Resident: Amanda (Mandy) Garcia
House: Badcock

Hi there! My name is Amanda Garcia, but my friends call me Mandy. I am a new resident of SSF, living in the Badcock Scholarship House. I am a first-year student at UF, on the pre-nursing track. I was born and raised in Naples, Florida, about four hours south from Gainesville. Back home, I live with both my parents, my older sister, three barking chihuahuas, and one outdoor cat. I love animals so much that I even volunteered with shelter pets when I wasn’t busy with my own! I went to a technical high school in my county, where I was enrolled in a Practical Nursing program along with my regular classes. I learned a lot about healthcare and completed many hours of clinical training at elderly care facilities and at elementary school health screenings. It was through this that I found my love for nursing and realized that I wanted to continue studying it in college. Back home, I always enjoyed outdoor activities like kayaking, paddle-boarding, and laying out on the beach with my friends. On my own time, I like to read, watch my favorite movies and shows, and draw. I enjoy drawing portraits and frequently get requests from friends to draw them. I have no doubts that I will be able to develop my art skills and pursue my favorite hobbies during my college experience.

Truthfully, I never considered UF my top-choice school, as I frequently fantasized moving out of state for college, perhaps somewhere less hot and humid. But as time wore on, I realized I wanted to stay close to my family and hometown. I also had to consider the financial aspects of it all. While researching Florida schools, UF seemed like the best option. After one tour of the campus and some information about the College of Nursing, I knew the Gator Nation was for me. Since moving in and getting acclimated, I have not been disappointed with my decision! Housing was an important decision that I had to make prior to getting started. My high school guidance counselor recommended Southern Scholarship Foundation to me in my senior year. From the information I gathered about the program, it seemed like a perfect fit. Along with being financially suitable for my family, SSF has given me a sense of community and support that has been very beneficial to my college transition. It has taught me important lessons about cooperative living, including communication, consideration of others, and individual responsibilities, like completing work-jobs and turning off lights to help keep our utility bill as low as possible. Having a home filled with supportive people to bond with and seek advice has made me feel very comfortable during my first semester of college. Having house dinners is a luxury that you can’t find in a dorm or an apartment. Overall, I am very thankful for the opportunity to be a part of the SSF family, and I look forward to my experiences in the program throughout my college career!