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.

How to Find God’s Peace Part 2

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So we need to have an inner calm and a supernatural peace in the middle of this craziness we call the end of the semester, but how do we do it? It’s not even physically possible when I have a test in every class, two PowerPoint projects to present, and 3 papers all over 5 pages all due this week *insert sweaty nervous laughing emoji.*

Well never fear, the Holy Spirit is here!

He is the only, and I repeat the only One who is going to keep you sane. Coffee is wonderful. In fact, it’s a gift from above, but it will only keep you awake. You’ll still be manic when 5am rolls around and you have to be up in 2 hours. Friends who encourage you and push you to finish all your work are amazing as well. (They are also gifts from God.) But once the study group ends and everyone goes home, your friends will be continuing their work, but can you concentrate without someone keeping you focused and pushing you? There are nice little tricks we can do to make it out of this semester alive, but how sane will we be? How mentally and physically tired will we be – answer: very. So if you could study for your tests, finish your projects and be proud of them, and have each paper written and proofread by their due dates, wouldn’t that be amazing? To actually be on top of both your workload and your life? Well, Deuteronomy 28:13 says that we are the head and not the tail. Last time I checked, the head was on top.

God doesn’t want us floundering for our lives. He sent us a Helper for a very specific reason – to help us – and not just help us spiritually, but in every aspect of our lives. He is here to help us prosper. If doing well in school can be used as a testament to God, then He’ll help us in school, too. The cool part is that all we need to do is ask. It also helps to stay in the Word because that makes us more susceptible to the Holy Spirit when He’s trying to help us. When we think to start studying earlier than we planned to or when we think to change the topic of that paper we’ve been struggling over – it’s the Holy Spirit guiding us. However, we most likely won’t know the Holy Spirit just spoke to us until we realize that we had more to study than we initially thought and it’s a good thing we started early. Or until we realize that the new topic we picked for our paper is way easier to write about than our last topic was.

Also, when we ask for it, the Holy Spirit will give us a peace that simply cannot be fathomed. Your friends might wonder why you’re not freaking out about your presentation tomorrow or they may not understand how you wrote a seven page paper in one night (and it’s actually a good paper!), but that’s okay because you don’t understand either. But I can promise you that if you set aside your work for just a moment and ask the Holy Spirit for help that He will help you. Let’s all make it through this semester with our heads intact, shall we?

How to Find God’s Peace Part 1

It’s not monsoon season in New York. We have no tornadoes, and there are no storm watches. And even though the cold weather and the warm weather can’t seem to come to a mutual decision about who should be in the forefront this April, we can’t complain too much about our weather situation.

But say we did have crazy weather. Say a storm warning was in play. Then they said on the news that a tornado was heading our way. Then that storm warning turned into a storm watch. Then the waves started getting big and crashing up on the shore, and people were saying a hurricane was coming. (This isn’t supposed to be realistic, so just bare with me.) People would be going pretty crazy if all that stuff was going on. In fact, they would probably be losing their minds. There would be no peace. Now imagine if you had peace in spite of all that was going on. In spite of the warnings on the television. In spite of your friends going crazy. In spite of all the danger your physical eyes can see, you have an inner peace. As unfathomable as this might seem, this is the peace we need to operate under.

School is winding down and the workloads are picking up. It’s crunch time, and sometimes during crunch time everything else decides to fall apart. Your family starts having drama, two of your best friends decide to stop talking to each other, your professors think it’s cool to give you an 8 page paper, and your job decides to keep you late every night. That point where it feels like all your responsibilities have piled up on top of each other and settled themselves on your shoulders is enough to drive you insane. In order to deal with the inevitable stress, you can see how an otherworldly kind of peace is needed, right?

imageIn my College Writing 2 class yesterday, we did a warm up exercise to begin the class. The professor had us write down a word that explained either how we were feeling at that moment, how we felt about the semester, or how we felt about our life in general. Then we had to create an acrostic using that word, and the words in the acrostic had to describe our feelings in further detail. A couple people in my class had more uplifting words like hope and happiness, but others had words like stress, overwhelmed, and distracted. Then they proceeded to explain how even though so much was going on in their lives and at times they felt overwhelmed, they were grateful to God for the opportunity to go to school and to do the things they do.

I’m sure a lot of people feel this way. Despite the craziness of their schedules, they’re happy to be where God wants them to be and doing what God wants them to do. But in order to keep being the lights we’re supposed to be in this world, we can’t let the world and all our responsibilities distract us. We need to navigate through the mess we encounter on a daily basis and succumb to God’s peace. If we let it rule our lives, the craziness becomes a lot easier to handle.

