College, Life, Politics

It’s hard for me to comprehend that early next month will mark 10 years since that chilly overcast graduation day on the hillside.  In some respects, it feels like weeks, rather than years, have passed since I was last sledding on cafeteria trays down the hill in front of Simpson Hall, or speed walking from one side of campus to the other to reach class in time.  But in other ways, it really feels like a lifetime ago.

I watched and often discussed the 2000 Presidential election in my little Dunbar apartment, arguing my uber-conservative Libertarian viewpoints against my semi-conservative and liberal friends.  The “me” of 2000 would hardly recognize the social-activist liberal “me” of today.

And I think that speaks volumes about college life and beyond.

I arrived at college in 1998 thinking that I knew pretty much everything.  I figured I would roll through college, maybe learn a few things, then graduate and get a job.  There is no way this wide-eyed, neatly Republican high-school graduate could have known how Nyack College would change his life.  Virtually every aspect of my life changed within the first year.  Influences from my friends, professors, coworkers at Temptations Cafe, or even books I was reading all conspired together to take me from immaturity to maturity, from simplistic in my view of the world, to seeing the complexity.

By the time 2000 rolled around, I was a self-described social Libertarian (i.e., VERY conservative), having shed my high school Republican persona, and now I had arrived!  I concluded my college experience with student-teaching in New City Elementary, a nice suburban school, and ultimately graduated from Nyack in May of 2002.

I began my teaching career in September 2002.  Once again I entered into teaching thinking that I knew pretty much everything (you’d think I’d have learned my lesson).  I was teaching in an urban New Jersey school district that was vastly different than my prior experience in New City.  And, once again, my life would be drastically changed within the first few years.  Seeing the needs of impoverished students had an impact on me in much the same way my college friends and professors had.

What I’ve learned is that changing your way of thinking based on new evidence does not make you weak.  Seeing things in a new way is a catalyst for growth.  It takes integrity and intellectual honesty to always seek the truth, even when the truth you find contradicts the truth you thought you had.

I won’t be surprised if, 10 years from now, I’m writing about the 30’s “me” with fond memories of my own naivety.  And I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Reading Helps Your Soul Level Up

When reading and listening to music, opt for music without lyrics to focus on the book's content.

Lately I’ve had quite a few reasons to read books, mostly due to class assignments and certain people’s recommendations. Hence, I’m returning to my former ways as an avid reader. Up until last year, I assumed that I was too busy to read, but one of the leadership tips I received from a school seminar was to “never stop reading.”

So far so good–I’ve read several books this semester, some alone and others along with my girlfriend. In this post I’d like to highlight some of my favorites. If you like what you read below, consider reading some of the books for yourself! The topics are very diverse, from love to leadership, so there’s a title here for everyone.


Ronald Takaki – A Different Mirror

Need a reference for solid, well-documented facts about U.S. History? Want to learn about the country from a quality, unbiased, and engaging source? Look no further than Dr. Ronald Takaki’s A Different Mirror. Takaki spent a lot of time collecting research and seeking primary sources backed up by historical evidence to piece together this thorough work. His purpose was to tell American history, not from what he calls “The Master Narrative” that casts the 400-year old country in a positive light from a majority perspective, but from “A Different Mirror.”

Many of us have observed people who haven’t quite fully assimilated to American culture and assumed they aren’t “from here.” Takaki seeks to help his audience recognize all United States citizens as “real Americans.” His book doesn’t hold back any punches either–it speaks of the atrocities that countless people suffered for this country to become a world power. If you’re looking for a horror story and a story of perseverance, you’ll soon realize that you won’t have to look any farther than unfiltered American history!


Ben Carson – Think Big

Francis Bacon observed that “worthy books are like mentors–available as companions and as solitude for refreshment.” This is one of those titles–Ben Carson lays out everything he learned that ushered him to achieve self-actualization. This includes the people who instilled into his life at crucial points, the lessons he learned from his experiences, and even his faith that grew while witnessing miracles at the medical center. Carson went from worst in his class during grade school to a world renowned brain surgeon, all because of faith and mentorship. I’ve learned all sorts of lessons reading the facts he lays out, particularly the ones he picked up from his mother’s wisdom.

