According to the American College Health Association, nearly three quarters of university students reported moderate or severe psychological distress at some point during their academic year. These are the exact kinds of people that Lillian Waddick, a third-year honors student majoring in psychology with a business minor, came to Oregon State University to help. With a passion for people and a broad array of interests, Lillian – who hails from Portland, Oregon – has found her time at Oregon State to be a unique period of growth. Today, what she loves most about the university is its encouragement of self-discovery, its multitude of opportunities and its beautiful campus.
Connecting to Self
One of the most striking things about Lillian is the breadth of activities she participates in and the depth and passion in which she engages with them. But it took time for her to become involved after starting at Oregon State. “I feel like when I first came to college, I lost a lot of my hobbies. But I’ve been slowly reintegrating them into my own life and finding new ones.” Lillian enjoys both physical activities such as running, hiking, yoga and pilates and creative pursuits like art, sewing and crafts. Currently, she is taking a modern dance course after having a positive experience taking a hip-hop course in a previous term. While she’s far from a professional, her dance class has become one of her favorite reasons to get out of bed in the morning.
One of her favorite Honors College colloquium has been What Is Creativity, taught by Jeremy Townley. In this course, students’ notions of traditional creativity are challenged as they explore how creativity manifests in all academic disciplines and how it can be used to the fullest. Currently, Lillian is planning for her Honors College thesis to be a journal that will include affirmations, testimonials and personal art that connects to ideas of healing and spirituality. This idea was inspired by What Is Creativity and one of her other favorite courses, Abnormal Psychology. Abnormal Psychology includes topics regarding neurodivergence and explores nontraditional treatment models beyond talk therapy. After graduation, she hopes to further her psychology education and explore other areas of the world.
Helping to Heal
Lillian initially chose to attend Oregon State because she wanted to say close to home. During her time at Oregon State, she has enjoyed becoming part of a community of like-minded and compassionate problem solvers. She is currently the treasurer and public relations officer for the Students Active For Ending Rape club. SAFER fosters open dialogues about institutional survivor advocacy, healthy consensual relationships and community-based support systems. In her positions, Lillian primarily engages in community outreach efforts but also provides behind-the-scenes support for club finances. Beyond this, she is continuously searching for more volunteer opportunities and ways to get involved in the Oregon State community.
Lillian hopes to one day open her own clinic, and she recently added a business minor to help her accomplish this goal. She believes that while not many people engage in both business and psychology, it is important to recognize the growing need for people to operate at this intersection. She’s ambitious about her future, saying “I really love interacting with people. I want to help people. I want to do a job where I can help the world.”
Lillian advises that it is all right to give yourself time and breathe. “Don’t over-stress yourself and give yourself time to explore different pathways and different interests,” she recommends. “Try not to worry and be okay with not knowing because you’re in college. That’s already a big step.”