Amanda Lee ‘16

Amanda Lee

"I always knew I wanted to help people who were suffering, but I hate blood and needles, so being a doctor or a nurse was out from the beginning.

"I thought I was going to be a famous singer in middle school (don't we all though?). But seriously, I've always been interested in how events impact people, and how to help them recover, so I always knew psychology was the field for me. I really love assessing and diagnosing people, and learning how our past influences our current and future behavior, so right now I'm debating between pursuing social work or mental health counseling.

"I have dealt with anxiety as far back as I can remember, so I was always researching ways to calm myself down and learning how to relax (still working on that part!). Eventually, that led me into learning all about how the mind works, which really sparked my interest in psychology. I also love helping people -- when I was younger, my mom and I would always volunteer to help feed the homeless on Thanksgiving and Christmas, and help raise money for those in need through pancake breakfasts and things like that.

"I decided to attend SJC because I had heard nothing but amazing things about it, along with being able to stay at home and continue to stay close to my family. I adored the fact that the class sizes were small, since this allowed great relationships to form between myself and some professors throughout my four years here. My experience at St. Joseph's has been nothing short of amazing; I have had so many wonderful experiences and have learned so many valuable lessons that I would not have been able to get anywhere else.

After graduating SJC in the spring, I plan on going to graduate school. I'm in the process of applying to Stony Brook for their MSW program, and to LIU for their Mental Health Counseling program. I'm interested in pursuing both areas for a future career, and plan to eventually (hopefully) have my own private practice.

"I am currently an intern at Pilgrim State Psychiatric Center in the Western Suffolk Outpatient Program in Brentwood, and last semester I interned at the Association of Mental Health and Awareness in Riverhead in spring 2015 and am currently an intern at Pilgrim State Psychiatric Center in the Western Suffolk Outpatient Program. I am grateful for the opportunities and lessons I have learned through both of these internships. They definitely opened my eyes to how crucial mental health advocates are, and how important it is to simply listen to those who are dealing with a mental illness. It definitely makes you feel great to know that you are helping people in need, and how appreciative these people are when you genuinely want to help them.

"A major thing I got out of SJC was definitely the hands-on learning that I have/am currently doing. My experience in the field through the multiple internships offered through the psych department has only furthered what I've known all along -- that I am supposed to help people. If I hadn't gone to St. Joseph's, I really don't believe I would have had such wonderful opportunities or had the chance to interact and connect with such a wide variety of people. I have also made so many great friendships and relationships with peers and professors.

"I received more from SJC than I would have ever imagined. The experiences that I received outside of the classroom truly changed me as not only a student, but as an individual. I used to be the quiet girl who just sat in the classroom and, although I did well in school, my experiences at SJC changed me for the better. I came out of my shell a lot through extracurricular activities and learned how to be more outspoken in a professional manner."

Who was your favorite SJC professor?

"Anybody that knows me could answer this question in a heartbeat. Although I have had so many great professors here, my favorite would definitely be Dr. Ginnetty.

"I have known him since I was a freshman, and ever since then, I have literally registered for at least one of his classes every single semester.

"Dr. G is a huge asset the psychology department. He is compassionate about what he teaches, and also extremely humble and down-to-earth, which inspires me to be a better student, psychologist, and person overall. I really wouldn't have had any of my internship opportunities had it not been for him! He is understanding, and devoted to helping all of us students reach our full potential. He is definitely a big influence in my life.

"Dr. Ginnetty is a wonderful professor and person, and is a great role model for all aspiring psychologists. I can only hope to be as talented, successful, and adored as he is in my future!"

Favorite book?

"My favorite book has always been House Rules, by Jodi Picoult. I've probably read it 10 times or more."

What has been the biggest influence on your life?

"The biggest influence in my life is definitely my mom. There's no question about that at all. Since I was a kid, she has always helped me so much with anything I needed, and always stressed how important it is to do your best. She also taught me that homework is the best way to really learn something, and that working hard and having motivation can get you anywhere you want. She has always been my biggest supporter, and she has never doubted my dreams or my abilities. She always told me I could do anything I wanted, as long as I pursued it and gave it my full effort, and she never told me that my dreams were unrealistic or silly. She puts up with my stress, moodiness, etc., all while taking care of me and my family. My 10-year-old brother was diagnosed with autism and ADD a couple of years ago, and while that's been really hard on my family, my mom has definitely been the backbone that holds us up. Seeing how patient, calm, and understanding she is with my little brother only influences me to be a more well-rounded, and down-to-earth person - my goal in life is to make her proud of me, and to let her know that I have used every lesson she has ever taught me in life."

What is the best advice someone has ever given you?

"My mom has always told me to give all of my effort in every aspect of my life, to stay motivated in achieving my goals, and to always believe in myself, no matter what. Although it can be hard at times, I still try to do these things every single day."

Aside from content material, what is the best lesson a professor taught you in class?

"Other than content material, the best lesson a professor taught me in class is to always keep my head up and to stay strong. To never lose confidence in myself, and to keep chasing after what I want in life."

What do you do in your spare time?

"Although my free time is definitely lacking, when I do have a spare moment, I love playing my piano - I've played since I was in elementary school. It really is one of the few things that makes me relax and keeps me calm under pressure."

What have you learned about yourself while at SJC?

"I have definitely learned a lot about myself during my time here at St. Joseph's. I have learned that it is okay to admit that you need a break, and to take a day off every now and then.

"I have learned that I need to give myself more credit than I do and that I am a lot better at time management than I had previously believed. I have learned that I am actually really good at performing under pressure, and that deadlines for papers should definitely not be done the night before. I have learned not to compare myself and my accomplishments to others, since I am a totally different person from them. I have learned to cut back on sarcasm and actually confront my problems head on (which is difficult).

"Since starting at SJC, I am extremely more confident in both my abilities and myself as a person."