Sophomore criminology major Daniel Garcia, of Chapin, says there are many benefits to being a resident assistant at Lander University, but what’s most rewarding is the fellowship that exists among students in the RA program. “The other resident assistants aren’t just there to do the work this job entails,” he said, “but if you need someone, they are there to help and be someone to talk to if need be.”
Garcia was encouraged to apply for the program by the RAs who came before him, and when the time comes he hopes he can pass the torch to younger Lander students interested in becoming RAs, too. In the meantime, he enjoys being the same helping hand that RAs were for him during his freshman year at Lander.
Being an RA, though, doesn’t mean that Garcia doesn’t have time for other co-curricular activities at Lander. In his free time, you can find him playing intramural sports with Lander Campus Recreation. “I play volleyball and soccer,” said Garcia, and noted that he’ll be participating in an upcoming “Ultimate Frisbee” tournament, too. With so much campus involvement, Garcia has a healthy balance of work, study and play.
It’s not always an official tour of campus that attracts someone to Lander, and this is true for Garcia, as well. He was first introduced to the University by paying a visit to his older sister, Sussy Garcia, a nursing major. That visit left a lasting impression on him, and made him realize that the personal attention he would receive at a student-centered school like Lander was the right fit for him. And, in addition to falling in love with Lander’s campus, he also admires the charm of the surrounding City of Greenwood, too. “It was in a brand-new area for me,” he said. “It was only an hour and a half away from my home, but still new for me.”
For Garcia, experiences outside a traditional academic setting are just as important as the lessons he learns in his criminology courses. One example he offered was a leadership course he took with Dr. Demario Watts, director of Student Life at Lander. “This class taught me in many more ways than just one,” Garcia said, and claimed that the leadership course also gave him that last nudge he needed to apply for his position as an RA. “This class more than prepared me for that role,” he said.
After receiving his criminology degree, Garcia has his eyes set on a career as a detective for a law enforcement agency or as a private investigator, and dreams of working as an agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation one day. But alongside the academic classes, Garcia says the leadership skills he’s developing as an RA are also preparing him for the workplace and the world.
“Being a leader is part of what I want to do with the job I want to go into,” he said. “I want to show that I can help and lead others to the right direction, even if it’s something small.”