The city of Oxford can be an expensive place to live, yet without many of the people who work here and call it home, the town wouldn’t be the same.
Amanda Martin works on campus in the Phi Mu sorority house, and she said Oxford has become increasingly expensive.
Martin said the town draws many parents and alumni from affluent backgrounds. As a result, the town’s restaurants, stores, theaters, and activities attract those customers.
Football weekends, in particular, are financially outrageous for some. Prices seem to skyrocket when there is a home game. Oxford’s popularity has affected her apartment rent, and she has heard mortgages are pricey because real estate prices have risen.
These factors have made things financially challenging for Martin and her family, but she said she doesn’t plan to move anywhere else.
The Grenada native grew up in Oxford. Her father worked in construction, and her mother, in a factory. She loves Oxford, so she decided to settle here for work.
Her primary responsibilities at the Phi Mu house are making sure public spaces in the house are kept clean and assisting staff members during mealtime.
Martin said she loves the other staff members. “We have become like family,” she said. “Our kids play together, and we get together outside of work to have meals or just relax.”
Martin is a single mother of three children under 12. She said this is the best job she has had because it gives her the opportunity to spend more time with her children than her previous jobs.
She likes that her primary work time is during the school year, which gives her the opportunity to spend summers with her children.
Though the schedule is nice, it creates a financial burden for her family. During the summer, Martin is unemployed and only earns $200 a week.
She said quality of life is more important than money. Her previous job paid $600 more than the job at Phi Mu, but she was miserable.
She loves to spend time at the movie theater or bowling alley with her kids, and loves the opportunities the local school system provides for her children.
“I consider myself a sports mom,” said Martin, who drives her kids and their friends to and from practices. She loves being an active mom and doing what she can for them.
Bryanna Hall, Phi Mu house resident, said Martin brightens her day.
“She typically is cleaning the bathroom when I am in there getting ready for class in the morning,” she said. “She always greets me by name and has a smile on her face.”
Hall said she loves when Martin brings her children to the house. “They are so sweet, and she is so caring and giving to them,” Hall said, adding that she and her sorority sisters try to help the staff.
“We always try and clean up a little extra when we have events, since the bathroom typically takes the brunt of the mess,” Hall said. “Ms. Amanda has so many other tasks, that we don’t want to make her job harder.”
Although there are many positives about Oxford, there are also negatives. The volume of students traveling to and from Ole Miss causes a lot of traffic in town. This makes some of Martin’s commutes difficult.
Luckily, she has to be at work in the morning before the main traffic starts, but in the afternoons when she picks her kids up from school, the roads are lined with cars.
Martin said Oxford has given her family many opportunities she cannot imagine finding anywhere else. She is excited for her children to make memories here.