Minds We Meet – In the Mind of Melanie

Melanie Fuller-Brudersas is a second-year master’s student studying Counselling Psychology at Athabasca University. She lives in Ottawa, Ontario with her husband, 3-year-old child, and will add another member to the family sometime this month. Her passion for her studies and have inspired her to get involved with the Canadian Psychological Association as their webmaster, campus representative (for AU), and counselling psych committee planner. Her goals include the PhD program in Clinical Psychology at the University of Ottawa, and is engaged in the thesis route, with prospects of publishing research based on evaluating a program called New Ways for Families for families in high-conflict divorce with Dr. Jeff Chang.

What do you do like to do when You’re not studying?
I like to enhance my professional portfolio by seeking out new opportunities, organising time with my family and enjoying the occasional spontaneous outing/activity.

What famous person, past or present, would you like to have lunch with, and why?
I would like to have lunch with Picasso, Viktor Frankel, Tim Burton, Danny Elfman, Terry Gilliam. They are all unique, philosophical original thinkers who inspire me to take the lead best for me in life. Having thoughts and ideas that are controversial or different can be incredible.

What would the meal be?
Hard to tell. I may imagine a café in Spain, or France! Or just my art room? we may have tea or wine.

Who in your life had the greatest influence on your desire to learn?
Hard to pin point exactly who it was. The drive came from inside somewhere.

Describe your experience with online learning. What do you like or dislike?
I like that I can access it anytime without panicking that I missed a class or fell behind. What I dislike is not having a physical community to go to – that sense of belonging.

Have you had a time when you wavered about your education?
Somehow, I always knew it was essential. I went back to high school at age 22 and I remember one day standing on the street waiting for a bus ditching a class and thinking That’s it, I can’t take this anymore I feel so small. I realised I had no other option but to go back, as it was the only way up anywhere.

What was your most memorable AU course?
I would say culture infused counselling psychology. It made me realise how much of what I think is structured by ideas and influences around me and it blew my mind.

What is most valuable thing in life to you?
My daughter and husband (and baby on the way in March). Nothing matters more to me than to see them succeed and be happy.

What have you given up to go to AU that you regret the most? Was it worth it?
All I can tell that I have given up is making money. I don’t regret that at all. Having less money to work with helps me appreciate things more and use my brain in cool ways to solve problems.

What’s the single best thing AU could do to improve your student experience?
Maybe have more of a community involvement/ commitment- like maybe skype meetings to chat and meet with other students. I feel like I have this imaginary life at AU.

What is the most important lesson in life?
Life is always moving and you must move with it. Like a dance. Nothing stays still, for if it does you are crippled or non-living.

What’s something people don’t know about you?
Not sure. I am really an open book. Perhaps my ability to imagine stories with images as I listen to music is a real talent I possess. It’s like a projector that explains what I am thinking and how I am feeling in a way that makes sense and does all the work for me. I listen to a song, I get images and stories, and at the end it all comes together in a way that perfectly explains what I am doing in my life, and why (purpose).

E-texts or textbooks? Any particular reason(s)?
I can adapt to e-texts for the greater purpose of protecting the environment. I do like books, but its necessary to shift to technology at this stage I think.

How do you find the tutors?
I’m in the Masters program and so far I have had trouble with one professor who I found unreasonable. Otherwise, good. I find students need more instruction on how to work in groups within an online environment. People tend to be too scared to “rock the boat” or displease members at the expense of using their critical thinking skills to build together and produce quality work.

Where has life taken you so far? (travels for pleasure, work, etc.)
I have gone to workshops and conferences with CPA, New Ways for Families and Alberta for a building working alliance class. This was all last year and it is the most I have travelled in 8-10 years. More travel is expected because I am on the committee for the counselling psychology summit (2018) and I am on the executive committee for counselling psych with CPA so must attend that convention again in Toronto this year.

What (non-AU) book are you reading now?
Right now, I am slowly reading Viktor Frankel’s The Doctor and the Soul. This is helping me beat procrastination and be active in my responsibility as a person to grasp my meaning and life’s purpose.

Scott Douglas Jacobsen is an AUSU Councillor. He works with various organizations, and runs In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, and In-Sight Publishing.