Jamilah Felix

About Jamilah Felix

I am a Communications major at Nyack College's Manhattan campus. I love reading, eating, watching movies, and then eating some more. I'm excited to be a light to those around me using the gifts God has given me.

The New Semester Brings New Changes

My usual “wait until the very last minute to register for the new semester” gig is starting to get old, and yet, I have done it again. I finished everything that needed to be finished and registered for my new classes on January 17th, and the first day of classes was January 18th. In fact, I procrastinated so badly that I completely forgot to buy any of my textbooks (this is where I would put the upside down smile emoji.)

So here I am: the first week of the Spring 2017 semester is halfway over and I have no books, got financially cleared by the Grace of God, and operating under obscene stress outside of school…and *in my best Maya Angelou voice*…still I rise. I rise because I am here. I rise because God is doing amazing things, whether I can see them or not. I rise because I woke up this morning. I rise because He gives me strength to rise. I strive to be somewhat transparent on this blog, and in an effort to do so I will can honesty say that I can do nothing without Him. I will never accomplish anything worth accomplishing without Him. Without Him I am nothing. I’m not even going to pretend that I have a plan for this semester because I don’t. I have no steps to have a great semester and no formula that is going to make everything turn out alright. All I have is Jesus, and He’s honestly all I need. I find it comforting to know that the only thing we really need is ours and He’s always right there beside us, chilling.

Because of Him, I have confidence that this semester will rock. Because of Him, I am not afraid of the future. Because of Him, everything is going to be alright. For you, too.

It’s an (for lack of a more comprehensive and accurate word) interesting time in America right now. Tensions are high and peace seems to be a distant illusion. Whether or not the election garnered the results you hoped for, it’s easy to feel off kilter in your personal life as a result of the chaos happening around you. Transitions and changes are hard. It’s a new semester, new year, new president, maybe even a new you with new friends and new habits (or the same old you who always makes New Year’s resolutions but always falls back into your old ways on January 2nd, but I digress.) This much change can be earth-rocking and hard to swallow. But this too shall pass, and come tomorrow morning you will be stronger than ever.

Nyack Unfiltered: Sherilyn Blake

Nyack College has a plethora of personalities. Nyackers come from all different backgrounds and bring their stories with them. Each one has a passion, a gift, and a desire to see God’s plan for their life be fulfilled. Nyack Unfiltered is a series of interviews I am conducting featuring students on the Manhattan campus who not only I, but others, believe will do (and currently are doing) great things for God.

 The second interview in our series is Sherilyn Blake. Sherilyn, a fellow Communications major, is currently the Vice President of the Student Government Association (SGA). She is always smiling, always has cute outfits, and is going to do great things after she graduates. It was an honor interviewing her. Thank you, Sherilyn!
So, you are the Vice President of SGA…which you have to get back to after this [Sherilyn laughs]… how do you like it?

Sherilyn: I like it. I think, for me, the best part is being able to see an event through. But the work before an event is challenging, and I’m grateful we have so many student leaders who are just hands-on. I mean whenever you call them they are just there to help you. I think that’s what makes my job easier and makes events go [smoother].

Do you think that’s a Nyack thing? Or just the type of people that are around?

Sherilyn: I think that it’s a Nyack thing because ever since I got to Nyack I’ve met friendly people – helpful people. Like, all you have to do is ask and they will help. Sometimes you don’t even have to ask, they just help. It’s good to have people on deck ready and willing to help you.

Why are you at Nyack? How did you get here?

Sherilyn: Well, crazy story. I took a year off from school after my freshman year in college. And one of my friends from high school – her sister graduated from Nyack. She was like, ‘Have you ever heard of Nyack?’ I was like, ‘What’s Nyack?’ She was like, ‘It’s a Christian school. They pray. They talk about God, talk about Jesus, and you don’t have to be scared.’ I was like *gasp* Really?’ So I googled it, because I had never heard of Nyack and I was like, ‘This is a good school.’

So I applied. It was literally like two weeks before the semester started. So, I got in, I got my schedule, and then everything just seemed so – I don’t want to say a coincidence, but everything started falling into place like literally at the last minute. I actually prayed about this…and it was probably one of the greatest prayers I’ve prayed because I’ve [made] so many friends, like lifelong friends. Like now my friends have become family and we’re so close. I think it’s a blessing because you don’t always find friends like that everywhere [you go]. In other colleges most people don’t even know your name, so I think it’s a tight-knit school [where you can] feel comfortable and confident to live out your faith.

Yeah, it feels like a family.

Sherilyn: It is.

