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Annika Nilsen

Annika Nilsen
Class of 2016
Neuroscience Major
Alumni Lawn


Why did you apply to be an RA?

I applied to be an RA because I think it is one of the most integral forms of leadership on campus.  We don’t lead student organizations that meet once a week with students, but rather we live with the students–we see them in the morning without make up on, we see them after breakups in relationships, we see the raw emotions of their joys and triumphs and mistakes and failures. I knew I wanted to to be an RA because I wanted to be a role model and person of confidence for a group of girls on campus.  I wanted to be able to cultivate a living community that could take campus from just being school, to now being “home.”

How has being an RA changed your experience at Vanderbilt?

Becoming an RA has been the highlight of my year.  I love the people I work with and I have loved getting to know people on my floor on a deeper level.  I can set the tone for the type of community and atmosphere of warmth and acceptance that I think are important aspects of a residence hall.  I am able to encourage and support my residents, and seeing them grow as people or in relationship with one another has been one of the most rewarding elements of being in this position.

Why do you think others should apply to be an RA?

I think other students should apply to be an RA because it is one of the most respected and most important leadership positions on campus.  I have formed so many new interpersonal and professional skills through training and practice.  I have also never felt such high purpose on this campus before. I get live with, work with, encourage, love, and support over 60 girls on this campus–and as I watch them grow and thrive, a little piece of me knows they wouldn’t be the same person this year without the living community they’ve become a part of on my floor.