Adrian Davis’ work as a Student Village residence assistant draws on his experience a world away – when he was a Marine sergeant in Okinawa, Japan.
A non-commissioned officer, or NCO, he was in charge of a deck of younger Marines – the same age as many community college students, in fact. Davis, who joined the military a few years after high school, was a little older than the people around him – a situation that endures today at SUNY Broome.
“I was called ‘the old man’ when I was leaving the Marine Corps. Now I’m an RA here and I think I’m the oldest student in the Student Village,” said the Binghamton native, who is now 25 years old – well, 25½. “I’m grandpa in the Student Village.”
The age and experience gap can prove to be a boon for the younger peers he mentors. As it turns out, this is the Business Administration major’s second time at SUNY Broome.
He had considered joining the military directly out of high school, but his parents urged him to try college first. He was, he admitted, immature and more than a little uncertain about his path. He tried computer science and then criminal justice, but nothing appealed – nothing in the classroom, that is, and he ended up failing.
“I was more into partying rather than going to class. I wasn’t interested in school at all,” said Davis, who then spent five years serving his country.
From sergeant to RA
The Student Village wasn’t yet built when Adrian first attended SUNY Broome, and he had his first exposure to the residence hall as a student worker. He then met residence director Alexandria Donkor, who told him the benefits and the pitfalls of life as an RA.
It reminded Davis of his time in the military and he decided to apply. An added benefit: It gave him the opportunity to live on his own.
He’s a frequent sight on the third floor, which he oversees. Perhaps in some ways, he sees a bit of his younger self in his fellow residents; they, too, are trying out college to see how they like it, and are looking for their path in the world.
When he’s not working as an RA or in class, he holds down other jobs, too: as a student worker and at a store in the mall.
How does he balance the demands of being an RA with his classwork? “It’s really a matter of making a schedule and following it, and making sure you have free time so you don’t feel overwhelmed,” Davis said.
Enjoying the environment
When he was preparing for his transition into civilian life, Adrian Davis began to weigh his college and career options. Along with his hometown college, human resources seemed a natural fit, although accounting also has its appeal.
“I can see the big picture in Business Administration, in case I want to go another path,” he said of his major.
A degree in Business Administration will allow him to tackle the prerequisite courses he will need for his future career, as well as prepare him for transfer to his dream school: West Virginia University. He’s a longtime fan of their football team and has acquaintances from his time in the military who went on to attend WVU, giving him some ready connections.
Long-term, he would like to work in human resources for some part of the government – maybe a police department, drawing on his earlier law enforcement interest.
Unlike his first try at college eight years ago, he’s doing well, and enjoys conversing with his professors.
“I’m enjoying the environment. I like the whole experience of being here,” he said.