

Studying and meeting deadlines is a significant part of Goodson's daily routine as she strives to accomplish her goal of becoming a practicing physician.

“It's all about planning my time efficiently,” Goodson said. “I try to dedicate at least two to three hours a day to MCAT studying. I am very mindful of RA deadlines for bulletin boards and programs, so I make sure to allow myself enough time to complete those.”

Goodson encourages prospective students to live on campus like she did her freshman year and enjoy the convenience of walking to class.

“It’s an experience unlike any other,” said Goodson. “You learn some great life skills, you meet some really cool people and you’re able to stay connected with your campus for a very vital year in your college career.”

As a junior, Goodson plans to continue her on-campus research and organizational involvement throughout her college career. Upon graduation, she aspires to use her skills to benefit the less fortunate through mission work.

In the meantime, she’ll continue to inspire students to follow in her footsteps of becoming a standout RA.

“Jaylah inspired me so much as an RA that it encouraged me to apply to become one myself,” said Hatfield. “Now as an RA for my own residents, I often look back on advice and encouragement Jaylah gave me my freshman year when speaking to my own residents. I can confidently say that without Jaylah Goodson as my RA during my freshman year, I would not be half of the RA or Auburn woman that I am today.”

Auburn University is a nationally ranked land grant institution recognized for its commitment to world-class scholarship, interdisciplinary research with an elite, top-tier Carnegie R1 classification, life-changing outreach with Carnegie’s Community Engagement designation and an undergraduate education experience second to none. Auburn is home to more than 30,000 students, and its faculty and research partners collaborate to develop and deliver meaningful scholarship, science and technology-based advancements that meet pressing regional, national and global needs. Auburn’s commitment to active student engagement, professional success and public/private partnership drives a growing reputation for outreach and extension that delivers broad economic, health and societal impact.