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?
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!