According to Mr. Carson, you T.H.I.N.K. B.I.G. when you: “T is for Talent/time: Recognize them as gifts. H Hope for good things and be honest.  I Insight from people and good books. N Be nice to all people. K Knowledge: Recognize it as the key to living. B Books: Read them actively.  I In-depth learning skills: Develop them. G God. Never get too big for him!” So, are you ready to T.H.I.N.K. B.I.G.?


John Maxwell – Developing the Leader Within You

John Maxwell reflects that God desires for all of us to be leaders. So why then do only 2% of our population shape our culture while the remaining 98% are “culture zombies?” Leadership is developed, not innate; like many characteristics, hard work, discipline, and mentorship will produce a capable leader. Maxwell describes leadership simply as “influence,” but the process of influencing others starts with personal growth. If you desire to achieve new heights and influence those around you to do the same, this book is for you!

I found this work particularly helpful with my life’s work ethic as well as my participation in Nyack College NYC’s Student Government Association. In fact, what I learned from this book I put to use right away. Chapters cover thought-provoking subjects like self-discipline and integrity–fields we can all use growth in. Now in S.G.A., we cover a chapter of this book at the beginning of our meetings. Simply put, I couldn’t recommend “Developing the Leader Within You” more.


Gary Chapman – The Five Love Languages

What I love about all the books I’ve listed in this post is that they will change you if you let them. This title is no exception. Dr. Gary Chapman examines relationship(s), gives a name to the specific desires that when met fulfill couples, and admonishes the reader to meet the significant other’s need on her terms (and vice versa). The five love languages couples speak and understand are gifts, quality time, acts of service, physical touch, and words of affirmation. Not all of these languages are as straightforward as we think they are, but in this book we’re given the tools to learn and put them into practice.

The outcome of learning to “speak” your beloved’s primary love languages? Causing her or him to feel truly loved with a desire to reciprocate that love. When you go all out to appease the needs your spouse developed from childhood, you will have one bundle of joy on your hands. Fail to meet your lover’s needs, and, uh… well, Dr. Chapman is also an experienced counselor. But let’s choose the former, shall we?


God Inspired – English Standard Version (ESV) Study Bible

Why am I blogging about the Bible, you may ask? This post isn’t so much about reading the Bible regularly as much as how a study Bible can augment your reading. My parents gave me a study Bible for my birthday in February with the intent to help me better understand the text. Mission success! Having a study Bible really makes the Word make sense, all the time. When we don’t understand what we’re reading, we tend to lose interest and miss out on the whole experience, right? This dilemma is a thing of the past when you use an ESV Study Bible to enhance your reading.

The study Bible comes with explanations for the chapters and verses, cross-referencing to show which verses are related, and a detailed summary of each book. Charts, maps, timelines–you name it, the study Bible has it. What are you waiting for? Get deep into the Word with a study Bible in your choice translation!


Each one of these books has mentored me in some form. I hope you accept the challenge to consider reading one or two; I can definitely testify that my mind has improved as a result of reading these books. Plus, how else will you be able to say that you’ve been mentored by Ben Carson, Gary Chapman, John Maxwell, and Paul the Apostle?

The New World Trade Center in Progress

Today isn’t exactly an anniversary of the day the twin towers fell in New York City as the result of a terrorist attack by an extremist sect. However, I felt it not inappropriate to share about the former and current twin towers.

I still remember the day in full detail as a 10-year old: my mother woke me up from rest on my aero bed mattress to start school. I was stuck on problem #16 from my math curriculum when my dad called and told us to turn on the news. He worked in a building a few blocks away from the carnage, and could see casualties real-time from his office window.

Over a decade later, the site has yet to be rebuilt; however, the construction workers have made steady and significant progress in the last year. Below is a photo of the towers from a long distance (three blocks away from Nyack College NYC by the E train) taken this January:

A pretty big difference from Fall 2011, I believe! On the way to New Jersey last week, I found myself practically under 1 World Trade Center and had to take this shot:

Yes indeed, these new buildings are coming along nicely. I can recall how awkward and unpleasant it was driving to church on Sundays no longer able to view the twin towers–a sight I would regularly look forward to. Obviously more unfortunate is the large amount of businesspersons, police and fire department officers, and other citizens who lost their lives in the catastrophe.

Now the towers are being rebuilt, with exciting new concepts. According to Larry Silverstein, the CEO of the company that develops the trade center, people from all over the world are investing capital into the project. The company offers up-to-date photos and conceptual art of the project on their website, seemingly updating monthly.