That’s funny, that’s how I did mine too. Like literally two weeks before [the semester] started I did all the paperwork – I had Googled it beforehand and everything. I did the exact same thing.
So is the school what you thought it would be?

Sherilyn: As in the work? I didn’t expect the work to be so much. It’s not that it’s really difficult – it is challenging, some of the classes, it’s just so much work that I never catch a break. But when it comes to professors, the professors are so nice. All you have to do is ask. I think sometimes they get frustrated if you don’t ask for help [because] you feel like [you] got it on your own, but I learned the hard way that I do not know everything or I wouldn’t even be in school in the first place. So I think it’s good to have professors who are knowledgeable in their subject and they are willing to help you become knowledgeable in that subject.

Has SGA affected your spiritual life?

Sherilyn: I started SGA over the summer because we started planning for this [Fall] semester and next [Spring] semester over the summer, and I started questioning myself. I thought, ‘Why did I even sign up for this? What am I doing?’ And then in the first couple weeks of school I had so much work to do, I thought, ‘I should have never have done this. This is my Senior year… why would I add something else to my plate?’ So spiritually I was in, like, this weird place. [Then] stuff started happening, and I was like ok I’m going to start praying more, like faithfully. And I’m just going to – I had to build my trust in God again. I had trust in God, but I feel like not enough that I could leave everything that I was worrying about. I still had that little ‘Mmm I don’t know, I don’t really know.’ So I thought ok, this situation is challenging. Let me pray about it. I’m just going to step back. And then I let God do what He needs to do. And that turned out so much better than me going and doing something. But I feel like from the beginning of the semester to now – now being the end of the semester – I would say that I’ve grown spiritually because I’ve learned to face…. We’ve dealt with a lot – with losing two of our friends and other leaders that I’ve realized that God is so much greater than these things that happen. Though we may not understand things at the time, God always reveals things to His people. And I feel like that made us closer. I know that we appear close, but we weren’t really like we weren’t all in the same page. I feel like we needed this wake up call, and it was an unfortunate wake up call, but it woke people up to realize that we need to start appreciating the people around us and we need to start caring for people while they’re here today so people aren’t regretting it tomorrow. So spiritually – I realized that I need to start appreciating people and things today and not wait for tomorrow.

So after you graduate, what do you want to do?

Sherilyn: I want to be a film director.

Do you want to start working on that directly after [you graduate] or later on?

Sherilyn: Truth be told, I want to start working on that now, but I don’t have the time right now. So after graduation I want to move to California, I have this whole plan in my head – a five year plan. I’m going to start making short films. I might go to graduate school. I was looking at the University of Southern California because they have an amazing Cinematic Arts program. I guess I want to study more, but I also want to apply what I’ve studied. I don’t want to spend two years and I’m not doing any work. I want to experience and [also] get knowledge.

Experience is what is going to get you where you want to be…

Sherilyn: Exactly! Like you can know everything, but if you can’t do it then you have no chance.

So you’ve spent your last 3 years here at Nyack?

Sherilyn: Well, I’ve been at Nyack for two years, since 2014.

Oh, so how do you like it?

Sherilyn: I like it. I like that it’s in the city. I like that it’s only 40 minutes away. I don’t like… what don’t I like… it’s so expensive over here! Like when I buy lunch, I have to save this lunch because not only lunch but also dinner because it’s so expensive.

Exactly. You have to save money and buy a foot-long sandwich instead of a 6-inch and eat half.

Sherilyn: Exactly, exactly. But the neighborhood is beautiful. It’s in a prime location for where we want to grow and it’s in the heart of the city, and I love the city.

So if you had to minor in something what would it be?

Sherilyn: At Nyack?

No, anywhere.

Sherilyn: Business. International business or marketing. Like one of my biggest goals is – like if I had a billion dollars right now – I would open a children’s hospital. I would charter – I know I have crazy dreams but I would have a jet and I would charter medication and doctors all over the world. Because when I was younger I needed a blood transfusion because I was born premature, and somebody was kind enough to donate their blood and save my life. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for that stranger. And I love children. I have nieces and nephews and my nephew was sick when he was born. So I would open a children’s hospital for those who cannot afford the medical care that they need. And say you couldn’t afford to come to America to [get] to the hospital, we’ll send a doctor with medication to you. So I would say Business because you need to know how to run a hospital, that’s like a business. Also, if I could take a language [class] so I could know all the languages of the world then I would totally do it.

Well, did you take one as an elective?

Sherilyn: Yeah, I took Spanish. Ask me how to say a word. Can’t say it.


Sherilyn:[She pauses and looks away for a second]…..la silla.

See! You know SOMETHING.

Sherilyn: [laughing] Yes! Thank you Professor Rodriguez! [editor’s note: Professor Rodriguez is one of the Spanish professors on the Manhattan campus.]

