Christmas Hope Starts in November

Color fades from the leaves. High School students are beginning to eye the piles of leaves in their neighbors’ yards, and translate them into quick cash. Fall holidays are over, and the world waits as the days of pumpkins and apple cider fade into icy temperatures and sweaters. It’s November. Right now, I’m listening to Christmas music. I know, I know…all you haters out there…

There tend to be two types of people.

There are the people who passionately love Christmas music. You can catch this kind of person slipping Bing Crosby records into Harvest Party playlists. This kind of person can bring ebullient joy, but can also disgust everyone around them with this excess of holiday cheer.

The second type of person loathes Christmas music, is upset that radio stations begin mentioning the topic after Thanksgiving, and this person goes into hiding two weeks before Christmas when that’s all that’s being played on the airwaves.

Admittedly, I’m the first type of person. I passionately love Christmas music. Actually, I passionately love Christmas in general. If you don’t, that’s alright, but let me explain why I’m preparing for Christmas in November.

Christ found me in a frozen December. That’s quite a story, but nevertheless December is when I became a Christian. The entire season of Christmas means a great deal to me because of this, and as a result I associate Christmas with hope, with a Savior.

The older I get, the more grateful I am to be given a season in which hope is celebrated. The world can be a dreadful, dark, and despairing place. Our world can be so cold and so cruel. Sometimes I find my soul growing cold with the weather. I get more impatient with people. My thoughts become more cynical and self-protective. It’s ugly. The hope of redemption, of Christ coming as child and as our Redeemer, draws me out of that. That’s why a few years ago I started a ritual of reading The Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens every Christmas. I know, I know. All you English majors out there are going to roll your eyes and say, “Oh, that’s just a morality tale written for Post-Industrial England”. I don’t particular care. I read Dicken’s novel every year, because Scrooge’s redemptive experience reminds me that redemption is a possibility despite our wretched darkness. It reminds me that Hope is living, and we were not born for despair.

The idea that redemption and hope exist is the reason I find myself turning on Christmas music in November, and the reason I have Christmas rituals. This time is the advent of Hope. Friends, no matter what your feelings are about Christmas, consider what living in expectation of Christ’s birth can do in your own life? Living in expectation of Christ’s birth can make us more hopeful human beings, more grateful that Christ would redeem us, and more apt to spread our gratitude among our brothers and sisters.

Brothers and Sisters,

Despair not.

For years ago, Hope was born among us.

We can be redeemed.

Merry Christmas

What Are We Saying? Creating Substance in Communication

Ink stained fingers, feeling paper between your thumb and index finger, the sound a pencil makes as it etches words across a page, these are all experiences associated with the practice of writing a letter.

I’ve been thinking a great deal lately–”laughing” a dangerous pastime, I know.

I’ve been thinking about the millstone-carrying weight of our words, and how modern formats seem to shape their substance, or lack of substance. Let me explain:

You shoot a text message.

You type. You press send. Immediately.

How much thought goes into those words?

I’m not speaking about avoiding spelling and grammatical mistakes–I’m speaking about understanding the ideas we craft with words and the strength they carry.

“Press send now” is our culture. Don’t get me wrong, I text and have a thriving Instagram account, but a couple weeks ago I was presenting a lesson to my class where they had to write a letter of their own. We read an article that discussed the idea of how modern culture can rob our words of weight, of thought. The article listed reasons why people in 2016 should still practice the art of letter writing. One of those reasons was that writing letters slows us. It causes us to value words, to tally up the cost to ourselves and the other person before we seal those words into an envelope, and ferry them away with a stamp.

Talking with eighth graders about this idea of ways to create more quality communication was an absolute privilege, as is blogging about this idea.


I challenge you.

I implore you. Write a letter. Slow yourself. Write a letter to someone you deeply care for and give them your time. Evaluate the weight of your words. We write and speak so much fluff, meaningless drivel. My theory for why this happens is two-pronged. First of all, we’re terrified to reveal anything of substance about ourselves, as we’re haunted by a fear of rejection. Secondly, substance takes time and thought–investment. Substance takes time to craft which few of us seem to have. Fluff is easier.

