The 4 Weirdest Things That Happened To Me When I Was A College Dorm R.A.


My career as a Resident Assistant at college was interesting, to say the least. Amidst all the good and bad times, I got a couple entertaining stories from my two-year tenure. Here are some of my favorites.

The Masturbation Confrontation

I heard a knock on my door in the early evening while I about to fall asleep (I was planning on staying up all night to study some biochemistry — fun stuff, I know). I open it to see a colleague of mine looking slightly anxious, wanting to come inside to speak privately. The first sentence she spoke filled me with pride, and totally hooked me.

“Bill, I have to have a conversation but it’s too awkward for me and I think you’re better suited to have it.”

Bingo, tell me more please. As it would turn out, a male resident of the building was disturbing several others in the bathroom — whenever he showered, everyone could hear him moaning, even down the hall. It was unanimously decided he was relieving some tension in the bathrooms.

The timing of this could not be better, as two weeks prior, signs were put up outside of all bathroom doors asking residents to stop masturbating in the showers, as the drains could not take all of the semen. I’ll repeat the last part of that sentence for emphasis: the drains could not take all of the semen. I don’t know the poor soul of a plumber who discovered this, but here’s wishing him nothing but good things.

The other RA was right though, this was likely a conversation that would be best done if I handled it. I went to the resident’s room and ideally, his roommate wasn’t there. The conversation was as follows:

Me: Hey man, how have you been?

Resident: *still playing World of Warcraft* Alright, just hanging around.

M: I don’t believe there’s a right or wrong way for me to lead up to this, so I’ll just ask. Some residents have expressed concern that you are masturbating in the showers, claiming that you are moaning while doing it. Is this true?

R: *Pauses game, does not look at me* That’s… not true, they’re wrong. I was singing. I like to sing when I shower.

M: Perhaps they were just hearing you warm up then?

R: Most likely.

M: Do you believe that you could “warm up” with less volume?

R: I could do that.

M: Thank you. Also, in case you do get the urge to… you know… please remember the signs? This building can’t take it.

R: Oh. Ok.

There were no more complaints of moaning or singing in the shower on that floor for the rest of the year. As a bonus, residents were cognizant as ever about remember to bring footwear for the community showers.

Bathroom Cannabis

Before he was kicked out, I had a gifted drug dealer in my midst. He was quick on his feet, good with people, and was the antithesis of every drug dealer stereotype you can think of. His only downfall was that his product was too dank for his own good.

Let me preface this with a generalization about my appearance from those years of my collegiate career: My hair was way too long, I used a longboard to get everywhere, and at the start of that particular semester, 311, Slightly Stoopid, Ratatat, and Pepper (among other greats) could usually be heard emanating from my room. I had quite the pothead vibe.

It didn’t take long for the new freshmen from other floors that didn’t know their RA’s yet to ask me if I was the dealer from my floor or if I knew who they were. I told them I hadn’t talked to many people yet but to totally hit me up if they had any leads. 420, dawgs.

It was a very hot September so every smell was amplified tenfold. This led to some confusion as nobody could go #2 in the men’s room without feeling hotboxed in their stall. I checked the bathroom and couldn’t find anything, so I assumed people were smoking outside and it was coming in the windows that were opened in desperation of tracking in a cool breeze.

This went on for the half a year, with the strange smell making the bathroom its home. Everyone on staff knew, but couldn’t figure out what was going on. I had an idea, but I was too lazy to check.

As it would turn out, the guy was caught somewhere else and it was eventually discovered he was stashing his product above the ceiling tiles in the bathroom. He would retrieve some contraband for deals when needed, and left the rest up there with the dust and mold that collected from the moisture over the years. Many couldn’t believe they didn’t think of it sooner — some to get rid of the smell, others to steal for their own use.

Hurricane Horror Stories

It was the second month of school and Superstorm Sandy was battering the east coast. This did not concern my residents at first, they did as they pleased the entire time. 

For reasons I cannot explain, the gym was open on the first day the storm hit. A pack of testosterone-pumped guys NEEDED to go, and expressed their concerns. As there was technically nothing I could do to stop them walking across the hellish state of a campus to the gym, I wished them good luck. 

But this was not the end of it — apparently the plan was to take me with them. Who doesn’t want to workout with their RA in a hurricane? I went, because I’m a loose cannon RA who lives on the edge and doesn’t play by the rules, also because I figured I could try and persuade them to turn back if the weather was bad enough. For the other residence lifers out there, that’s how you build your community (while I did share a bond with the boys after this, it was a silly gamble).

It was clear after 45 seconds outside that this was a terrible idea. A tree fell about 20 yards from us, power lines were down, and they were live — you could hear the humming of electricity, and you could feel the charges in the air. The wind was howling. One of the smaller guys was actually knocked down twice because he was so light.

Several pairs of swole biceps later, we came back to a restless building. People were terrified for their families and themselves. The power went out, causing all sorts of problems. 

