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Jill is an apartment assistant at Henderson Apartments on the Cook/Douglass residential campus. A junior from Phillipsburg, N.J., she is a pre-dental student majoring in public policy. Having previously served as a Leadership and Experiential Learning first-year fellow and peer leadership mentor, Jill is also involved with the Rutgers Association of Philippine Students (RAPS), Douglass Residential College, and the Rutgers Pre-Dental Society.

On her decision to attend Rutgers

My sister went to Rutgers. She was a huge influence on my life, she is like my second mother. She really encouraged me to come [to Rutgers] because she thought it was for me. Rutgers is very diverse, there are so many majors here, and so many organizations to get involved with that it satisfied by desire for something bigger than where I’d come from.

On her transition to college

I don’t think I acclimated myself very well at first. It was overwhelming. I consider myself an introvert so it was hard for me to get out of my shell. But once you find the right people, it’s a lot easier and I made some of my best friends [freshman year]. One of whom, I lived with last year and is actually one of my residents now.

On her decision to become an RA/AA

The first interview reminded me a lot of the leadership department. It was very focused on how well you work with a team, your skillset, and how capable you think you are [at doing this job]. Even if you’re not capable now, are you going to push yourself to grow? It was after going through that process that I thought, this department and this side of Rutgers is similar to what I loved about leadership and experiential learning. It’s about developing yourself, and in developing and bettering yourself, you can inspire others to do the same.

On approach to being an RA/AA

Everyone wants to feel like they’re a part of something, even if it’s just their residential community. But to me, it’s never just a residential community – its home, its where you feel comfortable and want to feel safe.

I’m from a large family and being the middle of six children, I was always mediating. There was never a quiet moment in my house, but I tend to be quieter, reserved, and I like to observe a lot. As an AA, I don’t feel like you have to be on all the time and always be that peppy cheerleader for your residents. Sometimes they just need you to be there, be chill, and be someone they can talk to.

Thirty percent of the time I can be your cheerleader and 30 percent of the time I can be your true friend who is just going to be there for you. The other 40 percent, I’m pretty adaptive and can be what you need me to be. I can be the person to tell you how it is. If you’re the kind of person that needs someone to be angry at you and yell at you to help you get stuff done, I can be that. I can be the older sister that’s looking out for your health. I’m a very flexible adaptive person and I can be your resource.

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On her passion for music

Music is a huge influence in my life. I sing and write my own music. Lately, I’ve been collaborating with more musicians and friends to help me be more creative. I try to draw from my own experiences and try to imagine it from other people’s perspectives.

My earliest musical memory is doing karaoke when I was young. I would practice singing ‘A Whole New World’ from Aladdin, day and night, before singing it for my parents. From then on, I was always in choir and performing in talent shows. I was even in a barbershop quartette [in high school].

I didn’t really start writing [my own music] until I got my ukulele during my junior year [of high school]. Singing and songwriting has branched out into poetry and spoken word. I just like to keep being creative and I really value people who look at things from a different perspective and can show you things that you could have never seen before on your own.

My sound is definitely developing, but I’d say it’s more R&B and pop, and sometimes can be a little alternative. I’ve dabbled in all areas of music, from Billy Joel to Jhené Aiko, Daniel Caesar, Khalid, and Twenty One Pilots. I really love everything and am really into jazz right now. People think I’m listening to elevator music all the time.

My friend and I just wrote this song called, ‘Growing Pains’. It’s about going through a period in your life when you don’t really know who you’re becoming. You’re trying new things and you’re hoping that because you’re pushing yourself and trying to develop, that you’re going to like who you ultimately become.

I feel that when a lot of people first start songwriting, it’s usually about love and heartbreak and those types of romantic, personal relationships. I find that those stories are the easiest to tell and relate to because so many people have those shared experiences. So now, I’ve really been trying to work on straying away from that and really telling stories about wanting more from life.