What is the burden of our words?

This is a challenge for men and women as well. Sometimes there’s this weird idea that letter writing is for women who write on fluffy, pink, perfumed stationery? I hate fluffy, pink, perfumed stationery. I’m not sure when that idea became popular? (It wasn’t always a popular idea. Check out Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln’s manly letters.)

Also, I’m not writing that we ought to destroy our phones and computers. This is our age and we burn with its pros and its cons. Technology is ours and is a wonderful tool. However, it is the cry of my soul that our words would carry substance, depth–meaning. Creating substance in modern formats of texting and social media is more difficult but not impossible. That’s one of the reasons why I advocate so strongly for taking a trip back to the dark ages and writing a letter, it means for a moment we are able to slow ourselves, and grapple with what our words mean for us and for others. Then we just might be able to look back on our text messages, tweets, and Instaposts, and wonder what we’ve been saying all along.

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.

8th Grade Books For Old Souls

Powerful, poignant, moving us with the heart of their stories, those were many of the books I read in middle school and high school. Many of the books we read during that season of life shaped who I became later. Books have the power to do that, you know. As I’m student teaching this semester, I’m revisiting many of those books. They’re books mostly taught in middle school and high school, but they seem to speak to something deeper in all of us. They’re books you ran across in eighth, ninth, and tenth grade, but they’re really for old souls. You can enjoy some of these titles whether you’re an eighth grader, college sophomore, or a ninety year old sitting in a rocking chair on your front porch.

What I wanted to do with this post, was to create a book list of “8th Grade Books For Old Souls”. You are certainly busy right now as a college student, and your eyes might be weary from wrestling with the likes of Decartes in Philosophy Class, understanding the Magna Carta in World Civ., or balancing equations in Chemistry 101. Sometimes though, fiction can be a break from that kind of intensive reading. There’s nothing like curling up with a cup of tea in your dorm room on a rainy Sunday afternoon, and pulling out a book that has heart. Here are some of those books:

  1. A Long Way From Chicago: Richard Peck–This is a fantastic laugh that chronicles the adventures of Joey and Mary Alice, two siblings from Chicago who annually get sent to their crazy grandmother’s house in small-town America. It’s a coming of age story filled with the zany, the bizarre, and the force of nature–their grandmother.
  1. Out of the Dust: Karen Hesse–Written in poetic format, this book is about a girl named Billie Jo who is growing up in Oklahoma during the Dust Bowl. The emotion of this book is intense as Billie Jo wrestles with deep family tragedy, poverty, and becoming a woman during all this.
  1. The Outsiders: S.E. Hinton–You might have read this in ninth grade. Read it again. You’ll get so much more from it this time. This is the story of a kid named Ponyboy and the rival gangs of the Socs and Greasers. Themes of belonging, figuring out who you are, and family are beautifully woven throughout this novel. “Stay gold, Ponyboy”.
  1. The House on Mango Street: Sandra Cisneros–You probably could read this book in an hour. It’s written in chapter/essay format and follows the life of Esperanza Cordero, a girl struggling to find her place as she grows up in the heart of an immigrant community in Chicago. Her story illustrates challenges facing urban communities, but Esperanza Cordero’s determined spirit seems to give courage to us all.
  1. Boy and Going Solo: Roald Dahl–Technically, these books are both autobiographies. Both books are entertaining and fantastic, filled with Dahl’s stories of growing up in England and eventually fighting as a pilot in World War II. If you read both books, you’ll find at the end that Dahl’s experiences have shaped him into a man.

