Meet Jessica, Veteran Alumna and Student Advisor at The L.A. Film School
Editorial Update: Jessica Young works as a program manager for Entertainment Business at The L.A. Film School. At the time of this interview, Jessica was still a student advisor.
Growing up, Jessica Young didn’t always know she wanted to join the military. It wasn’t until after high school when Jessica decided to pursue the idea of enlisting. Jessica’s innate sense of adventure and service to others led her to join the military at 21 years old.
“Honestly, it was something I had thought about in high school. My whole spirit of who I am as a person is…’ah, well why not!’ and so, I’m always up for an adventure and trying to see what I am capable of, ” said Jessica.
Jessica’s Journey to Serving in the U.S. Military
Without having any friends or immediate family members in the military, Jessica took a leap and began her journey with basic training in the U.S. Army. During her time in the Army, Jessica built a mindset of self-discipline and leadership that she carries with her today as a Military Student Success Advisor at The Los Angeles Film School.
Two a.m. wake-up calls were a regular occurrence for Jessica. Often times she would rush out of bed and get ready in full uniform in under 5 minutes. Or she’d pull a 24-hour shift when an alert detail came through from supervisors. These drills prepared her to have a clear head during uncertain situations even after medically retiring from service.
“The way veterans communicate with each other is based on a mutual respect that comes from serving together,” said Jessica.
“I love that I’m surrounded by those who haven’t served as well, because there is such a disconnect between those who have served and those who have not. I feel if there were a better understanding and more communication between those two groups, we could all benefit from it. Just knowing that we’ve all gone through certain post-traumatic stress—it may not be the exact same kind—but there are things that everyone can learn from each other with past experiences.”
Life After Serving in the Military
Jessica’s body had other plans in store. After back and knee-related injuries, she honorably retired from the U.S. Army. Seeking a change, the American GI Bill helped Jessica pursue her lifelong passion for music and songwriting. She moved to Los Angeles and enrolled at The Los Angeles Recording School, a division of The L.A. Film School. As a student, Jessica completed two associate degrees and her bachelor’s in Entertainment Business as of 2017.
“During this time period, I experienced a lot of new journeys mentally and emotionally,” said Jessica. “I realized about halfway through my EB program that I was experiencing anxiety and mental health issues that I had never confronted.”
Jessica started therapy and discovered that she was suffering from PTSD. She suppressed her feelings by focusing on schoolwork and earning her degree. It wasn’t until she began working as a peer advisor for the Student Advising Department at The L.A. Film School, that she realized how much service played a major role in her life. Helping students get through situations that she had already experienced, inspired Jessica to take on more.
Working as a Student Success Advisor
Jessica now spends her day working with both military and non-military students to make sure they find success at The Los Angeles Film School. Any new student who is ending their military service and transitioning back to civilian life will pass through Jessica’s door for guidance.
“I love music and the entertainment industry, but what makes me so happy is serving other people,” said Jessica. “This is what led me to work in education specifically with veteran students.”
During her time as a student success advisor, Jessica has established an event series called Comrade Convos, which is a team-building exercise for military students. She also brings in a local Los Angeles therapist to address mental health issues within the veteran community. These mentorship programs help military students at The L.A. Film School make healthy adjustments in their personal and academic lives.
Jessica jokingly says that she needs to Trademark her signature expression which is…“Your mental health is your academic wealth!”
Jessica’s Tips for Dealing with PTSD and Anxiety
As a student at a creative arts college, you are already channeling your emotions and feelings into a creative outlet. Bravo! Creative expression is an important way to release anxious feelings. If you are currently suffering from PTSD, anxiety or depression, these are some tips that I have done myself over the years. This is not an exhaustive list. These tips for dealing with emotional stress are what have helped me overcome my own anxieties. For more guidance and information on mental health counseling, visit the Real Warriors Helpline.
Be consistent with therapy (outside perspective)
Sit in silence at least once a day (try to remain restful/peaceful)
Remove yourself from the situation (whether it’s causing too much stress or you need to take a moment to think)
Ask for For Help!
I’m here to help the military students (as well as non-military students) make the most of their experience as a student at The Los Angeles Film School! Interested in Military Benefits at The L.A. Film School? Find out more about our student military services.