Both the current and new campus for Nyack College NYC are easily walking distance away from the new towers, so students here will always have an opportunity to stroll around the new grounds when they’re completed. Expect a blog update around the week the area is open to the general public!

Apologetics for the Win

If you listen to Star 99.1 fm (I know I may be addressing a small target audience there), you may have heard Dan Buttafuoco’s commercials about his practice as a lawyer. Last Tuesday, he was the speaker at the Nyack Experience. One would naturally expect the “1800-now hurt” law veteran dubbed New York and Long Island’s “top Christian Lawyer” to speak about law; however, that evening Mr. Buttafuoco discussed with the student body the importance of apologetics.

“The Bible defends itself,” Stated Mr. Buttafuoco, who happens to be a graduate of Nyack College’s Alliance Theological Seminary. Over the next hour, he quickly but thoroughly explained the Bible’s formation, its accuracy to historic events, and how numerous scriptures in the Old Testament prophesied Jesus’ life and sacrifice for the world. He mentioned how the Bible is the #1 bestselling book every year, and that people are willing to translate it into a nation’s language if only fifteen civilians are dying to read it. He shared with students the story of a man who created a language for a tribe so they could have their own translation of the Bible.

Mr. Buttafuoco brought several significant ancient Bibles to Nyack College NYC, augmenting the presentation

To Dan Buttafuoco, understanding Creation and the Bible benefits our faith and confidence, and gives us opportunities to answer genuine questions people have about God and his Word. In his profession Mr. Buttafuoco has plenty of opportunities to share about God’s word, its accuracy, and its relevance to the 21st century. He encouraged everyone to take the time to grasp the real truth behind the Scriptures, even if only for the purpose of enlightening others. After all, blind faith has its merits, but assured faith wins souls.

To paraphrase Mr. Buttafuoco, “If I don’t know the answer to someone’s question, I go back to the Scriptures and study, say, “aha!” And return to the person with a confident answer. That’s what apologetics is about; continually sharpening our faith and answering questions about God’s Word.”

So readers, do you have any questions about the Bible? On your own, is a great place to start; to date they’ve explained over 300,000 questions in a straight, plain-English manner. If you still have a question left unattended to, feel free to leave a comment below; to the best of my abilities I’ll respond with an answer based on the Bible’s context!

Class Preview: Organizational Behavior

Let’s talk about the classroom. One reason students blog is to give readers insight to our experiences here at college, and the courses we take. Today I’ll be divulging a bit about BUS 326 Organizational Behavior! This is most likely one of the most unique business classes I’ve ever taken, as it weaves together the unique studies of business and psychology.

Take management, the task of making the most of your resources (including people), and psychology, the study of the human mind and its thought processes, and put them together. The result? Learning about different personalities, attitudes, behaviors, and motivation in your current and future workplaces! You develop a deeper understanding of what people do and why, learn about different theories like Maslow’s hierarchy and moral cognitive development, and understand how to judge and attribute a person’s behavior to both internal and external causes instead of using bias.

Organizational Behavior. It's business and psychology fused together!

You also learn about your personality traits, and how they relate to your work in an organization. For instance, I discovered that my work style recently leans slightly toward “introverted.” In a social setting, this is usually considered taboo; but in an organization, it means you are more contemplative, think thoroughly before responding, and work well independently.

This became apparent soon after in a different class when we were divided into groups and asked to work on a task. I instantly began delegating the assignment among myself and the other two students before the professor added, “By the way, don’t do this individually–work together as a group.” My initial reactions: No! Ugh. Still, it’s important to be versatile, so I eventually threw all of my support behind the team’s efforts. Success!

Studying Organizational Behavior from the textbook is nice, but the class really becomes interesting during group exercises and conversations. Between self-assessment tests, experiential exercises, students talking about their experiences on the job, and chapter discussions led by a professor who consults and studies organizational behavior as a second occupation–well, boredom is a rarity.

If you’re going into business with a focus on management, or even if you want to learn how to better understand the bitter misanthrope in the adjacent cubicle, take Organizational Behavior! Oh, and avoid the temptation to change your major to Psychology.

Broadway’s Case of the Blues

More fascinating than watching the 2012 Superbowl with family several Sundays ago was observing the epic crowd that gathered to watch the Giants parade down Broadway–the avenue where Nyack College NYC Campus is currently located.