Meet Professor Kirsten Luba of the School of Education


This week there’s someone I’d like you to meet. I’ve known her during my entire college experience in the School of Education, and she has been an example of service that is faithful and does not need to announce itself. I’ve learned an incredible amount from watching this woman quietly work. Meet Professor Kristen Luba:

  1. What Was Your Major in College?


Well, originally I thought I was going to be a missionary. My mom encouraged me to get my undergrad in something other than missions, so I chose teaching and thought I might be able to teach on the missions field.


  1. What Did Your Life After Graduating Nyack Look Like?

I didn’t end up getting the job I expected due to circumstances out of my control. It was one of those, “God, what are you doing right now?” moments. Then I came back to Nyack and worked for the School of Education as the Administrative Assistant, worked on a Masters in Intercultural Studies at the Seminary, and ended up meeting my husband.


  1. What’s Your Favorite Part about Working at Nyack College?

The people. I love the Education Department.


  1. If You Could Design and Teach Any Course What Would It Be?

I’d love to design a course about constructing curriculum for faith-based organizations. For instance, the course would teach students how to build curriculum for Vacation Bible Schools.


  1. What’s One Piece of Advice You’d Like to Give to Students?

Don’t be afraid to take school seriously.


  1. Do You Have a Favorite Verse or Quote?

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV). Professor Luba’s take on this is, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, even though His plans may look like woven weirdness”.


  1. Is There Any Advice You’d Like to Give Education Majors?

Yes, teaching is one of the most amazing and impacting professions there is throughout the good, the bad, and the ugly–it is worth the effort and the investments.

Also, you’re not dealing with products and computer screens. You’re dealing with the persons of the future, and you have an opportunity to mold students.


              Things You Didn’t Know about Professor Luba:

  1. When she was a senior and student teaching, she received the Apple Award from the School of Education. The Apple Award is given out to one student teacher each year who demonstrates excellent skills and service in student teaching.
  2. She’s worked at Nyack for sixteen years.
  3. During her sophomore year at Nyack she played on the volleyball team. She was taking volleyball for her Physical Education credit. The coach came up to her later and asked her to join the team.

Deep Relationships and Tea

Steam draws itself from the water kettle. I’ve always thought tea kettles were akin to works of art. Perhaps it’s the way the steam circles into the air, or the time it takes to breathe, to rest before the kettle begins singing and your water is ready. We gather together. My friend sets out the tea in the rows of Apple, Ginger, Blueberry, the truest of Chai, and faithful black tea. Before college I thought tea tasted like boiled water with a hint of dried up leaves. “Laughing”, thankfully college and a fantastic roommate changed my prejudice towards tea. Sometimes coffee and the occasional cup of hot chocolate are on the menu, but usually the conversation is steeped in the courage of tea bags. Conversation and the gathering of courage, that is why we are gathering here among friends to sip tea.

I’m advocating here for that–to set aside a time in your week to gather with friends and drink tea. Let me explain…

We live in a culture where constant movement is valued. We pack our schedules and ourselves full, and we pencil people into moments between our productivity. We need to slow ourselves down and gather with others in an agendaless setting. Sometimes I wonder if we shy away from these settings because we’re terrified of sharing ourselves, and we’re tired of silence with friends that the frailty of words cannot fill. We do spend time with people, though. In fact we waste lots of time with people. I’m speaking about the times we’re on our phone while hanging out with friends, or the many times we end up only talking about celebrity gossip, complaining, or discussing general superficiality. Those are the times we waste ourselves with people.

Another reason we avoid some of these settings, is that there’s also something terrifying about spending real, true time with someone, sipping tea together, and having to look them in the eye. Other cultures do this all the time. They have a daily coffee or tea hour. Economic and educational opportunities abound in our culture, but perhaps we sacrifice the deepening of vital relationships for personal productivity.

I’m writing to myself in this post as much as anyone else. I realized this was a problem in my life, and as my friends and I edge towards graduation, schedules fill up. We realized that if we wanted our friendships to matter, if we wanted the space we occupied in each other’s lives to be something more, then we needed to set a time each week to gather. The time each week that we have been gathering together and share what’s going on in our lives, to listen to each other, to bear one another’s burdens, these times have strengthened and encouraged us for the rest of the week.