What’s Your Miracle Story?

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“It’s a miracle I’m even here.”
“I thank God for the opportunity to go to this school.”
“You have no idea how grateful I am to be here.”

I can’t count how many times I’ve heard that this year. There are kids who have always wanted to go to college, but thought it was impossible. And there are kids who never wanted to go to college, but they’re here now because they realize that it’s part of God’s plan for them. (And since it’s part of God’s plan, He will give them the grace for it.) But one thing that’s certain is that this school is full of students’ miraculous stories and their journeys to Nyack.

Of course there are amazing getting-into-college stories all the time; Nyack isn’t the only one. But I do know that going to a Christian college is a big deal for a lot of people. I have a friend who doesn’t have her parent’s full support of going to a Christian school. They feel like their child could get an equal education somewhere else. But that’s reality. Not everything is going to fall perfectly into place like the ultimate Tetris game. There will be opposition and there will be setbacks, but what’s important to remember is that God comes through every time. You could probably stop any number of people in the halls of this school and ask them how God has come through for them in their life and hear the most amazing stories.

It’s easier to handle the workload and the sleepless nights that school gives you when you know that a divine miracle is the only reason you get to experience those sleepless nights. My entire move to New York was a miracle and that includes my enrollment at Nyack. I didn’t even take it seriously at first. I took a tour of the school because my friend did and said she liked it. I applied because I liked the vibe of the school. Then I went to an Open House with the same friend (who has her own miracle story), and then I got accepted. But of course, there was a plethora of other things that tried to come between me and the first day of classes – but God is faithful. And because He comes through for me every single time, I was ready to go in September. I can honestly say that God has provided for me, comforted me, and been there for me every step of this journey, and I’m sure there are other students who would say the same.

I saw two guys taking a tour of the school today, and then later as I was leaving I saw them in the admissions office filling out their applications. (They sat in the exact same place I sat when I filled out my application.) Those two guys probably have stories of their own. God will probably show Himself strong to them throughout their enrollment process and continue to do so throughout their Nyack journey. Just like He will continue to do for all of us.

5 Ways to Survive the Last Month Before Summer

Midterms are over, but finals are not yet here. It’s that weird, tiring part of the semester that makes you want to both scream and eat a whole pizza by yourself at 2am while watching a marathon of your favorite show. In other words, it’s the last month before Summer break. Since Summer is so close yet so far, our brains tend to want to shut down on us and our bodies are making it extra hard to drag ourselves out of bed in the morning, but never fear! This last month can be conquered and here are a few ways you can do it.

1. Plan, Plan, Plan

I know this sounds heinous because your brain doesn’t feel like planning anything right now, and it seems like planning is for the beginning of the semester when you’re fresh and ready to tackle anything, but planning will help keep your brain in check. There will be a lot less stress and a lot less last minute panic sessions if you look ahead in all your classes and make yourself aware of upcoming end of the semester projects. You don’t have to necessarily start working on the assignments, but just knowing that they’re coming up will help you prepare mentally.

2. Ask for Help

Ask anyone. Ask your professor, ask a parent, ask a sibling, ask a friend, ask a classmate. Don’t overwhelm yourself by thinking you can do it all on your own. There’s nothing wrong with asking for help because when you get the help you need, that’s one less problem to think about

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3. Study Like There’s No Tomorrow

This one sounds horrible too, especially since you’ve been studying all semester, but it is so important. This is not the time you want to slack on your work – in fact, this is the perfect time to pull up your bootstraps and make things happen. And if some time goes by and you’re still immensely overwhelmed…. it is withdrawal period as well.

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4. Do What You Have to Do

If you need snacks to study, get snacks. If you need to skip your favorite television shows to gain a couple more hours in the day, skip them. If you need a cup of coffee to stay up to study, drink it. If you need a change of scenery to help you pay attention better, leave the house and go to a friend’s house, school, or the library. There’s nothing wrong with setting boundaries for yourself because when the semester is over and you’ve accomplished your goals, you will feel so good.

5. Laugh

Enjoy genuine laughter at least once a day, it really helps. It reduces stress and loosens you up. It’s easier for your mind to think quickly and clearly when your body is not tight and controlled. According to Mayo Clinic, laughter enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, [and] stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles. So laugh at something or even make yourself laugh – it will help you last until the Summer.

