Life as a community assistant on the Ole Miss campus


Julia Wickes

An introverted international student is working as a community assistant in Crosby Hall at the University of Mississippi in order to become more social.

Traditionally, students refer to the upperclassmen who live on campus, aid freshman and maintain dorm order as RAs, or resident assistants. But at Ole Miss, they are referred to as community assistants, or CAs.


Linh Nguyen works on the seventh floor of Crosby Hall at Ole Miss as a community assistant. Originally from Vietnam, she decided to come to Ole Miss to study accounting, and she is enrolled in 16 credit hours.

She has only been attending school in the United States for a year now. “I decided to go to Ole Miss since I already knew someone studying here,” she said. “And I got a scholarship.”

Traveling from Vietnam to Oxford takes Linh almost two days by plane and several stops. “I make stops in Tokyo, Chicago, and Memphis, and have to spend the night in a motel,” she said.

Linh decided to be a community assistant because she realized she was an introvert and thought it would help her become more social. Being a community assistant in Crosby involves living on a floor with almost all freshmen girls.

This week is Roommate Week, which means Linh, along with all other community assistants, meet with residents and their roommates on their floor to sign an agreement that establishes rules and boundaries for sharing living space.

Crosby Hall has two wings on each floor, with a community assistant on each side. Linh covers the larger wing and attends to girls who live in rooms one through 34. She looks after around 70 girls.

In order to become a community assistant, Linh had to move in two weeks before most students to complete training and prepare the dorm rooms.

Living in America is an adjustment for Linh compared to Vietnam. “It’s different having to speak English all the time,” she said. But she likes that being a community assistant makes her be and feel more social.

Linh said she also has more freedom. She enjoys not having to follow her parents’ rules. American food is also different. Traditional Vietnamese cuisine consists mainly of rice and other fresh ingredients found in each region. In Oxford, the cuisine typically consists of fried anything with a side of mac and cheese or grits.


Linh likes to draw and make artwork in her free time. Her favorite form of art is working with pencil and shading. She also does mixed media art. For a while, she wanted to major in art, but decided against it and chose accounting instead.

Although she loves art, she does not enjoy the technical side of graphic design. She prefers to put pencil to paper instead of mouse to screen when it comes to drawing and other forms of art.

She said the benefits of working and living on campus as a community assistant include “financial incentives, connections, experience and involvement.”

McKinley Booth, ane of the residents on Linh’s floor, said she had no idea Linh was an introvert.

“I think she is doing very well at becoming more social,” she said. “I’m so glad being a CA is helping with this issue. I love seeing Linh interact with the girls on my floor because I can tell that she is breaking out of her introverted self and achieving her goal of being more social at Ole Miss.”


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