I leave you with challenge of considering how to deepen your friendships? Set aside specific time for people and seek ways to have real conversations that go deeper than the chicken patties in the cafeteria and your favorite contestant on The Voice. If you need ideas for deeper conversation topics, feel free to email me at I’d love to chat.

As Always, Dwell in The Mercy,



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.

The Change of Fall and Us

Fall flutters all around us, the glamour of leaves fading into dusky yellows, rich oranges, and heavy scarlets. We open our eyes in wonder as Fall descends in a twilight of Harvest parties, drying corn stalks, and warm spiced lattes. I remember as a child losing my way in a corn maze, and along with that negative memory also despising Fall and its fury of harvest allergies. As an adult I have reformed my ways. Now, Fall evokes thoughts of growing cold but also warmth growing in gatherings of people I hold dear.

What does Fall mean to you?

Fall represents something else to me too.

Fall represents change. Fall is summer blurring itself into Winter. Sometimes we wake up to a couple green leaves fading into yellow outside our dorms. In those instances change is gradual. Sometimes we wake up to a world exploding in unforeseen colors of leaves and the forest behind our dorms blazes in rustic orange. The world changes in the speed it takes a freshman to run to the cafe for free, downtown pizza.

My point is that change can either come in gradual grace or it can overtake us in the snap of a moment.

My other point is that we, ourselves, our humanity, are all shifting and changing–all of us are in the process of change. This is a lesson I’ve been carrying around in my pocket through the ebb and flow of days. My thoughts have been moving over this idea a great deal lately, perhaps it’s because I’m student teaching right now and that experience is a constant process of change, as I’m trying to figure out how to better myself as a teacher and professional. The desire for change is there, but the heaviness in the lesson comes with a realization that change is a process, and often the timing of that change is out of our control. Do you ever fall asleep in your dorm wondering, “When, Lord, when? When will I be better at this or that? When will I have an easier time passing Science class or English class? When will I be able to fully live my calling? When will I be able to share You without fear? When will I change enough for You to use me?”

Dear, dear friends. We desire change, but we often want to control the timing and lobby for instant results. Dear friends, real lasting change in our persons, in the guts of our souls, only comes after a process. The timing of that process is up to Christ. Don’t misunderstand me, please. We need to put in the time and effort if we want to see personal growth in our lives. However, we need to allow time for the process, learning in all circumstances, allowing the Word to enter within and transform. We surrender to that idea; somewhere along the journey the brilliance happens. You find your character having been strengthened by what the Lord hath wrought. You find yourself passing Science or English class, because you put the time in to study and get tutored. You find yourself sharing your faith after you almost lost yours and understand the ache of living without it. You find yourself living your calling after nights filled with worry and void of sleep when you cried out to God, but also you learned how to trust God during those nights. Through process does the Holy Spirit breathe over us, working to strengthen our frailties. Friends, the craziness is that God is still using us during those processes. Do we doubt the ability of the God of the universe to use what is frail, human, and being renewed?

Friends, be not afraid of the process, for it is in the process that the workings of the Holy are revealed.

4 Things Student Teaching Really Teaches You


I must apologize (but not really). I was pouring over titles of my recent blogs, and I had to smile a little. Most of them have been completely and totally about my experience with student teaching. Writers often write from what they know–do not we all know this to be true? The next couple months of blogs will most likely be a chronicle of this wild and new experience of student teaching. Stay tuned for the ride.

Right now, we’re on week two and my cooperating teacher has been easing me into teaching, asking me to teach parts of periods. He inspires me everyday I wander into his class with how he manages to offer kindness to the kids and high expectations in the same hand.  On Friday he asked if I’d like to teach an entire period the following week. Monday morning found me standing in front of a bunch of eighth graders armed with an artsy Powerpoint and Common Core strategies–the brave and wildness of a Monday.

