Nov. 3, 2008
Lauren Young loves the f-word. No not that f-word. Lauren Young is all about family. Growing up in Ben Wheeler, Texas, a small community near Dallas, she has always valued the importance of a strong family. Not only has it shaped who she is today, it is what ultimately pushed the middle blocker to play volleyball at Florida State.
“I looked at a lot of schools and visited a lot of schools but I came here because it was a really good family environment, and even though it was far from home, they made it feel like home,” she said. “Our whole team is really close and we have our sisterly bonds.”
Those bonds are no more evident than in the team’s pregame tradition. Before each match the girls dance in the locker room together. Young sees it as an energizing ritual. “To get that push, that drive, that excitement, I think that really helps a lot.”
While putting family first can often lead to losing one’s self identity, it hasn’t for Young. In fact she gravitated to volleyball as a way to set herself apart. Even though she played multiple sports in high school she knew she’d have to pick one to focus on in hopes of competing at the collegiate level.
“Growing up basketball was a big thing in our family” she recalled, “and I wanted to step outside of that so I just said I’m going to stick with volleyball.”
She doesn’t just set herself apart in her sport of choice, but also in her television and music preferences. Young’s favorite television shows are the America’s Next Top Model and The First 48. The first is obvious, at 6-foot-2, Young recalls, “growing up everyone used to always tell me `you should be a model’ but I never wanted to be a model, but I like to watch them take pictures and all that kind of stuff.”
As for The First 48, a show following real crime investigations Young says “I’m really interested in crime scene investigation and stuff like that”. However she recently decided she prefers to watch the investigations rather than be a part of them so she switched majors from criminology to social science. “I decided that wasn’t for me. I’m just going to stick to social science and psychology maybe.”
Many would be surprised at Young’s musical tastes as well. “I love all kinds of music. Lil Wayne, his voice pumps me up, and Rascal Flatts is good when you’re bored or just chilling at home.”
While Young has made a home for herself in Tallahassee she still misses the great state of Texas. Naturally she said what she misses most about Texas is “My family, family is a big thing.” Young hardly notices the 1,000 mile distance between Ben Wheeler and Tallahassee though because she manages to see her family often. “They come down a lot. My mom’s here at least three or four games. My grandparents come down a lot and I go home over Christmas and summers.”
Even when she can’t always see her family, she makes sure she has time to talk to her biggest inspiration and motivator, her mother. “She’s like my best friend, she’s always been there for me no matter what. It was just me and her so we’re really, really close. Every time I need someone to talk to she’s always there, it may not be what I want to hear but I know in the long run she has my back.”
In the long run the junior also has to think about life after volleyball at Florida State. Her main goal is simple, “graduate and get out of here” she jokes, “I’ll always be a Seminole but get out of here and get a job.” She’s not sure exactly what she’ll be doing in the future but she is considering graduate school and coaching as possibilities.
Wherever Lauren Young is in the future she can look back on her time at Florida State as evidence that family support and individual perseverance really can help you achieve your goals. It’s the same advice she’d pass along to anyone trying to reach their goals.
“Never give up” she said. “No matter how hard you think it is, no matter. All those times you think `I just can’t do it anymore,’ push through it cause you never know. I was wanting to quit so many times but I was like `you know, I could play volleyball in college’ and that’s what I did. Never give up.”