Two sports posts in a row from a business major? I know, but bear with me. So the Office of Student Development posted a picture on Twitter from the second floor window. In mass number, many dressed in blue, a horde of fans from the tri-state area and beyond cheered for their heroes. Take a look at the brief video I scraped together:

[iframe_youtube video=a47WUWmYwZc]

It was a pure social event; groups of friends seemed to have skipped class and adults took the day off just to all gather in the same spot and celebrate mutually. I sensed sincere happiness from the crowd as I navigated my way to the college building.

Throughout the day, chanting was clearly audible from the windows of the library and the classrooms. At one point my Organizational Behavior professor stopped mid-lecture, raising her eyebrow at the sound of a particularly loud group. “Giants fans, huh?” She mused with an understanding smile. We had to shut the window.

Still celebrating? Have any photos or videos of the event? Share below!

The Number 17 Has a New Meaning

In New York City, whether on the newspaper clippings, television, or in conversation, it’s difficult to not encounter Jeremy Lin. The California native helped elevate the New York Knicks to above the .500 mark (meaning more wins than losses), scoring the city back-to-back wins since the Giants’ Superbowl victory. Asking “Who’s Jeremy Lin?” invites swift and sharp rebuke, portraying the inquirer as a sad anti-social.

This player means a lot to many circles. He dispels stereotypes against Asian American athletes, hopefully blowing open the door for a wave of passionate sports players to participate without being turned down. He spiked the ratings of MSG, the television network that owns exclusive rights to broadcasting Knicks games. His success means a lot for New Yorkers too, who haven’t enjoyed a promising basketball team from their city in a decade. And naturally, merchants like Modells and Madison Square Garden are capitalizing off of his sold-out jerseys.

Jeremy Lin Makes Headlines

Generation Y now understands how previous generations felt about Joe Namath and Wilt Chamberlain.

What makes Jeremy Lin so great? Let’s focus on just a few aspects: His work ethic and leadership. If you successfully complete a higher education degree, there’s not much you can’t do. Mr. Lin had his priorities straight, and he has a great fallback when he’s finished with basketball. The more who know that he graduated before he blew up, the more they will be inspired to do the same. Also, as a leader Lin’s helped his teammates reach a new performance level. It’s never a one-man show, you know.

Here’s another intriguing one: Lin’s faith. Similar to Tim Tebow (don’t ask “who’s Tim Tebow?” either), he doesn’t hold back giving any credit to God, attributing success to his Maker. His leadership position influences others, and what better influence is there than inspiring others to learn more about Christ? Now keep in mind, much of his ministry is behind the scenes, so don’t fall into depression if he doesn’t bring about world peace or inspire countrywide revival meetings.

Well, any baller who recommends Lecrae and Hillsong is cool in my book. Leave your thoughts about this Lin-spiring individual below! There, I said it…


My Hospital ID!

Hey everyone! For those of you who don’t really know me, I thought I’d give you a little back ground on myself and my thoughts on the Nyack School of Nursing. 🙂 My name is Tahira Abdullah. I am 21 years old, and I grew up here in Rockland County with my parents and two brothers. I am a junior in the Nursing program, making me part of the first graduating class of Cheryl Phenience School of Nursing.

To be honest—I initially had some reservations about studying nursing here.  I felt nervous knowing that it is a new program and that I am one of the “guinea pigs-” so to say. However, I must say that I do not regret my decision at all. I say this because; I believe that the best thing about Nyack is the integration of faith in Jesus Christ into the study of future professional careers. At Nyack College, I am learning how to be Jesus in the field of Nursing. I have been challenged to analyze my own walk with Christ – so that I can better serve others and be a true representation of Jesus. Earlier this year, I went to Boston for an interview at Massachusetts General Hospital. This interview was for the Carol A Gilhoni Nursing Oncology Fellowship. During my interview, they asked me about Nyack College. As I explained to them that it is a Private Christian College that just started a Nursing Program – they were very intrigued. They were very interested in hearing about a place that incorporated faith into Nursing. Furthermore, I was recently hired at Nyack Hospital as a Patient Care Associate (a nurse’s assistant). I later learned that another Nyack Nursing Student, Angelica Perez, and I were the only two PCA’s that were hired this month to go through training. I know that this is God leading our steps. He is already starting to open the doors for us to go into the community – and apply the principles we have learned here- at Nyack College. In the future, I imagine myself as a nurse in the Maternity Department or Pediatrics. When I get there – I know I will be bringing the mark of Christ to my work place – to my ministry.

