My College:
Housing & Residential Life

The "Second Mom" in Your Student's Dorm

LaTrina A. Rogers, MS Ed.

Being a second Mother makes my heart smile.

I am known as The Dorm Mom not just for my business but also for my job. I’ve worked in my college's residence hall since its opening in January 2009, first as the Hall Manager and later as the Director of Residential Life. The campus is small with one residence hall which means an intimate community. I’ve found myself in a unique position because although I’m not a mother biologically, I’m a second Mother to hundreds of students.

I’ve supported students during their best moments and even the worst which has been the death of a loved one. I’ve even had to support the residence hall during the death of a fellow student.

I’ve taught students how to cook, clean, do laundry, manage their new environment and even manage their relationships and friendships. Those encounters didn’t happen because their own parent wasn’t available; it was because I was seen as a trusted adult who was not officially “Mom” but kind of like a mom. It’s close to being the Cool Aunt. It’s so important for students to have support while living on campus. Their trust to involve me in their lives has been life changing.

Once a student graduates, they usually leave with no further contact. I’m so grateful that has not been the case with many. Some alumni and their parents have made me part of their family. It’s been the best part of my job. Attending graduation parties, weddings, housewarmings, baby showers and children’s birthday parties has been a joy. I’ve even hosted Zoom parties with alumni just to catch up on life.

My mailbox has been filled with invitations. I’ve received a wedding announcement from the sibling of an alum. The family adopted me when their student graduated eight years ago. Another invitation came for a baby shower for a couple who met in the residence hall and had their wedding on campus (I was the coordinator). When these invitations arrived, I could feel the love from them!

As the semester ends and Mother’s Day draws near (with Father's Day around the corner), thank the Campus Housing Professionals working with your students. College students living on campus have access to people who truly care about their well-being. Staff lend themselves to make sure your student has a safe space to vent, be themselves and regroup to be the best student possible. The work is tough, but it is also so rewarding.

LaTrina A. Rogers, MS Ed. (she/her/hers) is Director of Residential Life at Ranken Technical College in St. Louis. She holds a master's in College Student Personnel Administration from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and has over 15 years of experience in student affairs across a number of functional areas including admissions and degree completion programs as well as residence life. LaTrina is The Dorm Mom — connect with her on Facebook, YouTube and Pinterest and @thedormmom on Instagram and Twitter!
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