Name: Crystal Lorenzo
Major: Psychology and Spanish
Hometown: Fredonia, NY
Fun fact: Speaks Spanish, Dutch, and English
Which clubs are you involved in on campus?
I’m the founder and president of our To Write Love on Her Arms (TWLOHA) chapter. The purpose is to raise awareness and educate the community about mental health issues. I really want to create and cultivate a sense of hope on campus. People need to know they’re not alone and it’s okay to be dealing with issues in life. We want to help match up services that will aid individuals in living a healthy lifestyle. It’s important to break down stigmas about mental health issues, and have people willing to want to get help and help others in return.
I am also president of NU Alliance, a supportive group of people who advocate for the LGBT community. Meetings allow students to bring up issues that they need to get off their chest. The community is there to help one another, especially in becoming educated about current events in the LGBT community. We want to eliminate stereotypes and break down myths so many people have about sexuality.
We heard you studied abroad last semester. How has this impacted your college experience?
This fall, I studied abroad in Argentina, which has been my dream since I was eight years old and we hosted a student here in the States. I love Spanish as a language, so I thought it would be a perfect fit for me to experience the culture. It’s a beautiful country to visit, and I’d love to go back!
It sounds strange, but this gave me the opportunity to be a normal college student. Studying abroad made me relax and see what is truly important in college. Grades are fine, but the focus should be on learning and caring about what you’re learning. If you study to get an A, it doesn’t really matter. You should focus on developing your passion and have a purpose for your career.
This experience definitely changed my future goals. I want to get my master’s degree in Spanish and mental health counseling. This just made me a more improved person. I started playing sports again, so now I’ve joined club soccer on campus. Being in a new environment threw me into a mindset to try new things, and I love this new more daring, adventurous side.
What’s your drive for your major and future goals?
My motivation has changed from being a business major first semester of freshman year to my new goals. Back in 2011 and 2012, there was a heartbreaking trend of young teen suicides prevalent in the area. I couldn’t help them. Even if I didn’t know the girls and guys, it broke my heart. I want to feel like I did everything I could to help people. People are too young to realize that there is help available. There are individuals to understand and ensure that children are not alone. Most people go through a period where they feel there’s no one they can talk to, and it’s important to have someone that can be an advocate and help people directly. I want to affect children’s lives in a positive way.
What are your future plans after NU?
I am doing a 4+2 program here. I do my undergrad here in four years, and complete my graduate’s degree in two years. It takes a year off of my graduate degree. This helps financially and in terms of time, you get to go into the field quicker. I’m excited to start an internship.
My long-term goal is to open a private practice for mental health counseling for adolescents. The mental health counseling graduate program is going to make me well prepared to take on my goal. By the time I’m 23, I’ll have my master’s and be practicing in the field. I’m excited and enthused, more than anything else.
What is some advice you have for prospective NU students?
Get out there and get to know the opportunities you have available. I’m still shocked by everything you can do on campus. There are so many clubs and sports that you can join. The best part is getting to connect with students who are just as passionate as you are about the specific topic in mind.
Also, get to know your professors. They want you to succeed. I did my own research as a sophomore on music genre preferences and their relation to self-injury and depression in college students. That would be unheard of at a bigger university. Smaller schools give you opportunities that are more valuable than at other schools, in my opinion.
Who inspires you?
Denny Kolsch is a famous speaker within the TWLOHA community. He is a former addict and has been clean for seven years. I met him while starting our chapter, because Campus Activities wanted a speaker for RidgeFest. We brought him to speak at the event, and it was amazing to get to spend time with him on campus.
Kolsch speaks honestly about his struggle and journey. He inspired me to be honest and real with people. Better connection and communication with people aids to greater positivity for the community as a whole! Learn to have compassion for yourself, as well as others.
I’m also inspired by Andrea Gibson, a spoken word poet. I met her at Scranton University as she spoke at a poetry event. She writes about activism in the LGBT community and about hot button topics, such as taboo situations. She is very honest with her poetry. I commemorate her bravery and courage in addressing emotion and news people should not keep in silence. She exposes the darkest corners of our hearts. Because of Gibson, I want to inspire people through my own personal stories, and ensure people are not be ashamed of who they are.
What mark do you hope to leave on campus?
I hope that when I leave, people will have become a bit more open-minded towards mental health issues and become more understanding and compassionate for mental health issues. I hope that people see NU as a place where you can find supportive community values. I want people to know that they are valued and have everyone behind them. Everyone deserves the best foot forward towards success in school and the future.