So after you graduate from here and go on to do major cinematic things, what do you think you will have taken from Nyack?

Sherilyn: One thing I learned from Nyack is that I need to chill out. When I first came here I was in this extreme place where [I was] like, ‘Say one bad thing about God. Watch me come after you. Say something that doesn’t match my doctrine. Watch me come after you.’ I remember one time I had an argument with my professor in Old Testament. For like twenty minutes we argued, and the whole class was sitting there like, ‘Please stop.’ I was just crazy. Then I was just like Sherilyn relax. It’s good to be strong in your faith, but don’t attack people. I learned the hard way that you don’t need to defend God because God is bigger than you. So I guess it challenged my beliefs, or what I thought was correct, and I learned to just listen before I react. That’s what I’m still learning!

That’s an important lesson to learn. How can we hope to impact this world as Christians if we don’t know how to listen? If we just lash out without thinking, what do we hope to accomplish?

Thank you again to Sherilyn for letting me interview her for this series!

The Joy of Jesus

Merry Christmas!

I hope you guys have been hearing that a lot. I’m currently drinking a peppermint hot chocolate and listening to Christmas carols at a very Christmas-y Starbucks. I would be wearing an ugly Christmas sweater and a Santa hat, but I have to go to work later. The point is – it’s Christmas.

Christmas joy can seem overrated if we focus on what’s in front of us. The show the Great Christmas Light Fight helped put me in the Christmas mood (even though I originally didn’t care much for it). The Babyface version of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is a Christmas staple for my family and makes me happier than ever. This season also brings unreasonable cheer – but why? What is it about Christmas that causes such a hullabaloo? Yea, it could definitely be the presents. It could be the unreasonably happy Christmas music (Frosty the Snowman just started playing). Or it could just be the fact that we are expected to be happy around this time. But what is the source?

As we all know, Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus. (Even though, apparently, Jesus wasn’t even born in December). A vast majority of our Christmas carols revolve around Jesus, especially the older ones, and Nativity scenes with plastic baby Jesuses begin to pop up on front lawns across the country. My point is that it doesn’t matter whether or not people choose to celebrate His birth because the true cause is very well known.

Jesus speaks about joy in John 15:11. He says, “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.” His joy is the joy that is everlasting, very recognizable, and contagious. His joy was only made available to us after He came to earth, and what do we celebrate on Christmas? The day Jesus came to earth, exactly. I believe this is the reason Christmas is what it is. This holiday involves so much joy and cheer not because of the material aspects surrounding it, but because of the supernatural joy that it is rooted in. The joy of Jesus empowers the Christmas holiday. Remember that when you say Merry Christmas and when you get excited about a Christmas carol (Feliz Navidad is now playing). When you get excited about the decorations on your Christmas trees and making hot chocolate, just remember that you’re basking in Jesus’ joy.

Nyack Unfiltered: Joseph Vasquez

Nyack College has a plethora of personalities. Nyackers come from all different backgrounds and bring their stories with them. Each one has a passion, a gift, and a desire to see God’s plan for their life be fulfilled. Nyack Unfiltered is a series of interviews I am conducting featuring students on the Manhattan campus who not only I, but others, believe will do (and currently are doing) great things for God.

The first interview in our series is Joseph Vasquez. Even though Joseph doesn’t know me too well, he granted me the honor of interviewing him. He’s an interesting guy who will bring much honor to God’s name with the things he’s planning to do.
What’s your major?

Joseph: Psychology.


Joseph: I’m a Psych major because I believe it’s a good foundation for what I want to do. I want to be a psychotherapist. I want to be able to help people find the root of why they’re going through what they’re going through, and [help them know] that they are normal. Usually when you go to see a psychotherapist or psychologist you kind of feel freaked out and I want to create an atmosphere – like a safe haven – which I know builds up over time, but I just want to create that environment. And I want to help people understand that when they go into that office, they’re not the only ones going through what they’re going through. Even though it may seem like it, they’re not. I also believe that I am called for ministry, and I want to be able to understand the people that I’m being called to minister to – [their] mind, [their] emotions, and just integrate that with what I’ve learned on my journey with God and what the Bible teaches me. So for instance, the Bible says that the heart of a man is like a deep well and the person who understands it draws it out. So you see Psychology there, and I just like that integration.

Are you minoring in anything?

Joseph: I’m not.

If you could go back and if you had more time, would you want to?