It’s evening now, and I’m sitting at my computer as I write, gathering together all the scraps of today. Life right now may be teaching, but I’m realizing that successful teaching is more about learning than anything else. Let me explain some of these lessons:

  1. Learning to Reflect: The first period I taught my pacing was off. We had extra time in the period…which is a serious problem when you have twenty middle school students in an enclosed space. I knew there was an issue, so I had to reflect and fix the issue promptly for the next period.
  2. Learning to Take Criticism: Student teaching is funny. You go through these extremes of feeling like you own the world, because of course you’re a senior at college and know what you’re doing? Then you stand in front of a group of fourteen year olds and forget how to pronounce your name. You might think you’re a big shot, but you’re not. You have to learn to take the criticism and take it well.
  3. Learning Organization: I foolishly walked into student teaching without a folder to my name. Yes. I admit this. A trip to the store promptly remedied that situation.
  4. Learning from Students: A quote I ran across in one of my writing classes explains this, “‘Always assume,’’”, wrote Leo Strauss, to the teacher “that there is one silent student in your class who is by far superior to you in head and in heart.”-M. Shaugnessy. This is entirely true. I am shocked by the “head” and “heart” of many of these eighth graders.

These are some of the many lessons I’m learning through student teaching. Stay tuned for more of the brave and wild, my friends.

why choose nyack college school of education

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.

College Girl’s Clothing Checklist

When it comes to packing clothes for college, it can become a little overwhelming. Whether you think you have too many clothes or nothing to wear, it helps to understand what wardrobe staples you actually need. Once you have the basics, you will notice that planning outfits becomes easier (and even fun)!

Below I include my checklist to help you narrow down your wardrobe and help you pack for college. Use the list as a guide and suit it to your personal style.


  • Two Little Black Dresses
    • one winter/fall
    • one spring/summer that can transition into the fall with a cardigan
  • Three or four casual dresses
  • One semi-formal or cocktail dress


(Pack at least seven pairs, so that you have one for every day of the week before you do laundry.)

  • Although I don’t wear skirts often, I bring my favorite three or four skirts that can transition between seasons.
  • At least one pair of khaki
  • At least one pair of stretchy, nice black pants
  • Black leggings
    • Bring as many as you want because they don’t take up much space and are so comfortable.
  • A couple of your favorite dark wash jeans
  • A couple of your favorite light wash jeans
  • Shorts
    • Limit your number because you won’t be wearing them for long. I say maybe five.


  • Tees
    • White, black, gray, navy
    • Graphic
    • Striped
  • Tanks
    • White, black, gray, navy
  • Button downs
    • White, Chambray, flannel
  • Your select favorite five or seven long sleeve and short sleeve shirts
  • Sweaters and cardigans
    • Of varying weights and in basic colors
  • Sweatshirts
    • I bring my favorite sweatshirts. It is best to pack fewer sweatshirts because they are bulky to pack, and I don’t wear them every day.


  • Leather
  • Blazer
  • Light jacket
  • Raincoat
  • Pea coat
  • Winter coat


  • Casual flats
  • Ankle boots
  • Select favorite sandals
  • Sneakers
  • Winter boots
  • Rain boots
  • Heels (in basic colors like nude and black)
    • I only wore heels twice all year – once for a presentation and once for formal.


  • Jewelry
  • Everyday purse
  • Going out purse
  • Umbrella
  • Wristlet
  • Winter hat and gloves
  • Your favorite and versatile scarves

Active Wear

  • Bring as many outfits as you know you will workout in per week.
  • Or, if you don’t workout and just wear athletic wear because it is comfortable, bring a couple of your favorites.


  • Bring at least one because you never know when you’ll need it.


  • All that you have that fits. Having more helps you extend the time before the next time you do laundry.


  • Whatever you feel comfortable in and are okay with everyone in your dorm seeing. Have at least one for every day of the week.
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