Daniel Ortiz sat behind the front desk of the Admission’s Office inside Shuman Hall. Finishing his Nyack College years with a bachelor’s degree in Pastoral Ministry, Daniel looks back at his undergraduate experience on campus.
Freshman year was “crazy and unexpected”, he stated. Everything was a huge learning experience even though Daniel was once just happy to graduate high school. “I’m the first person [in my family] to graduate from college.” At first he wanted to go into the military but his sister encouraged him into another direction, toward higher learning and Nyack.
“It felt right.” Daniel said, tilting in his chair. Born and raised in New York City, he was glad to transition away from an urban lifestyle to a campus that was beautifully set overlooking the Hudson River. Leaving home was a difficult decision but in doing so Daniel says that God restored his relationship with his parents. By leaving, he could appreciate them more.
Like any teenager, he felt his parents were overprotective but as he looks back over the past four years, he’s grown to understand their beliefs and actions. “Superglad,” he said, describing the stronger bond he feels towards them.
“To see my parents so happy at graduation… It’s meant everything to me.” Daniel, the youngest of six, added and discussed how faith is a verb, an action word. His time as a Nyack Warrior gave him new perspective as well as opportunities.
As a front desk coordinator assistant, he likes to work closely with both the director and assistant director of admissions. They teach him about counseling and behind-the-scenes practices in college enrollment. But he also said that he is grateful for learning about leadership from them.
At the end of our conversation, I asked Daniel “What has been the highlights of attending Nyack?”
His face is serious as he says without hesitation.
Above all “I understand my relationship with Christ. As a kid, I was in choir and preached. But here, I learned that I am never alone. Even when academics and relationships caused trouble, my teachers pointed me back to Christ.”
Second, “meeting my fiancé. She is a student here too, from Minnesota and one of the biggest factors for my relationship with Christ.”
Third, “Being able to walk across that stage [at graduation]. My high school was a ‘push school.’” Daniel’s secondary school was a funnel to process students through the grades and rush them through graduation. One teacher, Daniel said, would finish the lesson and then look at the class, saying “You’re never gonna remember that tomorrow.”
Daniel shook his head lightly and smirked at me as if saying “Can you believe it?’
Today, Daniel continues working for Nyack College as he and his future wife plan their wedding. Congratulations, Daniel!