Name: Rafena Boyd
House: Hansen-UF

Hello! My name is Rafena Boyd and I am a second-year microbiology and cell science major at the University of Florida. Ever since I migrated from Jamaica to the United States at the age of 4, I have been moving around South Florida. I started in Miami, ended up in Port St. Lucie with my family, and now I’m in Central Florida at SSF.

I can say this tirelessly: living at SSF has been a huge blessing. I have never been in an environment before this one that has allowed me to truly be myself. Before this, I lived on UF’s campus in a dorm. Although I was close to my floormates, I felt like I was always anxious because of the toxicity around me. It seemed that I was holding myself back but I couldn’t understand why. Moving into Hansen during Fall 2020 was one of my best decisions. I regret not applying much earlier. I felt an immediate sense of community here. I was able to push myself to pursue leadership roles inside and outside of SSF. I knew that if I was ever going through a bumpy path with my mental health, I can rely on my housemates to help guide me to a lighter frame of mind. I was surrounded by people who were open minded, so I am growing into an identity that suits me.

What I love the most about SSF is that it provides an environment where you can hold yourself accountable. Living here is a privilege, so it’s up to you to hold yourself to a higher standard. As Media Coordinator, I am constantly hearing stories about my housemates achieving amazing tasks, like starting an organization or going into a huge internship opportunity. It inspires me seeing them hold their responsibilities with house tasks and community activities while balancing other goals. The icing on the cake is that we are all able to keep a sense of humor on top of rough schedules; it’s often that I would find myself laughing with them in the living room after a difficult exam.

I would recommend SSF to anyone. I will never forget my time living here.