Joseph: If I had more time, I would have done an interdisc. [editor’s note: interdisciplinary major] I would’ve done Psychology and Pastoral [Ministries]. I think even though I’m graduating – you know those kind of regrets – it’s not evident, but it’s there. So if I could go back in time I would have done Pastoral, just for the fact that I think that those classes are kind of easier than what I take. Usually when I take a Bible or Pastoral class, I get a decent grade…

Then that’s probably because that’s what you’re good at…

Yeah, and it comes easy for me so I would integrate Pastoral and Psychology because [in these classes] they teach you methods that you can use when you preach, they teach you how to read the Bible from a different perspective….and the Spiritual gifts. So these are things that make me wish I could have sat down in these classes.

So, what you want to do with psychotherapy is kind of unique. It kind of sounds like a brand. Do you want it to be your brand or do you just want it to be a job and then you do something else for your career?

Joseph: I think psychotherapy is just my second passion. I think it’s something to bring to the table, but my first passion is preaching the Gospel. So until then, psychotherapy is something that I want to do. I believe that I can’t just grab a mic and start preaching. I believe in God’s timing.

Right now, are you doing anything related to what you want to do in the future? Or are you just focusing on graduating?

Joseph: I actually started a YouTube channel over the Summer. I paused it… [Just then, a student comes through the doors of the library, gives Joseph a high-five, and wishes him good luck on his test. Joseph thanks him and smiling, continues…] but I want to eventually have a TV show, so I’m starting with a YouTube channel.

What is something you learned this month? [editor’s note: It was November.]

Joseph: I think November has taught me the power of decision and the power of your voice. I think sometimes being isolated from different voices helps you find your own voice. It’s like if there’s a fight in front of you and you’re alone, you’re more prone to break up the fight. But if you’re surrounded by people, there’s a hesitation because everyone’s looking at one another like, “Who’s gonna break up the fight?” I’m not saying to walk alone, but… even Jesus when He went into the wilderness, He was alone and He was confronted by the enemy. So, I feel like there are times or seasons when we’re alone and God isolates us from certain voices so we can find our own [voice]. So I learned the power of my voice and having my own conviction. Especially when it comes to the elections. There are a lot of voices – a lot of opinions – but in the end you’re the one voting. So you have to have a conviction and make a decision. You’re the one making a decision and that might exclude other options and you might not like the consequences of your decision, but…. that’s what I’ve learned this month.

What advice do you have for anyone – not just Nyack students and not just incoming Seniors – what advice would you have for a random person on the street who just came up to you and said “hey”? Or not even advice. What would you say – besides “hey” back?

Joseph: I would say that even though it’s comfortable to sometimes stay on the floor when you feel like life has knocked you down, when you have probably knocked yourself down, when people knocked you down – you were created to fly and just don’t give up. Even when giving up is the only thing that’s echoing in your mind. It’s something that will resonate with each and every one of us. We all get to that point where we feel like giving up – it’s literally just comfortable to give up. It’s comfortable to just stay on the floor. It’s comfortable to just settle. But even though it’s harder to not give up and just keep fighting, even though you’ve been knocked down 50,000 times, when you stand up and start flying again you realize that this is what you’ve been called to do – fly. Just keep running the race. At the end of the day, it will all make sense – at the end of the tunnel. But right now, I feel like nobody should give up. You should keep pushing, you should keep fighting. I felt like giving up a lot of times, at least in the past two years. But I literally keep pushing…there’s something inside of me that says I was born to fly. I was born to keep pushing. And even though I don’t feel like it, even though it’s hard, even though I have to repeat it, even though I have to apologize… if I mess up or I fall, I stand back up and keep fighting. Hopefully that gives hope and encouragement to other people. But not only for those people, but I think the most important thing you can do is encourage yourself. Even David said, “My soul, why are you afflicted – worship God, you know?” That’s powerful that you can encourage yourself. When nobody encourages you, you can depend on God and encourage yourself. I think that’s advice I would give to the general public.

Joseph’s ending words reminded me of my favorite childhood verse (and low key my favorite verse today): Isaiah 40:31 “But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”

Thank you for letting me talk with you, Joseph!

Just Hang On the Semester is Almost Over

I would Iike to begin this blog by giving my fellow blogger Kassie a shout out for her post on defying disappointment with beauty. I connected with it and I loved it. I was in a similar spot this past week – errr…month. Disappointment knocked on my bedroom door more times than I would like to list. There were highs and there were lows, and I learned to dance through it all. (This is usually when “I Hope You Dance” by Lee Ann Womack would start playing and I would make my grand exit, but I’m not done.)

