Janay Garrett, sophomore Political Science majorCommunity Leader for Centennial Place
For Janay Garrett, the term “Community Leader” goes beyond a job title. Though this is just her first year as a CL, Garrett is confident in her ability to help others.
“We’re the people residents can come to if they need help with anything – personal issues, academic issues – anything to do with their first year,” Garrett said. “I wanted to be able to reach out to someone, and being a CL is the best way to do that.”
Garrett is responsible for nearly 40 residents alone, but makes sure to create a relationship with each of them through daily chats, weekly floor traditions, and having her phone on 24 hours a day. Maintaining the personal relationship isn’t always easy, especially when it comes to the line between the friendship and the job.
“We want you to be safe and not have to worry about anything but going to class,” Garrett said. “You know, basically, all our policies come down to safety for all the freshmen here and the other residents who decide to live in [dorms].”
Balance and time-management are two skills Garrett says are two of the most important to have as a CL.
“It keeps you on your feet,” Garrett said, “Meetings, one-on-ones, CL meetings, stuff to do for school. A planner is life right about now.”
While balance and time-management are important, patience and an upbeat personality can make the difference when it comes to residents, according to Garrett.
“You have to be like bam! This is what I came to do. I’m good at this, this is what I’ve been training for!”
Ebuka Ibuoka, junior Biology pre-med majorCommunity Leader for Southern Pines
At only 18, Ebuka Ibuoka is already serving his second year as a Community Leader. Ibuoka attributes his love for his job to his own former CL.
“I’m an international student and the first person I met here was my CL at Watson,” Ibuoka said. “He was really cool and I was amazed. Like, ‘whatever he is, that’s what I wanna do!’ because for whatever reason, he took it upon himself to talk to me and make me feel welcomed.”
Thanks to his former CL, Ibuoka became one as well in his sophomore year. In his first year as a CL, Ibuoka realized his newfound title put him in an awkward situation. He was younger than most of his residents. This year, though, he feels his age gives him an advantage when connecting with his residents.
“They know that you understand what they’re going through. But then they also know, in the back of their heads, [I am] a junior, I do have more experience.”
It’s that experience that helps him balance his relationships with his residents and the duties his job requires.
“The first reason you’re here is because of those policies. We’re friends with our residents, but if [someone] crosses that line, we have to go into job mode. It’s because we care about them that we have to enforce those policies.”
For Ibuoka, time-management is the hardest part of being a CL.
“During finals, you still have to check residents out and make sure they’re good, but you still have to worry about your finals,” he said.
Despite the stress that comes from balancing work and school, Ibuoka continues to love his job. “We’re a tight-knit group,” he said. “It’s like a family, it’s wonderful.”