First Impressions of Spring 2012

So I’ve experienced my first three weeks as an upper junior at Nyack College. From a personal standpoint, college is definitely easier: I’ve improved on budgeting my time, I participate in more student life activities, and my agenda in the classroom is to extract as much knowledge from the professor as possible. Networking is great too; I know quite a few people in my school either involved in or with experience in the field I seek to enter after graduation.

At Nyack College NYC, there’s plenty going on. Seniors are preparing for graduation while juniors and below are preparing to move to the new campus. The Office of Student Development (OSD) has upped the ante, introducing promotional audio/video projects that combine staff and students. And the clubs? Active at an all-time high, while the number of clubs continues to grow.

Dean of Student Life Charles Hammond interviewing President Dr. Michael Scales during a recent Nyack Experience.

Most notable are the Nyack Experience sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Because NYC is a commuter campus, chapel is voluntary, not mandatory. Although less people can attend, those in attendance actually choose to be there. This makes for an exciting, energetic atmosphere every week, including the evening that Dr. Michael Scales, Nyack College’s President, spoke at the campus to a large audience. Large isn’t an understatement; I had to keep pulling out chairs to accomodate the attendees!

There’s plenty positive going on at Nyack NYC, culminating in Fall 2012 with the new campus at Battery Park. As Nyack College’s administration continue to put quality time and effort into our NYC campus, God continues to bless their work and build up a new generation of invigorated students excited about their futures—yes, even in the midst of a recession.

Pet Behavior

Does anyone have any pets that legitimately act like humans – that it’s scary?? This past weekend, my fiance and I went over a friend’s house to watch the show we obsess over (Once Upon A Time!!.. great show btw ;). We had the lovely opportunity to meet Sasha the golden retriever. Sasha is an older dog, very calm and mellow, but at the same time affectionate and social.

Around 10 o’clock pm, Sasha went over to my friend and waited patiently. My friend got up and left the room with Sasha following her. When she came back, she explained that everyday around 10pm Sasha will go over to her and wait to be “tucked-in” before going to sleep!! Can you believe that? A dog that wants to be tucked-in! I really found this hilarious and quite entertaining— sooooo I took a picture! (sry… it’s kind of blurry).

Labor & Delivery Unit

This week my partner and I were on the Labor & Delivery Unit. When the day started, little did we know what kind of day we were going to have!

We were super excited of the possibility to see a live birth. However, once we got there, we found out that a mother on the unit had lost her baby. We were stunned with sadness. A floor that usually celebrates life was experiencing death. Despite the circumstance, this turned into a good experience. We got to see the hospital’s policy for when a mother loses her baby – and I must say it was very impressive. The hospital puts the parents in contact with a Bereavement Counselor and gives them gifts such as: a memory box, baby stuff animal, etc. These things are used to help the family have some closure for their loss. We spoke with the Bereavement Counselor and she gave us a lot of insight on her experiences. Her work is actually fused with personal passion as she actually experienced a loss herself. I can really go on and on about this experience, but I will leave you at that. Oh wait, one more thing… the picture above is a picture of a newsletter that they publish for the parents and family of the baby. This newsletter has letters that parents write to their baby and about their baby – it really was a touching and emotional thing to read! The other pictures are other literature that the Hospital gives the family.

In addition to this experience, we were able to leave that day AFTER seeing a LIVE birth! I think I will blog about that another time because that is a whole other story in itself!

All and all, we had a great experience! We really witnessed the best of both worlds on the Labor & Delivery Floor.

Spring 2012 Semester

SO the Spring 2012 Semester has started! It just started and it already feels like I have been in it for months! The work load is A LOT, but I am managing! or at least trying! We already had 2 Clinical Rotations at Good Samaritan Hospital—- in the MATERNITY Department!

The first day we got to see an assessment done on a little new born baby boy 🙂 It was amazing! I wish I was able to show you a picture of this boy’s hair! It was so unique looking! It was long and a golden/glowing like brown. We also listened and counted for his heart rate! Can you believe a baby’s average heart rate is 120-160 beats per minute?! Listening and counting for it was a little difficult, but we did it and got a number around 115bpm. We are already learning so much—- I cannot wait for the next few weeks!

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