HRL/Residential Staff Program

By Moises Mendoza

Making the transition from high school to college was honestly one of the most difficult experiences I have ever encountered, and as a first generation, out-of-state, minority student, coming from one of the most underserved neighborhoods of a large city, it was extremely difficult for me to settle in and adjust to the UVA community. I have always said that when I arrived to UVA it didn’t take much time for me to realize that the majority of people walking around grounds were simply not like those walking around my neighborhood in Houston. For most of my first year I simply felt out of place and couldn’t find my “home away from home”. The feeling of not having a place to call home became something I simply didn’t want any other person to experience. I believe someone’s home is much more than just the place they live and the place they go to sleep after a long tiring day. Someone’s home is not only a place of shelter, it’s the place they can always count on to bring them comfort and happiness, it’s the place they can go to in order to retreat from anything and feel safe. It’s evident that when I decided to attend UVA, one of my biggest fears was that I would be living somewhere that simply didn’t feel like home. The Resident Staff Program has helped me find that “home away from home” while at the same time given me the opportunity to help others find their home at UVA as well. I essentially found a family and support system within the Resident Staff Program. HRL empowered me and made me realize that I could have an actual impact on the lives of those around me by supporting them both with their transition to college and their overall college experience. Through my experiences in the Resident Staff program I have learned so much about how to become the best leader and person that I can be, and I wouldn’t trade the amazing memories that I have made with my staffs and other staffers for anything.

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