Dillon Lockwood is the RD for the on-campus apartments: Fair Commons, South Campus, Tara East and University Terrace. Lockwood earned his bachelor’s in youth ministry from AU and is currently completing the second year of his master’s in theological studies through the School of Theology.
Why did you decide to become an RD?
I was an RA for two years, and I really enjoyed doing that. I had a fleeting thought at one point when I was an RA that I might be an RD once I graduated. I immediately squashed that away.
Then, my senior year, I was trying to figure out what to do next. I felt like I wasn’t done with this place yet, so I signed up for the master’s program in the School of Theology.
I wanted to do something around the area as well, to still be involved in some way. This job showed up on my lap out of nowhere.
I was looking for a graduate assistant position. I wanted to study in the School of Theology, still be here and hopefully get that paid for as well. That was the goal.
I first signed up for the CAB graduate assistant position, and that one was filled immediately. I was just out of luck for two weeks. I kept asking myself, “What am I going to do?” I just really felt like I was supposed to be here continuing my education.
I remember feeling really scared towards the end of the semester about not knowing what was next. I went everywhere. I went to the financial aid office and asked, “How am I going to pay for this?” I thought I might have to start looking for jobs in the area.
I was out in the Smith-Martin courtyard when Maggie Platt walked up to me and said, “Have you heard yet?”
I said, “Have I heard what?” She told me that another graduate assistant position just opened up, that Hayden Linville wasn’t coming back and that Fair Commons was going to be open for a new graduate assistant.
I applied immediately and found out later that summer, at a friend’s wedding, that I had gotten the job. I got a call from Jason Stephens that I was offered the position. I wanted to accept on the spot, but he said that people generally wait, so I waited for a couple of days. I knew, though, right then in that moment that I was going to accept it.
Now I get to practice ministry at the place I love, the place that ministered to me for so many years, and that’s really exciting.
What are your responsibilities as an RD?
It’s all over the place, really. You never know what you’re going to have to do.
There are daily things like checking your emails. I get a lot of those from random people with concerns about broken things around the building. I have to respond to those. I also get emails from people who are having roommate issues or conflicts. Those are some common things that we guide and direct people through.
It’s also important for me to be present in the community, not just in the buildings, but around campus as well. That means walking through the buildings, being there and available.
For me it’s difficult because I have buildings all around campus, and there aren’t offices in all of those buildings either. In Fair it’s easy for me to sit in the office at specific times, so I can see and greet people as they walk by and hopefully have conversations with them. It’s easier to answer questions and build a community when you’re present.
It’s hard to wrap up what an RD does, because you live in the space where you work. Even when you’re in your own personal apartment, at any moment something could happen and you would need to address that situation or have a conversation with someone.
One of my biggest focuses, one thing I view as being more important, is how I build my staff of RAs. How I pour into them is, I think, what’s going to be best for the community. They’re the ones who live on the floors. Especially in buildings across campus where I don’t physically live, it’s important for me to pour into those individuals, make sure they’re healthy and finding ways to grow spiritually, physically, mentally and emotionally. I just want to pour into their lives so they can be the best individuals that they can be, so they can foster a community.
What has it been like to go from best buds to man of the house?
It’s been tough. I’m still in that process.
Last year was difficult, because I was really close with the senior class. I was just one year older than them, and now I’m only two years older than them. I’m still fairly close in age.
There are actually a lot of people who I was an RA for when they first came here as freshmen. I still have a little bit of that friendship there, so finding those boundaries can be tough at times. I want to continue to be their friend, however, I am still an employee of the university and a resident director. Even though it’s important to make those boundaries, it’s also important to be friends as well.
I don’t know if I’m ever going to find that perfect balance of the two. When you’re pouring your life out into these people, especially the RAs, it can be tough to find balance. Relationships and friendships in general are tough.
I’m also not the most professional individual around, so that’s just another one of my weaknesses. I do find it tough to dress professionally at times. I’m still working on presenting myself in a way that demands respect.
However, I think I have advantages that other people might not. I’m a highly relational individual. I have strengths in that area. I’m able to build relationships well.