Josiah Teng is pursuing a master’s in Mental Health and Counseling (MHC) at Nyack College in New York City. He spoke to us about the challenges of commuting and the benefits of a diverse student body.
What was your childhood like?
I grew up in New Jersey, in the suburbs. I have three other siblings, so all together we’re a family of six. I grew up homeschooled. My siblings and I were all homeschooled by my mother up until college.
What brought you to Nyack College?
After undergrad, I was looking for a master’s program in mental health and counseling. I saw how Nyack College really integrated what I wanted to study (the field of psychology) with theology and the spiritual realm. So that’s why Nyack caught my eye.
How far into the MHC program are you?
I’m in my second year, so I start practicum in the summer and then finish up the rest of the fall and spring with internships.
What are some of the things you’ve come to most value about Nyack College in the time you’ve been here?
Definitely the people. I think something that’s fundamentally different here than from undergrad is that everyone—not everyone, but a lot of my peers are at a different life stage than I am. A lot are older; a lot are working. I appreciate how it’s just so different here, and everyone comes from different walks of life and different experiences.
Are there any ways you can identify that you’re different or have been affected by your time at Nyack College? Have you changed in any way?
Yes. I definitely have become more spiritually oriented in how I perceive problems or issues. I feel like a big one is institutional racism. My eyes have been opened to how these things operate in the real world and how our role as Christian practitioners fits into that.
Thinking about your time at Nyack College, what are some of the words or images that come to mind?
Community, diversity, religion, faith, humility.
Are there any events, experiences, or traditions at Nyack College that are particularly meaningful to you?
I’ve attended chapel on a few occasions, and I can see that’s a space that really brings the campus body together in fellowship and worship and community. I think that’s a good thing.
What have you gained or learned from your fellow Nyack College students—whether inside or outside of the classroom?
I’m coming from undergraduate school, and my peers are coming from their experience in the workplace—in the clinical field. So just to hear how that affects their own experience and to have them share their insight with me is really valuable.
Have any of the experiences you’ve had at Nyack College inspired you or excited you in terms of thinking about your professional future or you’re calling?
Yeah, for sure. I think a lot of my instructors and professors are very willing to convey a lot about their own experiences and their expertise. So just being able to dig around their minds and ask them questions regarding the profession and next steps in education has been very helpful.