Laura L.

Name: Laura L.

Nicknames: LL- I’ve always wanted a nickname but nothing has ever really stuck.

Hometown: Richmond, Virginia

Undergraduate Major/Minor(s) and from which university: Psychology major and Leadership minor from Christopher Newport University located in Newport News, Virginia

Job title(s) at Vandy: Graduate Assistant for the Center for Student Wellbeing (CSW) & Practicum Student Intern for the Psychological & Counseling Center (PCC)

Movie that makes you cry: Fault in Our Stars… every time. It's the soundtrack more than anything that evoke the tears. 

Best Brene Brown quote: I can't choose just one! 

"Don't try to win over the haters. You're not the jackass whisperer" and "You can choose comfort or you can choose courage, but you cannot have both." 

5 words to describe yourself: Reflective, awkward, creative, thoughtful, and chip-and-queso/salsa-lover (can that count as one word?) 

Random fun fact: I was a vegetarian for a year. Didn't last too long. 

Favorite thing(s) about Nashville: The food! I feel bad for all the vegetarians living in Nashville- ya'll are missing out. 

Favorite thing(s) about Vanderbilt: The community- hands down. The students, staff, and faculty are all so unique and when connections are formed it can be very powerful. 

Sweet tea or bubble tea: Ek- neither. Coffee please! 

Celebrity Crush: I honestly don't really have one! Can I say Dr. Brené Brown? 

Item on your bucket list: Climb Mount Kilimanjaro or you know, being more realistic, run a 5K 

Spirit animal: Ducks. I could fly and swim.  

Favorite musicians: Johnnyswim, Of Monsters and Men, & Adele 

Something you think about once a day: "Where did I put my phone?" 

 

What is the significance of the new Center for Student Wellbeing and what is your role at the center?

Phew-this Center is significant in so many ways. Our goal is for students to know that there is a place, a house, on campus they can go where staff truly care about their wellbeing. College and grad school is stressful as all get out. And while we know that, we understand each student brings a different story that needs to be heard. We want to hear you. We want to help students have a sense of autonomy over their lives while knowing we are always down the street cheering for you. 

My role as the graduate assistant includes creating workshops, meeting with students one on one about substance use, working with Vanderbilt Recovery Support (VRS), and helping our staff with anything else that might be going on. 

 

What are you most looking forward to about your internship at the PCC?

Working at the PCC has always been a dream of mine. I love working with young adults because that is typically a time in life when an individual is first independently living away from their family and has the chance to create and explore all of the possibilities of what it truly means to be them. Talk about the potential to be exhilarating, terrifying, and beautiful all at the same time. I am excited, and mostly honored, to have the opportunity to peep into the lives of our students- to let them feel fully heard, free of judgement, and to walk with them as they journey down this this path we call life. 

 

What inspired you to pursue mental health counseling? What are some of your goals/hopes for yourself in your career as a mental health counselor?

Full disclosure: My parents divorced when I was in elementary school. I remember meeting with my school counselor shortly after it happened and she created a group for kids going through the same thing. Because of her, I didn't feel alone. She was and still is my role model. Ever since that experience, I knew I wanted to be a counselor. 

My goals/hopes for my career as a mental health counselor is to work with college students. I'm already living out my dream! 

 

What changes would you like to see on Vanderbilt’s campus, when it comes to the discussions around mental health? And/or what changes have you already seen?

Opening the Center for Student Wellbeing is a HUGE step for Vanderbilt's campus. I am so excited to see the change and growth that will foster from the meaningful conversations and connections that are made there. I hope our campus continues to include mental health and wellbeing in our conversations as well as diversity and inclusion. I think it is a really exciting time to be a student on Vanderbilt's campus when it comes to mental health and I can't wait to see where this year takes us.