I feel like I should reintroduce myself to the blog because I’ve been gone for a while now. I guess I took a bit of a hiatus, but that’s not entirely accurate because I was still trying to write. In the month I was gone I wrote the equivalent of one post. It took me about 3 weeks to write one post. It wasn’t writer’s block, and it wasn’t lack of motivation. I’m going to be honest – I don’t know what it was. A slew of things hit me at once and I was unable to do anything productive for a while. I guess it’s called life.
Honestly, things still aren’t exactly how I would like them to be, but when are things ever how we want them to be? When are things ever perfect? Never. So why are we mad when things go wrong? Because they’re not what we want? That’s awfully selfish of us. The best thing we can do in these situations is to smile, find our joy, and eat some chocolate. These situations don’t catch God off guard. He’s not sitting up in Heaven looking down and worrying because He didn’t expect this to happen. He knew. And He’s got this. So trust Him.

I, like every other college student, have some big decisions to make. I also have finals, work issues, and family issues. We’re all dealing with these things, and that’s what I keep telling myself. I know I’m not the first and certainly won’t be the last to have 300 things going on at once. Almost every other Nyack student has 300 things going on. My psychology professor said it best, “Nyack students are some of the busiest people I’ve ever met.”

So while writing this blog has been a form of catharsis, I also want you to know that problems don’t run your life. Stress doesn’t run your life. Pressure doesn’t run your life. You run your life. And you run it with the wisdom of the Holy Spirit as your guide. You’ve got this! (And the semester is almost over so just hang on, buddy. You’re almost there.)

5 Ways to Fight Holiday Depression


The end of the year is here, and with it comes the holidays. Honestly, I don’t care what you have to say about it, I’m ready for Christmas music, I’m ready for ice skating, I’m ready for Thanksgiving food. But you can’t judge me for being so ready for the holidays because Forever 21 sent me an email about their ugly Christmas sweaters at 10pm on October 31. They didn’t even wait until midnight so it would officially be November. I also saw 3 different kinds of Christmas commercials on television in the span of 2 hours, and Whoopi Goldberg was on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon to talk about her line of ugly Christmas sweaters. (It seems like ugly Christmas sweaters are going to be a theme this year). So I’m not alone.

However, with the influx of holiday cheer blanketing our television sets and flowing through the streets in the form of Christmas lights and Salvation Army bell ringers, there also comes the less cheery side of the holidays. Pressure and depression go hand in hand this time of year and affects more people than we would like to believe. The Nyack NYC campus has experienced these feelings on a deep level during recent weeks, and it has the potential to grow stronger this Holiday season if we allow it to. So, here are 5 ways to not allow the Holiday cheer to get you down.

  1. Don’t Have High Expectations

I know everyone is always saying to set your expectations high and shoot for the sky because even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars. In fact, that last one is one of my favorite quotes. However, it’s been proven that people who set high expectations are more likely to be disappointed. If your expectations are lower, there is less room for disappointment because you weren’t expecting much in the first place. Granted, this approach does sound a little depressing in its own right, but if the Holidays are a source of stress for you then the last thing you need to be doing is building it up to be something it is never going to be. Plan for a low-key Holiday season. Have a Friendsgiving and go out to eat with friends on Thanksgiving Day, or plan to volunteer somewhere on Christmas Day instead of staying home and unwrapping presents. Planning a chill day takes away unwanted and unnecessary stress.

  1. Volunteer

This goes hand in hand with my suggestions from #1. Volunteering at soup kitchens on Thanksgiving is one of the most rewarding experiences. You wholly forget about yourself for hours and focus solely on the people in front of you. Handing out food or pouring juice are small tasks, but they are anything but mundane when your heart is in the right place. Ever since I moved to New York 2 years ago, it has been my new tradition to volunteer at some kind of shelter, soup kitchen, or food drive during the holidays. I highly recommend it!

  1. Have a Good Support System

Now is the time of year that family members who somehow seem to remember us since our diaper days come from near and far to celebrate the Holidays with us. Family is great, they truly are; however, they can be a handful as well. It’s common to dread the influx of out-of-towners that are heading your way when you know they have a history of asking too many questions and pointing out too many of your flaws. Granted, they probably do so because they care so much (too much?) but there is often a line that doesn’t need to be crossed. So before things get crazy, take the time to contact the people in your life who don’t drive you crazy: your best friends, other family members, maybe even a professor who always hears you out – and stay in contact with these people through January. They will keep you calm and remind you that you’re not going through this season alone. A good, strong support system is crucial.

  1. Remember Loved Ones

It is also the time of year where memories of loved ones who have passed start to flood our memories. Maybe it’s the cheeriness of the season, maybe it’s the lost loved one’s love for the season – whatever it may be, it causes a cloud to cover our holiday spirit and that cloud tends to stay with us all the way through January – which is going to be unacceptable this year. God did not give us a spirit of grief.

