That One Young House Fellow
Although University of Wisconsin-Madison student WyLisa McIntosh usually watches “Ellen” every day, she had to cut down this semester because she became a House Fellow at the age of 19.
At first, McIntosh did not understand why she was selected for the job as a sophomore. She has lived in Smith Hall since her freshman year and loved it, so she decided to apply to be a House Fellow for her junior year. However, one day, the head of Smith Hall, Raymond Neal, asked her to fill an open Smith Hall House Fellow position for the upcoming semester. She immediately said yes.
“My name was at the top of the list of potential candidates. I don’t know how that happened, I guess someone saw something in me,” said McIntosh.
Adjusting to her new House Fellow position halfway through the year was hard for McIntosh because her new residents had formed relationships with their old House Fellow. In addition, McIntosh said she did not know how well she would be able to understand each resident’s needs.
Despite her concerns, McIntosh said, “So far I’ve made strong relationships with my residents and I definitely think I’ve impacted enough of them.”
McIntosh also adapted to her new job by asking her friends in Smith Hall from last semester for advice. Although they are residents, she said they wouldn’t put her in a position to abuse her House Fellow position or authority.
In addition, McIntosh has around ten residents older than her, but she has not had any problems with them defying her authority. She said because her older residents are more mature, they are easier to handle than her younger residents.
In fact, McIntosh said being an authority figure is not an accurate explanation of a House Fellow’s duty.
“I’m not a police officer. I’m not going to spy on you. I’m here to assure all the residents are comfortable in their living environment,” said McIntosh.
After overcoming her first challenges as a House Fellow, McIntosh is enjoying her job and she is looking forward to next year as a veteran House Fellow.