||My name is Cherise James, but some of my close friends call me Reese. A childhood friend, Justin, came up with the nickname after watching one of the Austin Powers movies. As the movie ended he said, "I shall call you mini Reese." From then on, I was known as Reese to a lot of my friends in high school.
I am a fourth-year public relations major in the UF College of Journalism and Communications at the University of Florida in Gainesville, FL. I will be graduating in May 2004, which will make me the second person in my family to graduate from college. Even though school is my top priority, I am also very involved on campus. I am the co-creator and co-director of Gatorship, a leadership and diversity retreat that has now become a UF tradition. In our first year, Gatorship accepted 50 participants from the 70 plus students who applied. This year we expect to have even more applicants and we hope that the programs success will continue to grow as each year goes on. I am also the Associate Director of Publications for the National Information Center which is an affiliation of NACURH, Inc (National Association of College and University Residence Halls).
I have been working for the UF Department of Housing and Residence Education for the last three years. I started out my R.A. career in Beaty Towers, but for the last 3 years I have been working at the Springs Residential Complex. Springs opened in 1995, and it is one of three residence halls that houses UF athletes after Yon Hall closed its doors. Springs accommodates a large population of UF Athletics. However, two-thirds of our residences also include freshmen and continuing students (sophomore of higher).
I have been fortunate enough to encounter a group of amazing residents such as Ian Scott, Anthony Roberson, Mike Degory and Matt Leach. In the last three years, I estimate that over 300 students have been "my residents," not including the ones I have adopted and taken, "under my wing." Some of them are the very reason I continue working as an R.A. One the other hand, some have tried my patience time after time and made me question my longevity.
After graduation, I plan on taking a year or two off from school instead of going straight into graduate school like most of my peers. I have worked very hard during my undergraduate education and I presume that if I were to go straight through to graduate school I would burn out quickly. During my "time off," I plan on working professionally in housing or student affairs for a small public or private university in Florida. The flexibility of this field allows me to pick and choose from schools all over the country but I think it would break my mother's heart if I left the state. Staying in Florida for the next two years is definitely a compromise because I wanted to move out-of-state right after graduation. I will also take this time to study for the GRE's and search for a master's program in higher education or college student personnel.
Copyright ©: 2003 Cherise James
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