Stefanie Young

Stefanie YoungClass of 2019

BS, Psychology, minor in Kinesiology
Occidental College

What did you do before law school, and what led to you pursue a law degree?

Before law school, I was planning to become a sports psychologist. I wanted to be a sports psychologist because I have had many injuries and surgeries from my passion and dedication for sports, especially basketball. I played four years at Occidental College.

In April 2011, one month before graduation, I went to an extra credit talk by Professor Elyn Saks from the University of Southern California for my Clinical Psychology class. This talk inspired me to pursue a law degree. I was extremely unsure, but my gut was telling me to go after it. This talk also gave me a lot of insight as to the lack of help and opportunities available to individuals with mental illnesses.

I got a job with the Institute for the Redesign of Learning as a 1-1 Teacher Aid while I studied for the LSAT. My first assignment was with a 17-year-old child “N” with severe schizophrenia, on medication, and with a heart condition. N was bullied as a child and as a result heard voices in his head, especially if he was walking into a new environment or going to a different class. If he caught someone’s eye he might think they were “bullying” him and become enraged. Over time, N and I developed a strong relationship and he knew he could trust me and I learned many skills to get through to him and calm him down.

In addition to N, I had to help the head teacher and other students in the class with whatever they needed. These tasks varied from assistance with class assignments, escorting students to therapy, medication, meetings with other teachers/staff, and helping students use the bathroom.

This job was truly an eye-opening experience and I was really sad to leave but nonetheless knew that I made an impact on the kids’ lives and vice versa. This job reaffirmed my decision to pursue a law degree.

What activities are you involved in at the law school or in the community?

I am currently an admissions fellow at Seattle University School of Law. I work four times a week around 15 hours/week. I also work for Seattle University game operations whenever I have time since law school is on a semester system and undergraduates are in a quarter system.

What have you found most valuable during your law school education?

I have found that time management and maintaining a fairly regular schedule helps a ton with being in law school. Exercising and maintaining a balance is extremely crucial for your mental health. I like to work out after a long day at school and normally try to take a solid break before doing homework.

What advice would you offer a prospective law student?

My first advice is to definitely take summer school if you can. You will not regret it

Second, you will be bombarded with clubs and organizations to join, but focus on school, understand the materials, how to apply the law and make arguments, and build that foundation so the next years will not be as hard.

There is always something to work on and you WILL feel overwhelmed, but tackle one assignment/task at a time and you will get a better grasp of everything.

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