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A Piece of Corrie's Story

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Meet Corrie VanderBrug; a New England native now studying art + psychology in Michigan! Find out how she plans to combine both of her two passions into a super cool career and how she hopes to change the lives of others!

WHAT ARE YOU UP TO RIGHT NOW?

I just sent an email of my graphic design work to a potential employer!

WHAT'S YOUR DAILY ROUTINE TYPICALLY LOOK LIKE ON A WEEKDAY? DO YOU STICK TO A TIGHT SCHEDULE?

I just started my senior year of college! (Yikes) Recently I also started an art therapy internship with Clark Retirement Community in Grand Rapids. Mondays and Fridays I work at Clark and Tuesdays and Thursdays are my busy class days from 8:30am to 6:30pm. In between then I can relax and recover on Wednesdays. I am thankful for Wednesdays.

WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT STUDYING ART AND PSYCHOLOGY?

When I tell someone I study art and psychology, often the first question I get is “that’s great, but what are you going to do with that?” My answer is art therapy.

When I was in third grade I was diagnosed with an unspecified learning and processing disorder. A large part of my recovery process was (and still is) through the visual arts and through photography. Art acted as an outlet of positive expression and a way to find myself. Coming to Calvin I took a psychopathology class and felt God working in me saying that I needed to do something with what I had learned. From that psychology class I was able to discover not only more about my own learning disability but about mental health in general. I changed my major to studio art and psychology. I knew I want to help, but was still a little unsure about how. Art and photography acted as my recovery, maybe it could help others as well.

I believe art not only has the power of healing and positive expression, but it also acts as a creative way to communicate to the world. I love studying art and psychology because I can apply what I am learning in the classroom to my own life and hopefully to those around me.

WHAT WAS IT LIKE MOVING FROM MASSACHUSETTS TO MICHIGAN? WAS IT AN EASY TRANSITION?

Because most of my extended family lives in the Grand Rapids or Cascade area, moving from Massachusetts to Michigan was not as shocking as I expected. Although it was not a huge change, there are still little differences and things that I miss. For example, I forget that not everyone is on Tom Brady’s side or prefers Dunkin' Donuts over Starbucks.

WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO IN YOUR FREE TIME?

My free time during the summer was everywhere. I enjoyed vintage fair and street market shopping, visiting art museums and IKEA, exploring downtown Boston, and practicing field hockey with friends. Now that summer is over, I am content with spending my free time in a sunny corner of my house drinking tea and discovering new music.

WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO RELIEVE STRESS OR RELAX AFTER A LONG DAY?

Recently I began working on self awareness and mindfulness as a stress reliever. This practice is a way for me to focus and to feel better by taking an active role in my health and well being. Apart from this, laughter is a great way to relieve stress. After a long day, I love coming home and laughing with my housemates about silly things that happened that day. Their stories, jokes, and even song parities make me smile.

HOW DO YOU REPRESENT THE TRAIT EASY-GOING?

The word easy-going for me means relaxed, going with the flow, and seeing where life may take you. In my own life, I love just being there and being present with the people around me. I believe easy-going is also being adaptable. Change can be hard and uncomfortable at times, but it also brings new opportunities, purpose, and rewarding outcomes.

ASIDE FROM BEING EASY-GOING, WHAT ARE THREE OTHER PERSONALITY TRAITS THAT DESCRIBE YOURSELF AND HOW SO?

hardworking, athletic, honest

hardworking- Diligence in one’s work and relationships I think is very important. I try to work hard with energy and commitment in my everyday activities.

athletic- Before college, I played seven years of field hockey, four of those on varsity. I spent two years playing varsity lacrosse in high school, now in college, I played one year of varsity lacrosse. Athletic to me means determination not only on the field, but off the field as well. I believe that in my only life being athletic is the strength and ability to keep going in hard times.

honest- I believe speaking the truth and acting in a genuine way is one of the most positive things a person can do. Being honest with others and being honest with oneself is a great way to take responsibility for one’s actions and feelings.

WHO IS YOUR BIGGEST INSPIRATION IN LIFE AND WHY?

My biggest inspiration is my grandmother. Her continuous positivity, unconditional love, and dedication to her faith gives me strength. Not only did she raise five children, but was both a professional nurse and a pastor’s wife in an inner city church in Harlem and Westside Chicago during the 60s riots.

She is the type of person that makes you feel happier than you did before you talked with her.

WHAT ARE YOUR HOPES AND GOALS? WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN FIVE YEARS FROM NOW?

After college I plan on attending graduate school in order to obtain my masters in art therapy. My ultimate goal or dream job would be working as an art therapist for children with disabilities either in a school or hospital setting. I don’t know if that could happen in five years or not, but I am willing to give it a shot!

WHAT’S ONE PIECE OF ADVICE YOU WISH YOU COULD GIVE TO YOUR YOUNGER SELF IN HIGH-SCHOOL/COLLEGE?

Don’t be force into a job you don’t fully love. Life is full of options and you shouldn’t feel that you need to fit into one mold.

Check out more from Corrie below!

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Email: cjv75@students.calvin.edu