Tonya Olson is an intern at Vinland Center’s outpatient chemical health program in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She is attending Hazelden’s Graduate School of Addiction Studies, where she is earning a masters in addiction treatment and advanced coursework in co-occurring mental health disorders. Her expected graduation date is April 2015.
Why are you interested in addiction treatment?
Growing up around addiction and seeing how it affects the entire family system is what drew me into this field and guided me to become a part of the solution. I am inspired to help others learn how to live their best life possible based on their wishes, dreams, and desires, while helping them discover their “authentic self.”
Why were you interested in an internship at Vinland?
I have a history of working with people with disabilities, and when I heard about Vinland and what they did, I was instantly attracted to learn more and see how this compared and complemented my previous experiences. It felt as though I was coming full circle in my career and it seemed just right!
What are your goals after graduation?
I am interested in working at a facility that matches my values, while at the same time allowing me to grow and to learn in my new career. I am interested in becoming an advocate for people struggling with addiction. I want to help people navigate the numerous systems that affect the continuum of care needed to effectively treat addiction and co-occurring disorders.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Spending time with friends and family is very dear to me. As a self-declared “nerd,” I love to learn! I read about things that interest to me. When I am not reading or learning, I love the outdoors, hiking, gardening, traveling, and playing tennis. After graduation, I am going to learn how to play the acoustic guitar and will try to learn how to speak Spanish.
Where did you last go on vacation?
A road trip to Colorado for a month. The long route included experiencing Sturgis for the first time.
Where do you most want to travel, but have never been?
Australia, Wimbledon, and any warm beach destinations
What is your favorite TV show, movie, or book?
TV: “Survivor,” “Naked and Afraid,” “The Amazing Race,” “The Biggest Loser,” and “Intervention.”
Movies: “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days,” “Shawshank Redemption,” “Yours, Mine, and Ours,” and “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.”
Books: Too many to name just one! I love Harlequin Romance novels.
If you were immortal for a day, what would you do?
I would stop all of the wars in the world and get them to learn how to communicate effectively so that they could resolve their conflicts and just get along already! If I cannot stop wars… I would want to be able to fly of course. Who does not want to be able to fly?
What is your favorite quote?
“Happiness is not something ready-made… It comes from your own actions.”-Dalai Lama