Dani (Daniella) Paulich is a born and raised Calgarian pursuing her Masters of Counselling with a Specialization in Art Therapy though AU. She started her undergrad at 17 years of age completing a BA in Psychology with a minor in Drama at St. Marys University in Calgary. She is passionate about understanding children and adults with disabilities. Although she is aware one of the top reasons people visit Calgary is for the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth, she suggests that winter is also a great time for tourists with outdoor skating and the mountains a quick trip away.
Who in your life has been the greatest influence on your desire to learn?
I’ve had some pretty amazing teachers over the years such as Mrs. Lake in grade one, Mrs. Rauch in grade seven and Mr. P who taught me drama in high school. I would also say my mom as she has always encouraged me to explore my options and interests. Plus, I think I’ve always just liked learning and have had the drive myself.
What parts do you like about online learning?
I really like the freedom to be able to create my own schedule and work when I want to. I also like that the assignments are so clearly laid out. My classmates are surprisingly supportive as well, and most of the professors are great. When I’ve had issues with profs, I have learned how to appropriately advocate for myself which is a great skill to learn.
What do you dislike about online learning?
Sometimes I miss the in-class aspect, and socializing — the in-person connection. But, overall, I really like it.
How do you motivate yourself when it comes to studying?
Wine! — Just kidding (kind of). I just remember what I want to accomplish in my future and I know that I need to get things done. Again, I think that a huge part of it is that I really just like learning!
What has been your favourite or most memorable AU course?
Summer Institute (a three-week in-person intensive course focus on counselling skills) for sure as it was so incredibly fun. Dr. Rob and Katherine were AMAZING. My classmates were great. The whole experience was incredible. I’m also really excited for Art Therapy Institute in a couple weeks.
What do you like to snack on while studying?
Also wine (just kidding, kind of…again). Apples with peanut butter, popcorn or chocolate covered almonds.
What non-AU assigned book are you currently reading?
“The Single Girls To Do List” by Lindsey Kelk, I thinkI bought a bunch of fun romantic comedy type books. I will read anything by Jodi Picoult. I also love funny books, or books related to autism and other disorders, especially biographies, autobiographies, or books that tell a story, while showing the reality of the disabilities. Awareness is key
What is an item on your bucket list?
I want to travel more. Thailand and Croatia are top of my list. Thailand because it’s beautiful. Croatia so I can visit my homeland for the first time. Also to open my own art therapy studio one day. Kids with disabilities need a safe and open place to create.
If you won the lottery, but could only buy items that began with the first letter of your name, what would you purchase?
My Dream home (loophole? Ha-ha), Dogs, Diamonds and Donuts (a girls gotta eat!)
What is your mantra in life?
Do the best you can do under the circumstances! I learned about it in university and I think it always reminds me that life happens and I’m not perfect, so as long as I do my best in the moment, I’m happy.
Laura Nelson is a marketing analyst by day and a bibliophile by night. She is in her final stages of completing her BA with a major in English through AU.