Jenny Nguyen

Resident Assistant @ Thurgood Marshall Residential Life

Third Year | Thurgood Marshall College | Chemical Engineering major w/ a minor in Design

What do you do and what makes your job unique?

As a Resident Assistant or RA at Thurgood Marshall College, I build community with 44 residents in the uppers apartments through programming, conflict resolution, public speaking, and serving as a liaison between my residents and the greater Thurgood Marshall community. What makes my job unique is the compensation and the work hours. Unlike other jobs, I don’t have a set of work hours every week—I’m always an RA, which sounded daunting at first, but with time management and emotional maturity, I’ve learned to balance my role. Also, unlike other jobs, I don’t receive a paycheck; I have my meal plan and housing covered.

What is your favorite part of being an RA?

My favorite part of my job is connecting with my residents and learning more about their values, experiences, and backgrounds. I appreciate gaining insight about the community I serve and knowing that I am a part of my residents’ undergraduate journey.

Is this job in line with your long-term career goals?

This job is not in line with my long-term career goals of pursuing humanitarian engineering and possibly being a professor, but I do believe that this job has helped me gain immense interpersonal skills—soft skills that can help me with any future job. I took this job because I wanted to be more involved in Marshall College, and the compensation helped my finances greatly. Even though this job does not align with my major, it aligns with my values.

What advice do you have for students who are looking for jobs?

Be patient with yourself. Get out there, and apply to whatever interests you, even if the interest is small. To me, applying to be an RA was intimidating because of how competitive it is, but you never know if you’ll get it if you don’t try! Have faith in yourself, and even if you don’t get it, you’ll still gain the experience of applying, which will help you for future job application processes.

Final thoughts?

If students have an RA, reach out to them! You may gain useful insight about UC San Diego and could make a meaningful friendship. RA’s are here to assist students in any way they can—use that resource!

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