  1. Remember Why We Celebrate

I’m not going to sit here and type out: Jesus is the reason for the season (even though I just did) because it’s corny and you’ve heard it before. But it’s true, alright. He is also our rock. He never abandons us, and He is as reliable as ever.  Putting any kind of trust in Him is a smart move because He cannot disappoint. If we celebrate Him instead of the hype of the season itself, there is never disappointment. I love the hype as much as the next person, but I also realize that it is short-lived and ultimately, not worth a thing.

This holiday does not have to be like the last. We are overcomers, and we have the power of pure Joy on our side. Let’s tap into that Joy we have on the inside and fight against holiday depression this year.

In Memory of Utopia Campbell and Tryphena Ramcharitar

It was recently made known that Nyack students Utopia Campbell and Tryphena Ramcharitar have passed away. A memorial was held in their honor on the 13th of October on Nyack College’s Manhattan campus. It was attended by students, faculty, friends, and family who knew the girls both personally and through association. The memorial consisted of person after person relaying their fond memories of the girls. It was both moving and sobering.

Those who knew Utopia have nothing but good things to say about her, and those who might have only seen her in the hallways, like myself, do the same. Last semester, I remember seeing Utopia on the 19th floor constantly. She would smile at me and tell me hi every time. She had a warm spirit.

Tryphena was known by most and seen by all. Because of her and her work in the admissions department, many students have found their way to Nyack this year. Tryphena was also the former Nyack blogger for the NYC campus. When she left the position, the spot was vacant for some time until I received the blogger baton in March of this year.

Events like this sedate us. They cause us to forget about our own stress and worries and instead mourn the loss of a wonderful life, in this case two lives. We mourn not because they are suffering but because we miss them, which as was pointed out at the memorial, is a somewhat nice thought.
What I do know is that Utopia and Tryphena’s souls are happier now than ever before, and I do believe that is something to celebrate. Their passion for people is something to celebrate. And the impact they made while on this earth is something to celebrate. They were the true embodiment of Nyack and I know the school is proud.

It’s also important to bring awareness to issues, like depression, that surround this event. Depression is not always a heavily noticeable state. In fact, a lot of times it’s not noticeable to anyone other than the person being afflicted. It’s easy to stay in our little bubbles and mind our business, but at times our bubbles need to be popped. There is no problem with reaching out when we feel led and cheering someone up or letting someone confide in you – or even confiding in someone yourself. We can’t reach out to those who need help, or reach out ourselves, when we’re in our bubbles. We can’t smile at others to make their day like Utopia would do for me or go out of our ways to help someone like Tryphena  often did if we don’t allow ourselves to.

During times like these, it’s important to celebrate life and be thankful. I’m thankful for having the pleasure of interacting with Utopia and Tryphena. Both women of God left an imprint on this school that will not be forgotten.

I pray peace for the family and friends of Utopia Campbell and Tryphena Ramcharitar.

5 Fun Nyack NYC Events to Attend

In early October, on the Nyack College Manhattan campus we had our first social mixer! It was exactly what it sounds like – a time when students on the campus could come together and meet other students and hang out. There was food, too. We also just ended Spirit Day, so a lot of students were spotted wearing their brand new Nyack gear! I appreciate that Rockland students take the time to come down to the Manhattan campus to sell the school’s apparel to us since we don’t have our own store on campus yet. (Considering, the school just bought the entire building that we are currently in and eventually we will have taken over all the floors, I have my fingers crossed for a Nyack Bookstore on this campus as well.) Our Student Government Association comprised of Anthony Sandoval (President), Sherilyn Blake (Vice President), Bianca Printemps (Public Relations), and Patricia Figueroa (Secretary) has worked hard all summer in order to get these events planned and ready to go! I’m excited for everything coming up, so I wanted to highlight some of the things the NYC campus has planned for this semester.

Weekly Chapel
The guest speakers for chapel this semester are lined up and ready to go. Every year there’s an awesome lineup for chapel and this semester is no different. Speakers come in from other churches, schools, and even countries and do us the honor of delivering a message to the student body. While of course, we also get the privilege of hearing from some of our own professors and fellow students.

Dance Ministry
Led by Jessica Leclere, the Living Waters Dance Ministry is working hard on their upcoming performances this semester, and I hope all Nyack NYC students make it a point to try and see at least one of their performances. Last year, I adored watching the dancers pour their hearts out through movement, and I look forward to it once again.

Bowling Night
Bowling nights are guaranteed fun. The food, the people, and the bumpers that keep the bowling ball from rolling into the gutters all work together to create a fun night. SGA has arranged a bowling night that is quickly approaching, and I believe it will be worth the time out of studying you will have to take to attend.

