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 first interview in our series is Joseph Vasquez. Even though Joseph doesn’t know me too well, he granted me the honor of interviewing him. He’s an interesting guy who will bring much honor to God’s name with the things he’s planning to do.
What’s your major?
Joseph: I’m a Psych major because I believe it’s a good foundation for what I want to do. I want to be a psychotherapist. I want to be able to help people find the root of why they’re going through what they’re going through, and [help them know] that they are normal. Usually when you go to see a psychotherapist or psychologist you kind of feel freaked out and I want to create an atmosphere – like a safe haven – which I know builds up over time, but I just want to create that environment. And I want to help people understand that when they go into that office, they’re not the only ones going through what they’re going through. Even though it may seem like it, they’re not. I also believe that I am called for ministry, and I want to be able to understand the people that I’m being called to minister to – [their] mind, [their] emotions, and just integrate that with what I’ve learned on my journey with God and what the Bible teaches me. So for instance, the Bible says that the heart of a man is like a deep well and the person who understands it draws it out. So you see Psychology there, and I just like that integration.
Are you minoring in anything?
Joseph: I’m not.
If you could go back and if you had more time, would you want to?
Joseph: If I had more time, I would have done an interdisc. [editor’s note: interdisciplinary major] I would’ve done Psychology and Pastoral [Ministries]. I think even though I’m graduating – you know those kind of regrets – it’s not evident, but it’s there. So if I could go back in time I would have done Pastoral, just for the fact that I think that those classes are kind of easier than what I take. Usually when I take a Bible or Pastoral class, I get a decent grade…
Then that’s probably because that’s what you’re good at…
Yeah, and it comes easy for me so I would integrate Pastoral and Psychology because [in these classes] they teach you methods that you can use when you preach, they teach you how to read the Bible from a different perspective….and the Spiritual gifts. So these are things that make me wish I could have sat down in these classes.
So, what you want to do with psychotherapy is kind of unique. It kind of sounds like a brand. Do you want it to be your brand or do you just want it to be a job and then you do something else for your career?
Joseph: I think psychotherapy is just my second passion. I think it’s something to bring to the table, but my first passion is preaching the Gospel. So until then, psychotherapy is something that I want to do. I believe that I can’t just grab a mic and start preaching. I believe in God’s timing.
Right now, are you doing anything related to what you want to do in the future? Or are you just focusing on graduating?
Joseph: I actually started a YouTube channel over the Summer. I paused it… [Just then, a student comes through the doors of the library, gives Joseph a high-five, and wishes him good luck on his test. Joseph thanks him and smiling, continues…] but I want to eventually have a TV show, so I’m starting with a YouTube channel.
What is something you learned this month? [editor’s note: It was November.]
Joseph: I think November has taught me the power of decision and the power of your voice. I think sometimes being isolated from different voices helps you find your own voice. It’s like if there’s a fight in front of you and you’re alone, you’re more prone to break up the fight. But if you’re surrounded by people, there’s a hesitation because everyone’s looking at one another like, “Who’s gonna break up the fight?” I’m not saying to walk alone, but… even Jesus when He went into the wilderness, He was alone and He was confronted by the enemy. So, I feel like there are times or seasons when we’re alone and God isolates us from certain voices so we can find our own [voice]. So I learned the power of my voice and having my own conviction. Especially when it comes to the elections. There are a lot of voices – a lot of opinions – but in the end you’re the one voting. So you have to have a conviction and make a decision. You’re the one making a decision and that might exclude other options and you might not like the consequences of your decision, but…. that’s what I’ve learned this month.
What advice do you have for anyone – not just Nyack students and not just incoming Seniors – what advice would you have for a random person on the street who just came up to you and said “hey”? Or not even advice. What would you say – besides “hey” back?
Joseph: I would say that even though it’s comfortable to sometimes stay on the floor when you feel like life has knocked you down, when you have probably knocked yourself down, when people knocked you down – you were created to fly and just don’t give up. Even when giving up is the only thing that’s echoing in your mind. It’s something that will resonate with each and every one of us. We all get to that point where we feel like giving up – it’s literally just comfortable to give up. It’s comfortable to just stay on the floor. It’s comfortable to just settle. But even though it’s harder to not give up and just keep fighting, even though you’ve been knocked down 50,000 times, when you stand up and start flying again you realize that this is what you’ve been called to do – fly. Just keep running the race. At the end of the day, it will all make sense – at the end of the tunnel. But right now, I feel like nobody should give up. You should keep pushing, you should keep fighting. I felt like giving up a lot of times, at least in the past two years. But I literally keep pushing…there’s something inside of me that says I was born to fly. I was born to keep pushing. And even though I don’t feel like it, even though it’s hard, even though I have to repeat it, even though I have to apologize… if I mess up or I fall, I stand back up and keep fighting. Hopefully that gives hope and encouragement to other people. But not only for those people, but I think the most important thing you can do is encourage yourself. Even David said, “My soul, why are you afflicted – worship God, you know?” That’s powerful that you can encourage yourself. When nobody encourages you, you can depend on God and encourage yourself. I think that’s advice I would give to the general public.
Joseph’s ending words reminded me of my favorite childhood verse (and low key my favorite verse today): Isaiah 40:31 “But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”
Thank you for letting me talk with you, Joseph!