CA Zakaria Rochdi

At The College of New Jersey residents are given the opportunity to take on one of the most involved jobs on campus: being a part of the Residential Staff. Junior Accounting major Zakaria Rochdi has been a Community Advisor in Decker Hall for the past two years, and knows what it’s like to go through the nerve-wracking process of applying to be a CA.

Last week, students who made it past the written application process for acquiring Residential Life positions, which include being a Community Advisor, Student Manager of Residential Operations, House Assistant, and Desk Assistant, took part in an individual and group interview held in the Social Science Building on campus.

According to the TCNJ website, Community Advisors “serve as leaders in developing community within their area of responsibility, help to resolve student and community conflicts, and organizing community efforts in developing floor or house programs." Rochdi remembers when he was a freshman moving into the towers, where he made the mistake of moving into the wrong building. “I took all my stuff to Travers 9 when my room was in Wolfe 9 because I didn’t know the difference between the two buildings.” Luckily a CA came to his assistance, and ended up enlightening him on where to go.

Seeing how much of a positive influence a CA could have on their residents, Rochdi decided that he wanted to try to be a positive influence himself. He recalls having “one girl, who is now my friend, who always saw me around campus and was like ‘You’re always smiling and it always makes my day.’ That was cool to hear from someone and I wanted to make other people smile, so I decided to apply for the job, and thankfully I got it.”

He has been able to spread that welcoming smile to the residents on the floor he currently resides over, Decker 2, including sophomore deaf education and sociology major Yuleisy Ortez. She says, “Zakaria is a great CA. You always see him socializing with his residents whether it be challenging them with riddles or stopping by just to say hi. He makes sure everyone is doing well on the floor. He gives off a very welcoming and friendly vibe, which makes him a very likeable CA.”

Thinking back to the day of the CA interview, Rochdi remembers suffering from a “lack of sleep, [being] incredibly nervous, and having zero confidence because of the mac n cheese incident.” This incident, for those who may not have heard, involved the burning of microwavable mac n cheese resulting in a fire in the towers and all of its residents spending the night sleeping on the floor of the Recreational Center.

He woke up at 7 am the next morning, took a shower, and walked on over to where the interview process was taking place.

For Rochdi the group interview process was not the highlight of his morning, due to the fact that two students were constantly fighting for the spotlight. However, he was able to keep his composure and be himself, which is something he believes is an important part of going through the CA process. “Stick to your passion. You are your own individual person. Blossom through what you believe in, because it will help showcase that you are comfortable in your own skin and that you’ll be able to be assertive in your position.”

Rochdi’s mantra in life is “to enjoy it while you can and be passionate about what you do.” His passion for being a CA has made him someone residents want to talk to about going through the CA process. Sophomore communications and marking major Chris Minnick believes that Rochdi “has a lot of influence as a CA. He even helped me with my application.”

In the future, Rochdi hopes to retire as a teacher, and be able to take naps at 4 in the afternoon after a long day of teaching business and being a high school track coach.