One of my coworkers was now trapped in an elevator. The residents dispersed into the darkness — I could only imagine how many Three Olives bottles were being opened. Night had just fallen.

As a way to unify my residents, I call as many as I can to the lounge (the elevator problem was fixed just before) — I had some fun ghost stories that I had personally experienced and this was perfect weather for storytelling. It could count as a program, and I’d have more than five people attending so that would be a success.

After an hour or so the residents left, but two immediately ran back with frightened faces and implored me to go with them, saying “something was wrong” with a friend. I take my flashlight, and work down the hallway to the resident’s room and go in. I can’t see anything but can hear shaking. After searching the room with the light I find the resident convulsing on his bed with vomit all over his front side. One yelled to call an ambulance but another asked if one could even make it out in the storm. 

Thankfully, professionals arrived on scene despite the circumstances and everything turned out for the best.

The Perry Hall Ghost 

Fall 2011 was an interesting semester. It was my first semester as an RA, and the students in my building were quite the eclectic group. One didn’t have any idea the type of first semester he was in for. We will call him Michael for the sake of this story.

Around late September and until Halloween, strange things happened to Michael and his roommate, herein referred to as Jake. I wasn’t informed of these events until they became a little more serious towards the end of the semester.

Things started out with simple occurrences. The TV turned on in the middle of the night. Another time while Michael was asleep and Jake was awake, the microwave turned on.

The two roommates thought these events were creepy, but there was really no harm done and others simply thought that someone could have accidentally touched the remote while sleeping. There wasn’t an explanation for the microwave.

Coming up with explanations for moving furniture became a new task. Sometimes one roommate would come back to find beds out of their frames, and chairs and garbage bins turned upside down.

Michael and Jake also continuously woke up from strange dreams — dreams that eventually teetered back and forth between reality. One night Jake dreamed that he was being chased by something with claws that scratched his back. Michael woke him up to find the back of his shirt with blood on it. After taking it off to inspect further, Jake had no scratches.

One morning, Jake heard Michael sounding as if he were choking in his sleep. After waking Michael up, the TV came on. An episode of Yu-Gi-Oh! was showing a dark hand and said something along the lines of “I will control you.” Michael discovered bruises on his neck soon after.

Michael had another physical problem with whatever was messing with him one weekend while Jake was away. As he was falling asleep he heard his door slam even though it was closed. As he looked over, he felt something push him and he went flying out of his bed onto the floor.

It wasn’t until these events happened that I was informed as to what was going on. I lived on the fourth floor while everything happened on the first floor. The night I was called down though is still a vivid memory. As I walked down the hallway, the back of my head felt heavier and heavier until I arrived at the room. Inside, many others reported the room “felt weird” and refused to go inside if the lights were off. Nothing strange happened that night. Then again, nothing usually happens in the presence of seven people.

After Halloween, Michael decided to get his new room key and the locks changed. The woman who issued him the key wanted to take a picture with him in the room for some reason and he agreed. Afterward, the roommates never had trouble again for the rest of the year.

But because this story isn’t weird enough, the same cannot be said for the woman. She reported that after taking the picture, strange things started happening at her house. Her lights went out once, but after checking the circuit breaker in the basement, nothing was wrong. After she went back upstairs, all of her chairs were turned upside down and cabinets were opened.

I will never be sure if there were multiple ghosts in Perry but I started having problems in January. The four RA’s moved back into the building for training. We had to put door decorations (mini bulletin boards with each resident’s name) up in our spare time, which were usually done during nights after a full day’s worth of training.

True to college slacker form, I waited until the final night before the residents moved in to put everything up. Around 11, I thought I saw a brunette girl out of the corner of my eye on multiple occasions. There were two girls on staff with me, but one was Filipina and the other was Peruvian and Pakistani, and this girl was quite white.

I wanted to get to sleep so I thought nothing of it. What started to bother me were knocking noises that I heard coming from the back of doors that were locked since the end of last semester. I thought wind could explain this, but I had closed and locked all the windows myself before break, and nobody was allowed in the building until the staff moved back in. I worked quicker.

The knocks continued behind whatever door I was working on and they were more aggressive, quicker. I started to get the same heavy feeling in the back of my head that I used to get on the first floor.

Around 2:00 am I heard a loud crash coming from the room whose door I was working on. It was right near the door because I felt the thud through my feet. Thoroughly spooked, I ran back to my room, locked the door, and called someone. My logic was that if I was going to die, someone needed to know what I was witnessing. After calming down, I continued to work on the other side of the floor, cringing as the knocking continued for the rest of the night.

Apparently two girls from another floor had problems with things flying off of their shelves while they were in the room, but I was never involved with incidents regarding that room so I can’t say much more than that.

Whether or not there was a single playfully rough ghost that liked to mess with Perry’s residents that year, or multiple ones that stayed behind after one left to terrorize another woman, I will never know. When I was assigned to a different building the following year, I was disappointed. I had come to like everything else about the building, but was relieved and hoped that whatever I had dealt with in Perry Hall would stay there and leave me alone.