Emerging Scholars Fellowship

Meet the Scholar

This post was written by Alyse Ruriani, one of our 2017 Emerging Scholars. Over the course of the next few months, Alyse is creating “What Now? A Creative Workbook Journal Thing,” which will be a book featuring creative prompts to help users process and express emotions in a visual, cheeky way. You can read more about her project here

Hi hello! My name is Alyse Ruriani! I’m going to tell you some things about me.

I am a person in recovery

My interest in the mental health field comes from a personal place. I live with mental illness, and through my experiences in treatment and recovery, I realized that with my story came the power to make a difference. I started writing for mental health blogs, such as this one, and The Mighty. I started talking about my experiences and sharing openly and honestly on social media. The response was better than I could have imagined, and being vulnerable in this way has actually supported my recovery in so many ways.

I’m graduating art school in a couple weeks (AHHHHH!!!)

They’re not joking when they say 4 years goes by in the blink of an eye (I’m sorry that pun had to be done). As scary as it is to be graduating college, I’m really excited at the same time. Since we’re complex human beings, I actually feel excited, nervous, afraid, happy, sad, terrified, eager, and many more emotions! It’s a good time. My project as an Emerging Scholar, which is creating a guided journal/creative workbook, is also my degree project as a Graphic Design major at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, MD. I’ve been working so hard on this journal, and I can’t wait for it to be in the hands of those who can benefit from it. After I graduate, I am going to work during the summer and then attend a Masters of Art Therapy and Counselling program (hopefully… still working out that $$$$!)

It literally took me 20 minutes to narrow down to 2 GIFs. I’m productive I swear!!! But sometimes, you just need to chill out and
watch a compilation 30 pug videos. Right now, I don’t own a pug, or any dogs at all (SAD) but that is because I don’t believe I have the ability to care for one just yet. Once I’m settled down more, you better believe one of the first things I’m doing is getting a pug! I already get alerts sent to my phone when a pug has been posted for adoption on Petfinder, so I’m preparing. Though I am a dog lover with no dogs, I do have a big black cat named Boo who is basically a dog, in personality and size.

I’m really loud!

Like father like daughter, I am quite the loud talker. I don’t realize the volume of my voice sometimes, though now after 22 years I’ve learned how to be a little softer. I come from a loud, Italian and Irish american family, so we don’t really know how to be quiet. If you want to talk, you’ve got to make your voice louder than the person speaking, or else you’ll never get a chance!

Besides my voice, my personality is also loud. I say how I feel and what I think, and sometimes people don’t like that. It’s something I’m learning to be okay with- because I don’t plan on making myself quieter just so others can like me, when I have plenty of those who DO like me. To help me with this, I’m currently reading I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn’t): Making the Journey from “What Will People Think?” to “I Am Enough” by Brene Brown. I think it’s so important to stay true to who you are- so if you’re loud, be loud. You don’t need to lower your voice, you just need to learn when to use it.

I absolutely hate doing laundry.

Give me dishes to clean, tables to wipe, or floors to sweep. But please don’t give me laundry. It is the waiting and planning that I hate- I have to pick a time when I will be home for 2+ hours, and sometimes on a hectic schedule, that is hard! I also will sometimes forget that my clothes are in the washer, or when everything is done, I don’t have the energy to put the clothes away so once again they’re on my floor. I know it’s such a small problem and it’s something everyone has to do, but for me it sometimes can feel like a mountain instead of a molehill. It’s things like laundry that will push me over the brink when I’m on the verge of a depressive episode. Sounds dramatic, but it’s the truth! If I let the plates in the sink pile up too much, or my laundry basket get too full, suddenly I feel unable to function and too depressed to clean anything at all. I’ve learned this about myself, so now I try to make sure I don’t let chores get to that point, because I know if I’m already vulnerable to an episode, that some dirty clothes can throw me into a full-blown one. If you struggle with cleaning and chores, I recommend scheduling it like you would anything else. Don’t let yourself just clean when you feel you need to- because that is when it can end up piling. Instead, plan to do laundry every Thursday when you get home from class, or plan to tidy up your room every Saturday afternoon. It may seem tedious, but it can help!

So, there are some things about me! Now I have to go back to regularly scheduled programming of working followed by an existential crisis and a pep talk. Repeat.

And don’t forget to keep following along with me and the other Scholars on the blog!