Global Service Learning Trips
The next Global Service Learning trips take place in 2017 with destinations including Costa Rica, Cuba, England, Greece, India, Israel, Ireland, Mexico, Venice, and the Philippines. The fact that Nyack is able to make these trips so accessible for its students while also offering
class credits is mind-boggling and appreciated. I encourage everyone to at least look into attending a GSL trip and praying about it. It may seem like something totally out of the realm of expectation, but anything is possible.

Surprise Events
Everyone loves surprises, right? So what fun would it be if they told us everything that was happening right up front? Throughout the year, pop-up events that capture Nyack’s spirit and enhance the sense of community among the school are common. Last semester, during the month of February, chapel held a special service honoring Black History Month. There are also random bake sales that happen in the Lower Level of the school and I will admit that those are definitely always a nice surprise.

So, check the information boards on every floor, the school’s Instagram and facebook accounts, and keep your ears to the hallways because there are plenty of events happening on the New York City campus that you don’t want to miss out on! See y’all there!

Let God Figure it Out

It’s no secret that Nyack NYC students are some of the busiest people in New York. I believe I have previously quoted of one my professors saying that Nyack students are some of the busiest people he knows. They’re involved in 25 different ministries, taking 25 credits, and have 2 jobs. I say this again because my professor said it again in class this week and it’s still just as relevant.

It’s easy to believe that every easy-access open door is a gift sent straight from God. That we are supposed to jump on every opportunity that looks promising that comes our way because – hey, we serve a God that only gives us good things, right? He is a God of good and not evil, right? He didn’t come to steal, kill, and destroy. He came so we could have life, and have it abundantly, right? This is true. However, we must be able to differentiate God’s opportunities from good-looking misfortunes. We’re not Raven Baxter. We’re not psychic and we can’t tell what’s going to happen in the future. However, we can read our Bibles and pray and learn what God’s voice sounds like – learn what kind of words He speaks and how He speaks them. Then we can pick the right opportunity every time.

For those who might need to make a decision right this very second and feel like you don’t have time to get to learn God’s voice better, suck it up. You do have time. Honestly, nothing else should be taking up your time – especially nothing concerning that opportunity that is weighing so heavily on you. Whether it be a major decision concerning school, work, church, or life in general – there is no difference. One must be wary of opportunities and chances not of God. And how do we protect ourselves? Everybody say it with me: reading our Bibles and praying!

I for instance, had (technically, still have) a big decision to make at work. I knew it was coming up and I prayed and fasted about it the week leading up to the day. The day came and I still have no real direction. Every single aspect had gone smoothly and everything has fallen into place just like a dream. I figured, this MUST mean this is what God wants for me! Look how well it’s all going to turn out! However, I know I can’t just look at the glossiness of the situation and make my decision. I have to hear God’s voice and take all the factors into account. I still haven’t made a permanent decision on the matter and will continue to not do so until I am clear on what God wants me to do. Not what I, my mom, my friends, or even my bosses have to say on the matter. I have to let God be my boss, as should you in your everyday life. Don’t bury yourself in the calculations, just let God figure it out for you.

5 Ways To Know the Semester is in Full-Swing

It’s been over a month since classes have officially begun.  I, for one, believe that I have not yet fully accepted the beginning of the semester. I have most of my books and have been going to my classes and seeing my friends, but still I am in denial. This is especially true for Nyack students who attend the Manhattan campus because we are not only in school, but we have full lives outside of our classes. So if you’re a Nyack student and haven’t fully grasped the beginning of the school year yet either, here are a few things to look out for that might signal your brain that you’re back in the swing of things.

1. Prayer is everpresent

Hopefully, prayer is already a major fixture in your life. In the best scenario, you are able to maintain a healthy prayer life for yourself while also surrounding yourself with prayer and pray-ers (people who pray), and all the prayer that you will happen upon on the NYC campus will just be adding on to that. But in other cases, seeing students grasping hands and praying during breaks might be a revelation. It might be a strange sight, and you might not be used to it – but you should get used to it. You’re going to be seeing it a lot. You’ll even be seeing the professors pray before or after each class. I didn’t even realize that I missed seeing (and doing) that, but now that I have, I can say that that is a definite sign that the semester at Nyack has officially started.
2. Your bag is heavier

If you couldn’t care less about getting a new bag specifically for school purposes, you probably use your regular bag for your textbooks, folders, syllabi, homework and etc. and I’m sure you will notice the difference in weight in your bag once the semester starts. Even if you opt to start your new semester with a new bag to match – it will still be heavy.
3. School emails

