Kristie Vaval is studying music at Nyack College. She spoke to us about some of the unique opportunities Nyack College has made possible for her and how she’s grown there as both a student and as a Christian.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. I went to school there—kindergarten, primary. I did two years of college there, and then I moved to the US as a missionary.
What are some of the things you most value about being a Nyack College student?
I would say community and that it’s Christ-centered. It’s not big, and because of that it brings everybody together. Also, friendliness and diversity.
Has your time at Nyack College changed you in any way?
Absolutely. When I came here four years ago, I was just a student, a regular student. I was not grown enough. During those four years, I got to grow more as a person. Personally, I developed a lot, and I grew up. I got to be more mature in my spiritual life. I’ve gotten to know who I am more and been challenged in ways I never thought I would ever be challenged in my life.
When you think about Nyack College, are there any words that come to mind?
I think of motivation. I think of yearning for Christ. And I think of development.
Are there any traditions or events at Nyack College that are meaningful to you?
I would say the night of worship that we started a couple of years ago. That definitely left an impact on me. I’m actually thinking about our next night of worship for this year, and I’m already anticipating that and praying about it. And Chapel, of course.
What are some of the best things about being a student at Nyack College?
I think one-on-one interaction with professors. The classes are not too crowded, so you don’t feel like you get lost in the middle of the class. You get private feedback, and you get trained in a way that’s a fit for you. I’m a music major. I got the opportunity to perform at Lincoln Center about two years ago. I got to perform in Italy about a month ago. And now I’m about to perform at Lincoln Center again. I’ve performed at Steinway Hall. If I were in a bigger school, I probably would not have had those kinds of opportunities. Also, Nyack College professors will lead you in the right direction. They will lead you towards Christ. While you’re getting the academics, the intellectual part, you’re also getting the spiritual. That’s really important, and it has affected me a lot.
How have you been challenged as a Nyack College student?
I was challenged intellectually, which was really good. I got to learn an instrument that I was not that familiar with. I started with the violin, and then I did the rest of my three years with the recorder. I was challenged by that—a lot.
What are some of the things you’ve learned from your fellow students at Nyack College?
That you are never alone. Christ is always there with you, even if everybody else leaves you. Don’t look down upon yourself because of your talent. Christ gave you a talent, so use it for His glory even if nobody else sees it.
What have you learned or experienced at Nyack College that has most excited or inspired you in terms of what you want to do professionally?
I’d say that hard work brings results. It’s not always about talent, but more so about hard work. And I realized that especially with my instrument, the recorder. There are not many students that are taking it. I think I’m the only one on this campus taking recorder. But because of that, I’ve felt led to practice even more. Because if you’re the only one doing something, you want to do it to your best ability. I’ve learned that you always have to do your best in everything that you do. It’s not even about being perfect; it’s about doing your best. Also, I would say I learned good principles about life: always be on time, respect others, and always put Christ first.