Shanel Fisher is a music major at Nyack College. She spoke to us about why she chose Nyack College and what has impacted and inspired her as a student.
Can you share a little bit about your background and how you found yourself at Nyack College?
I grew up in Brooklyn. I was a youth leader. I became the choir director of my church at seventeen. I was the choir director for five years until I was around twenty-two. That’s when my life started changing. A lot of things were going wrong in my church, and little by little I just started weening myself out of church. I started getting into other things that I love to do. I went to culinary school and graduated from the Culinary Academy of New York. Then I stopped going to church, period. I got out of sync with God. Life just went downhill.
For ten years I was out of God. After I got back into the fold of Christ, this idea just dropped in my head: You need to go back to school. You need to go back to school, but not just any school. You need to go to seminary. I had a desire to learn the word of God on a higher level. I figured, if I go back to school, I’ve got to learn the word of God. My mentors (and other people that were tapping into my life) said, “Well, why don’t you try Nyack?” So, I tried Nyack. I went expecting nothing. I went to an open house—an amazing open house. The people there were so godly. You could see their relationship with Christ. They were amazing and warm.
What are some of the things you most value about Nyack College?
Oh my goodness, the warmth. The presence of God is in the building. Here, a lot of people…their light shines…just like how it’s supposed to. You don’t want to leave the building. You literally find yourself trying to find something to do just to stay here.
How would you say that your time at Nyack College has impacted you the most?
It’s changed me drastically. It gives me hope. It gives me confidence in my future. I have a lot of confidence in where I’m going and where God is taking me. Even if my mind goes another way, somebody or something will bring me right back into saying, “No, you’re supposed to be here. You’re supposed to finish.”
When you think about Nyack College, what words come to mind?
I’d say Nyack College is hope for the world. If we had more of Nyack in the world, there would be more hope for our future. You can’t help but to meet God here. And God changes. You can’t help but leave here with a better confidence in your future, where you are, and your purpose. They make sure you understand your purpose when you leave here, and that’s what I love about Nyack College.
What are some of the challenges you face as a student at Nyack College?
The challenge is more so “out there.” The fight is outside. It’s not really in here. My challenge, personally, is that my mind is all over the place. I want to do everything. I want to take every class. The challenge is focusing on one thing. I just feel like I want to learn so much here, so it’s a challenge to stay focused on one major.
What have you gained from your fellow students?
They’re very encouraging. Everybody is encouraging to everyone, and the encouragement is out of this world. Whenever someone has doubt in a class, immediately everybody’s like, “No, come on! You can do it!” You have a family here.
Have you had any inspiring experiences at Nyack College?
The music teachers and the professors that are teaching Bible, they are inspiring. They are good teachers. They’re walking in their purpose, and it makes me say, “I could do that too! I could walk in my purpose like they’re doing. I could teach like that if I keep this up and apply it the way they have.”