Series: Faculty & Staff Spotlights

Staff Spotlight: Rachelle Munsey

As a Senior RA, Rachelle notably directs events on campus and acts as a great resource for current students. She graduated from St. John’s in the fall of 2018.

Additionally, Rachelle comes from the Sacramento area of northern California. Before St. John’s she was homeschooled, after which she took 2 gap years working in a local winery as well as teaching anatomy and physiology and algebra classes at the elementary and junior high levels. She and her husband, Nathan, have a baby on the way due in June.

Q: How did you become a Senior Resident Assistant? What does the job entail?

A: As an Undergrad student I knew Senior RAs with families and got to know them pretty well. Over time they became people I could go to, and it was a blessing to have that line of support. Having that human personal connection and being able to pursue such valuable thoughts coming from my classes and experiences at school was incredibly important to me. St. John’s can have a very intense and intellectual sphere, so this means classes can be very personal, and it’s good to have people to help you tackle life’s questions.

The position of Senior RA is mainly about chaperoning parties and ensuring the safety and security of students, as well as acting as a go between for students and Public Safety at difficult times. In addition, I sometimes go to the hospital to visit students if they didn’t have family available, just to check on them, talk, and visit. This is what being a Senior RA is really about, to generally be there to support and uphold the community.

Q: What is something you miss (due to coronavirus) or just generally value about St. John’s?

A: My heart goes out to the classes. I understand that this must be extremely hard, especially for seniors who are not leaving how they planned. I am truly proud of how students have rallied and offered themselves to the community. I have heard of students giving airport rides, finding support groups, even aiding others in finding apartments on short notice.

Something I especially value about St. John’s as a school is the humility. It’s something we continue to grow in past St. John’s, and it is really something we learn there. How we approach the texts requires humility. I remember at one point the tutor saying, we have coffee table talk, the kind of knowledge that is just a little about everything–it opens a big door for us but it takes humility to understand that what we read is just the tip of the iceberg. I associate

humility with students in the classroom, with someone who is strong, confident, supportive to others, and intensely aware of the wonder around them.

Q: If you had to choose, what is one of your most valued program books?

A: This probably won’t surprise people who know me: Paradise lost. The intricacies, the beautiful language, and how much weight you can discuss over one line! I did a precept on it my junior year. It intimidates me a little as a writer and leaves me in awe. I think one of the reasons I love it is the valuable enthusiasm and conversation I experienced with it in my studies.

Q: What is one moment that is significant to you as a Senior RA?

A: I remember some students who I was called to be a support to in a moment of crisis.

They dealt with it amazingly and I was truly humbled. They reached out over the year, and we would go get tea and talk about classes, artistic endeavors, and where to go after St John’s. It was an honor to see a life journey, and a tapestry of challenges overcome, and the strength and beauty in their lives. They trusted me to see them in those moments and invite me into their lives.

Q: What is your favorite place for and flavor of ice cream?

A: Either Annapolis Ice Cream’s peanut butter oreo, or Red Bean’s make your own milkshake (I enjoy cherry and brownie).

Q: Do you have any advice for current students?

A: Some of the most special times as a student were meeting with tutors. I’m an introvert and a little timid in front of their amazing combination of genius and humility, traits that go so well together in tutors. When I did take a tutor out to talk about papers or more personal things it really made classes more enjoyable. They were so understanding and supportive, in fact they will still stop to chat and catch up with me. I didn’t spend as much time with tutors, but I had a classmate who was on the other side of the spectrum–meeting up with her tutors even several times a week. I think it’s good to do the latter. It can be a great aid and resource.

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