Junior RA Aids In Freshman Transition


Nicholas Zaromatidis, GSB `21 has been an RA since his sophomore year. (Courtesy of Nicholas Zaromatidis/ The Fordham Ram)

Kelly Christ, Opinion Editor

The transition to college is never easy. Nicholas Zaromatidis, GSB ’21, hopes to make it a bit easier.
Known affectionately as RA Nicky Z, he is a resident assistant (RA) at Fordham’s Alumni Court South (ACS) Residence hall, which houses almost 300 freshmen.

“There’s a certain satisfaction in being able to help a confused freshman, whether it’s daily things like helping them find buildings on campus to making sure they are physically and emotionally secure in their new environment,” he said.

He began his time as an RA in ACS during his sophomore year, and continued the position in his junior year. Helping freshmen residents with their transition into college is one of his biggest focuses.

“Not everybody has an easy transition to college, and I am fortunate enough to live close to Fordham,” he said. “It’s not that big of a change in my life, but for some it’s across several states, or across the country, or even across the world. Helping them with this transition is very rewarding to me.”

Having grown up on Long Island, Fordham provided Zaromatidis the unique opportunity to experience college life to its fullest while still giving the opportunity to go home when he wants to.

“It’s under an hour drive from home. I wanted to be able to have that city feeling,” he said. “I was always commuting into the city with friends in high school, so this was a benefit I wanted. I also wanted the ability to go home, which I am able to do.”

Perhaps one of the reasons Zaromatidis is so effective in helping his residents navigate the challenges of college is his own experience in crafting a path at Fordham.
When he began his freshman year, Zaromatidis was part of the Honors Program at Fordham College at Rose Hill. However, he remained conflicted about what major would suit him best.

“I was torn between majoring in a business field or doing political science,” he explained. “I initially picked Rose Hill to become an International Political Economy (IPE) major.”

While still in Fordham College at Rose Hill, Zaromatidis hoped to take advantage of Fordham’s Gabelli School of Business as well.

“Though I didn’t want to major in business at first, I always wanted to at least minor in it,” he said. “Having Gabelli gave me the opportunity to pursue it further if I wanted to.”

He decided to transfer to the Gabelli School of Business after his freshman year, declaring a major in accounting.

“I picked a major in accounting because I took a class in it in high school and liked the topic,” he explained. “It made sense to me. I waited until I took the first accounting course in Gabelli before I declared. I enjoyed it and decided to continue pursuing it.”

In addition to the coursework, Zaromatidis cites Gabelli as providing the foundation for the opportunities he has had in the business world thus far. In the summer of 2019, he completed an internship with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in Manhattan.

“The internship was a great introduction to accounting because I was able to explore different lines of service,” he said. “It showed how many of the concepts I learned in class are brought into the real-world space.” In the summer of 2020, he will be continuing with PwC with a more client-focused internship in the tax line of service.

Zaromatidis believes that many of the values Fordham espouses are what make the community so special.

“Fordham’s emphasis on cura personalis, caring for the whole person, highlights that education does not stop when class is dismissed,” he said. “We are able to see that through the RA position. We are constantly educating our residents to be safe and make smart choices while providing them with tools to succeed.”

Being an RA for the past year and a half has taught Zaromatidis much about Fordham as a whole. In particular, he has appreciated the incorporation of Fordham’s resources in his residence hall.

“Fordham has a multitude of resources — from a career perspective, a mental or physical health perspective and most of all from a learning perspective,” he said.

“There are many departments that are eager to work with RAs to incorporate their information into residence halls. This information allows me to better serve my residents, as I am more connected with these resources.”

As he continues to work in ACS, he hopes to work with Fordham’s resources to continue serving his freshmen residents. In addition, he holds his fellow staff members in high regard as well.

“There are nine of us on staff, and I think that is a strong number because it is not too big or too small,” he said. “It is easy for us to build friendships with other staff members.”

The bonds between his staff often allow it to work more cohesively in creating programs and providing other opportunities for its residents. With the second semester of the academic year just starting to kick up, Zaromatidis and his fellow RAs hope to continue their work in providing guidance and assistance to each and every resident.

As he enters his senior year, Zaromatidis plans to continue to take advantage of the many opportunities that Fordham has awarded him. And as his residents work through the end of their freshman year, he will continue to provide meaningful guidance along the way.