Find What Brings You Joy: Alumnus Nicholas Ciniglio

Originally from Rhode Island, alumnus Nicholas Ciniglio is currently working as Residence Director (RD) at JCU. Nicholas holds a B.A. in History with a double minor in Creative Writing and Italian Studies.

You are one of JCU’s Residence Directors. What does this job entail?
The role has two main parts: assisting students in neighborhood apartments upon their arrival and helping them throughout their time at JCU. I also assist in the emergency response. The other RDs and I participate in the on-call rotations for emergencies outside of office hours.

Nicholas Ciniglio

What’s the most challenging and most rewarding part of the job?
The most challenging part is being on call since anything can happen. One of the best parts is being able to meet new students every year. With the degree-seekers who remain in housing, I can see them grow and form more of a relationship with them, which is also rewarding.

What was the path that led you to this role?
While I was studying at JCU, I was an RA, which is essentially one step down from my current role. After I graduated, COVID happened, and some of my other plans fell through. I interviewed for this position and took a leap of faith by agreeing to the responsibility. Now, I’ve been working here for almost three years.

Has your perception of JCU changed since when you were a student?
As a student, I was more concerned with my studies, my future, and my general interests. Now working at JCU, I see behind the scenes how the University can accommodate student growth. We’ve changed a lot since I started as a student in 2016, but we still have room to improve. Overall, the campus atmosphere is what has changed the most. There’s a much larger student body now and spaces that used to be hidden are now classrooms or popular spots.

You’ve lived in Italy for several years now. What is the most important lesson that you’ve learned about yourself in the process?
Being so far away from my family has allowed me to grow as a person in a way that I wouldn’t have if I were closer to home. I’ve learned how to manage my time and my finances, how to support myself with my hobbies, and find a balance professionally and personally.

I don’t see myself going back to the U.S. I go back about once a year to see my family, but that’s enough. Most of the friends I had growing up moved away after high school or college, and even though I have my family, which is great, it’s not enough of a reason to move back just to be closer to my parents and sacrifice everything else I’ve built for myself here.

What are your plans for the future?
During COVID, I found a new passion for baking and gardening. I like to try out my recipes on coworkers and take requests. This year I got a plot in a community garden, and I’ve started gardening as a side hobby.

In the future, I would like to own an agriturismo with a bakery, that way I could have land to do some gardening and bake for people. It would be a great way to interact with people experiencing the culture, whether they are Italians coming to visit or people abroad. I would like to help people enjoy the area’s nature and culture.

What advice would you give to recent graduates?
It’s good to have an idea of what you want, but if you don’t, or you’re unsure, that’s completely fine. I had applied to a Master’s in Archeology because I thought that’s what I wanted, but I realized I only forced myself into it because my friends had started their master’s right after graduation. Now, I have a clearer outlook on life, and I think giving yourself time to decide what you want is okay as well. To figure it out, you must do what you think you’re interested in and see if it brings you joy.