Your email is now suddenly full from emails from your new friends: the dean of students, student financial services, student career services, and the like.
4. Hectic schedule
“Nyack students are some of the busiest people I know. You’re in 25 different ministries and getting a Master’s while holding down 2 jobs.” My professor said this the other night (to rapturous head-nodding from us students) and he was totally right. Nyack NYC students don’t live on campus. Most of us have jobs, a lot of them full-time, and a lot of people have regular bills to pay. We’re involved in every ministry that touches us and have become skilled in balancing them with school and work.
5. All your selfies have Nyack backgrounds

Most selfies taken are on campus, since that is now where you spend a lot of your time. If you are on the Manhattan campus – orange, red, blue, and green walls are all too common in the background of your selfies. It doesn’t matter what floor you’re on – the location of the selfie will be easily noticed.

First Day of School – 2016 Edition

9/8/16 Today was my first official day of classes on Nyack College’s Manhattan campus for the 2016-2017 school year. My first two classes were Communications classes so I was extremely excited. It’s not that I don’t love all my other classes; it’s just that I love those classes more.

A new semester is a new beginning for everyone. GPA’s aren’t completely in the toilet, mental states are intact, and you still have some time to binge watch your favorite television shows before the homework piles on.. and on… and on…. You’re optimistic about the semester and have great hopes that this will be your best semester yet! One of my friends was all smiles and butterflies on the first day of school. She had a little trouble keeping up with assignments the last two semesters, and was determined that this one would be different. She was, she still is, so excited for this semester that it was hard not to be excited with her! Joy is contagious!

“Look, they even have Biblical Application for Business Management!”

That was my friend yesterday when she was showing me her syllabi for her business courses. She’s a business major and loves God, so a nice combination of the two is enough  to make her excited for days. As she said that, I thought, ‘This is why so many people love Nyack. This is why so many people come to Nyack – because we get to learn about the field we are interested in while learning how that field can also be used for the glory of God. That’s rare to find in a school. I pray that every single new student this semester gets to experience that feeling. That rush of knowing that this is where God wants you to be and knowing that you are learning how to advance His kingdom while using the earthly skills He’s given you.

While I know that starting a new semester can be a headache, especially if this is not your first one, try to find the good in it. Try to find the happiness. Try to find the joy. I promise you, it’s there to be found. The Nyack staff and faculty are welcoming the new students with open arms and a big hug this 2016 Fall semester, and I pray you feel that nice warm hug and it brightens your new beginning.

Have a great semester, Nyackers!

Be a Light!

Shine bright, shine far! Be a star! Where you live, where you are… be a star! Shine bright, shine far! Be a star! Where you live, where you are, be a staaaar!

That song is sung by Tyra Banks in the movie Lifesize, but it is still inspirational and applicable to this blog.

Being a light in a dark world is a recurring theme in the Bible (Matthew 5:13-16, Romans 13:11-14, Ephesians 5:8, John 9:5, Acts 13:47, should I go on?), as well as a theme at Nyack College. Nyack prides itself on preparing its students on how to not only live and survive in this world, but how to thrive and be a light. Contrary to belief, you can still be a light in this world with a non-theology related degree because everyone is called for a different purpose. Receiving your Psychology, English, Communications, Social Work, Business, or Nursing degree under the helpful tutelage of professors who strive to put God’s agenda ahead of their own and aim for students to do the same teaches students how to be a light while working in otherwise “worldly” fields.

Throughout this summer, I watched both my friends and myself be lights in dark places. One of my friends spent her summer working at a children’s camp upstate. She said she was growing immensely spiritually and loved contributing to the kid’s lives in a positive way. Another one of my friends also worked at a camp, but in Guatemala. While I didn’t get the chance to leave the city much this summer, I was challenged to be a light as well.

A couple months ago, I was invited to the beach by a couple of my coworkers. (Honestly, I only said I would go because they were my friends at work. I love the beach, but I don’t like sand a lot. It gets everywhere.) We had a great time and talked and laughed, but when the conversation turned to how to where to buy alcohol and find some marijuana, I had to quickly find my footing in the situation. I had to put my foot down and keep it glued down. I had to stand up for what I personally did not feel comfortable doing and be the light in that moment. I thought, ‘What if I’m the only example of a Christian that they have or will encounter? Are they going to say that Christians act just like everyone else? What’s the point in being one?’ No. I want them to be able to say that they knew something was different by the way I acted, the way I spoke, and the peaceful presence surrounding me. This is how we are impactful as lights in this world – by our actions. I’m grateful that the past year at Nyack has helped me get a grip on my status as a light for Him and that the upcoming year will do the same, not just for me, but for you, too.

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