It wasn’t your average Christmas present.
On Dec. 25, 2009, Amanda Cox was hired as a resident assistant. The following spring, she would live in the dorms and work to protect and help girls her own age.
“Housing has helped me really figure out who I am as an individual,” said Cox, now a 23-year-old first-year graduate student in higher education. “I’ve been able to identify my strengths and weakness.”
Cox currently serves as a graduate hall director. The position came after she’d worked as a resident college advisor and a resident assistant during her time at UF.
Cox said the most rewarding part of being an RA was seeing residents transform from “scared first-years leaving their home” into “independent people.”
“It’s pretty awesome to meet a guaranteed 50-plus people each year and know that you are there for them,” she said.
Cox said being an RA is kind of like being a big sister.
She described a moment she had with one of her residents a few months ago. Cox said she helped by talking to the girl in her office for 45 minutes when she didn’t have many to turn to.
“By the end of our conversation she had gone from timid, scared, and worried about what she should do with her life and had turned into a confident, smiling, and positive person,” she said.
The horror stories of breaking up parties and kicking boys out of the showers are pretty routine, she said.
“I’m thinking about writing a book about all the ‘different’ things I’ve had to deal with over the years,” Cox said, laughing. “It has the potential to be a best-seller.”
If she had the chance to do it all over, she said she “wouldn’t change a thing.”
For the girls trying to secure their niche within the university community, Cox said don’t be afraid to get involved and try something new.
“Be yourself, and be confident in everything you do.”