Easter Love

The emergence of pastel colors, colored chocolate eggs, rabbits, and Sunday church outfits mean that it’s time for Easter! Of course, we know these things aren’t what Easter is about, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy them. The trick is to enjoy the benefits of these kinds of holidays without letting the benefits get in the way of the real reason for the season. Let’s take Christmas as an example, the spirit of giving is an amazing thing to enjoy during Christmas, as long as you don’t make it all about the presents you received (and make sure to thank God for those presents, too.) So eat your Peeps! Go on that Easter egg hunt! Buy that new Easter outfit! He is risen! Let’s celebrate!

Easter is one of those holidays where the true meaning is pretty much understood. Easter is one of the 2 – maybe 3 if you count Mother’s Day – times of the year that churches are a little fuller than usual (Christmas is the 3rd day). Those who grew up in church and strayed away, along with those who never steadily went to church in their life, tend to gravitate towards a church on Easter; sometimes they’re invited by a friend, and sometimes they journey in on their own accord. Either way, churches know this time of year is big, so they go all out. The resurrection story is a staple in the service, and the love of Jesus is on full display. In fact, it’s a wonderful time to inform people about Jesus’ love and how it’s perfectly accessible to all.

In my opinion, the love of God is a big focal point of the Easter weekend; I say the whole weekend because Good Friday is a big part of it as well. Yes, He resurrected on the third day, but on the first day, He went through a world of pain and suffering, just for us. In America, Good Friday isn’t as widely celebrated as Easter Sunday is – and we certainly don’t dress up for it, maybe because it’s a heavy thing to think about. But be that as it may, it’s an important day to celebrate because it truly depicts Jesus’ love for us. It’s a sobering and humbling day.

However, Easter is the day we turn up.

What do you mean the tomb is empty? They just put Him in there like a couple days ago. They had guards and everything. An angel visited Mary? Seriously? Wait, Peter actually SAW the tomb… and Jesus seriously wasn’t in there? Wait, so where is He? Who took Him? Or is He alive? Omg, He’s alive!

He is risen! He conquered death like no one else can. He died and was resurrected from the dead because He is the Son of God, and He loves us. He loves you. Bask in God’s love for you this Good Friday, and have a happy Easter Sunday!

Nyack College NYC: Calm in the Midst of the Crazy

I moved to New York from Fort Wortimageh, Texas in October 2014. Needless to say this was a complete 180. People walked faster, car horns were louder, buildings were taller, no one smiled, there were no cows in sight, and the only horses around were pulling tourists or being ridden by cops in Times Square. These are two completely different lifestyles in two completely different cities – someone can either love the change or hate it. Thank God I love it. However, I realize that a lot of people that were raised here are tired of the pace. They look forward to when they can move out of the city and find a farm or a town with a lot of grass and cows and live there. But mostly, they look forward to the peace.

One of my friends loves going to the Manhattan campus almost everyday because she says it’s so peaceful, and I agree with her. The halls have a warm atmosphere and the views are calming. It’s not a bad place to do hours (and hours and hours) of homework orto be confined to a classroom for three hours learning. (It’s easier to be confined when you can turn your head a couple degrees and get lost staring at the Statue of Liberty, right?) But the weird thing about this calmness is that the school isn’t exactly in the most peaceful location. It’s by Wall Street. The Wall Street where immense craziness occurs daily. It’s 20 minutes away from Times Square, where it’s bright and loud and also crazy. It’s in New York City, a crazy place in general. So why so much peace? Where does this peace come from? How does it stay here all the time?

Well, this peace passes all human understanding. It’s not something that we can completely fathom, but it blankets this college campus because the Holy Spirit is here. The location doesn’t matter, and the surroundings don’t matter. I think that’s pretty cool. His peace is not only within us, but within our school. We get to be surrounded by His peace when we’re studying, when we’re speed walking down the hall so as to not be late for class, or when we’re strolling in late for class because we were outside laughing with our friends and eating bagels. His peace constantly surrounds us, fills these halls, and creates a nice calm in the midst of the crazy, and I’m thankful for that.

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Loving How God Can Use Me as a Student In New York City

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Hi! My name is Jamilah and I’m currently a Freshman at the Manhattan campus of Nyack College. I read a lot, like bike riding (even though I haven’t ridden a bike in forever), and I used to run track (the 100m and 200m). I love Pilates and I’m working towards becoming a certified fitness instructor. I also adore writing so this blog is going to be fun.

I’m a Communications major and I love it because it’s showing me all the different platforms God can use me in. There are so many mediums we can utilize to be lights in this world, and I believe Nyack is preparing us for that. I am so happy that I love what I’m learning and where I’m learning it.

