Hello everyone! My name is Stephen Deaderick and I am one of four Residence Life Coordinators (RLC) at Oxford as well as the Diversity Coordinator for campus. I oversee the Jolley Residential Center (JRC), which is comprised of Bonnell, Dickey, Dowman, and Stone halls. The JRC and Oxford have become my new home, complete with fun, friends, and all the chaos that it entails. The first time I came to Oxford was in 2007 during my sophomore year at Emory University. I was in the Emory Wind Ensemble and Symphony Orchestra and we came here to perform. “No way could I ever live here!” I thought to myself as my friends and I walked through the dining hall and realized we could see all of campus from anywhere we stood on the quad. Flash forward to 2010 when I was job searching after completing my M.Ed. in Student Affairs at UCLA. I saw the RLC job posting and decided to apply for it, even though I had already sworn off working in housing or residence life. Well, as you can probably tell, I got the job and took it. I have called Oxford home since July 2010 and regret the immediate assumption I made about this place back in 2007. Whether or not you have the chance to visit campus, I hope that you, too, will one day call Oxford home. Living on campus in the residence hall with the students certainly has its ups and downs, but I have really enjoyed all that it has given me. If Oxford is your future home, you will come to love three things about this place: the people, the places, and the events.
As I’m sure you already know, Oxford is a small school. You will get to know other people and you will get to know them well. Take advantage of this opportunity to be part of such a tightknit community. Get to know your roommate, your peers, your professors, and the staff on campus. Everyone has a story and a unique background and you never know what you will find by simply having a conversation with someone here. From the custodial staff to the faculty, everyone here is part of this wonderfully friendly Oxford family. When I look around at my 250 residents, I see people from all over the world, from different religious backgrounds, and from different cultures coming together to create this vibrant community. I am so lucky to get to experience residential living again for a lot of reasons, but one of the best reasons is that I can connect with students on a much deeper level and see the relationships they create with their hallmates.
Everyone has their favorite spot on campus and you’ll find yours too. Maybe you like going for walks in the woods, or enjoy studying in Seney as you overlook the whole quad. There are so many amazing spaces and buildings on Oxford’s campus and luckily you have two years to enjoy them all. The new library provides you with a bright and open place to study, and the spaces in our residence halls allow people to come together while playing ping pong, watching a movie, cooking, and so much more. I am biased of course, but I do love the JRC. It will soon be the only residence hall located directly on the quad and it has the charm of an old college building with modern amenities inside (we are still in the process of renovating parts of it).
There is always something to do on campus here! The one piece of advice I tell all of my students is to take advantage of the clubs, programs, and events going on. Yes, you are here to study and be a student first and foremost, but the times you are going to remember are going to be those things that take place outside of the classroom. The RAs (there is one on every floor) are charged with creating monthly social and educational programs in the residence halls for their residents. It might be a movie night, an alcohol awareness program with the Health Educator, or cooking a meal together. No matter what it is, take the time to at least stop by when there is something going on because it is a great opportunity to interact with your fellow residents and to do something fun. There are also a variety of programs put on by various student organizations or offices on campus that you should attend. The Hindu Student Association hosts Diwali ever year, the Chinese Student Association holds a big celebration of the Lunar New Year, and the Student Activities Committee has a week of fun programs during Spirit Week in the spring. Living on campus so close to where these programs take place is an opportunity you won’t have again in your life, so take advantage of it while you can!
I hope I’ve given you at least a basic glimpse into how wonderful residential life at Oxford can be. There are so many fun things to do and people to see. Whether you live in the JRC, Haygood, Elizer, Murdy, or the newly constructed Fleming, I hope you will develop a sense of pride in your hall and be able to call it home.