Lower Manhattan is full of history and legacy. The Fraunces Tavern where George Washington negotiated peace treaties with the British during the American Revolution is a 20 minute walk away from the school. The New York Stock Exchange (only about a 15 minute walk away) is the world’s leading financial market and influences the economy of not only our country but others’ as well. This is why the Battery Park City/ Wall Street Prayer and Fellowship on the New York City campus is so important.

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One World Trade Center is on the right.

The Statue of Liberty has welcomed thousands of people throughout the years. Our founder A.B. Simpson would preach beside this same Lady Liberty when welcoming immigrants to New York. This landmark can be viewed through multiple classrooms in the building. One World Trade Center can also be seen when leaving the school because it’s located right behind our building – about 10 minutes away. With so much history and influence in one concentrated area, it’s no wonder God gave Nyack that location. Nyack is training us to go out and minister in our respective fields, and they’re doing it within proximity of some of America’s most prestigious annals. I’m sure that the volume of prayer that goes forth from this campus has an immense effect on the people who live, work, and go to school in this area everyday. God has strategically placed Nyack NYC in this location for such a time as this.

I know writing for this blog is just the beginning of a whole new thing God’s doing in my life, and I couldn’t be more grateful. I’m ready for God to use me as a vessel on this blog, and I’m ready to represent Nyack in the best way I know how.

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Music in Ministry with Kristie Vaval

Kristie School of Music

In light of the recent Washington Post article highlighting the unique opportunity to earn a bachelor’s degree in gospel music at Nyack College, I decided to interview my friend Kristie Vaval who is majoring in Music and Worship here on the NYC campus. Kristie is one of the most talented and humble people I know. She moved to New York from Haiti with her family, and they are here serving as missionaries.

How did you hear about the Music in Worship program?

Kristie: I heard it from my father – he heard it from a friend. I was in Haiti during that period, and he called me and said that there’s a school that’s offering music and worship. And that is exactly what I wanted. I had never heard of something like that at any other school. I was like, “Really? Does something like that even exist?” And I thought, ‘Alright, even though I don’t know how it’s going to be possible for me to go to that school, everything is in God’s hands because He will provide.’ And that was kind of like my motto before coming to this school – God will provide.

2. What do you like the most about your major?

Kristie: I like the fact that I can learn how to touch people’s lives through the way I do anything, especially singing. Sometimes people are singing but they’re showing off their skills or their talent, but it really is teaching me how to connect with people because that’s what’s the most important. Having a really great talent is good, having numerous skills is good, but singing or playing an instrument to connect with people is something else. Being able to move someone through your singing or playing is really something that I’m learning here. Especially in the studio classes that we have. [In the classes] we’re being called out to play something and the professors are telling us to really put ourselves in it – to put our emotions, so the public that is watching us can be moved through us. And that is something that I am really liking here. Also, the Holy Spirit that you find in the students and the professors – the Spirit is moving through them in numerous ways. I feel like I could speak all day about that. [Laughs].

3. What do you want to do with your degree?

Kristie: Honestly, when I first heard about it I was just excited, but I really didn’t know what I was gong to do with it. But coming here, they’ve been asking me that question and I really had to think about and ask, “God, what should I do? So I’m learning music and worship… so I’m a worship leader? Am I going to survive with this?” But because of the course of my life and where God has [taken] me, I feel like He’s leading me to a place where I’ll be serving people – maybe through my music, my songs, or my playing… but I believe that no matter what we do, God will take what we’ve learned [and allow us] to take it to a place where we can give to others what we’ve taken from here. I hope that God will help me give back what I’ve learned. If it’s not here, maybe it will be in my country in Haiti. Or I will build a school of music, or teach about music in worship either there or in other countries because I’m a missionary. I just pray that God will help me give back to others.

4. What has this program done to affect your relationship with God?

Kristie: [Smiles] It’s amazing how you asked me that question because I just came from a class where a student was telling us how coming here has helped him get closer to God. He has been in many different colleges and he said that nowhere else is like Nyack. I can tell you Jamilah, coming here was a good experience because when I graduated high school I went to a college, but the environment [here] is so different. When I came here, especially coming into this major, it really helped me to always be aware of my connection with God. When you’re leading worship, if you’re not connected with God, how will you be able to set the atmosphere in the place you’re at?

5. Would you encourage others to enroll in this program?

Kristie: Yes, because if they come, they won’t regret it. And if they come here they will not leave here the same person. And I don’t think there’s anyone who can come to this school and not be moved by God in a certain way. They will feel that there’s something about this place that’s not common [in] other places – [in] other schools.

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