Every week I write a column called BE YOU for one of the local papers (The Times of Acadiana) – Each week someone different answers the questionnaire – the paper often has to edit them,  so here are all the answers, unedited (the whole truth.) This week –
Every week I write a column called BE YOU for one of the local papers (The Times of Acadiana) – Each week someone different answers the questionnaire – the paper often has to edit them,  so here are all the answers, unedited (the whole truth.) This week is Charlie Shunick

Charlie Shunick became Lafayette’s big sister during the tragic events earlier this year. I, like many, watched as her strength, and belief in love and community, shone through, even at the toughest time in her life. Charlie is instantly likable, with a sense of humor, a wonder at the world and a fierce intelligence that will take her far – and she plans to use them all well. That passionate combination of heart and brain is hard to beat – and this girl has both in spades.

What was your first job?
I was a secretary for my dad’s business Bane & Shunick, I started there right before I graduated from high school when I was 18. My first real job was at Picante (on Ambassador) I started from opening and worked there until it closed, they let me host, serve and bartend. That was a really, really awesome job.

Describe a typical day in your life.
Well, I’m in graduate school getting my master’s in cognitive neuroscience here at UTDallas… which means I read and read and read a lot. Usually, I wake up and run errands, clean, organize, paint, garden whatever… I do something I enjoy or use that time for errands and household tasks. Then I either do homework or go to class depending on the day. I also have an internship with a doctor at a medical school here called UTSouthwestern where I am studying addiction pathways via neuroimaging, I work in the nuclear medicine section. So some days I go there and meet with my Dr. or do some work there, I’m getting my own cubby in an office there Monday and will be scheduling 2 or 3 work days from December on (this is very exciting!!!!!!). When I’m not doing school stuff, I’m either being a delinquent with my friends at bars or shows, playing with one of my four pets, gardening or doing some kind of craft or project. Basically, I can’t keep still. Now I’m also actively keeping our missing person’s pages going as well to fill in the gaps.

What advice would you give the younger you?
Exercise more, do better in high school, don’t worry about little things that won’t matter in a year and stop taking everything so seriously.

What event in your life most shaped who you are now?
Well, I think there are several things that have shaped who I am:
Mickey Shunick
My sister’s disappearance and the whole 3 months that followed… and well… it’s still affecting me obviously because I am still being presented with opportunities like this
My parents
High school
The professor I worked with at UL for 2.5 years, Theodore Scott Smith
My first love
Living in New Orleans
Neuroscience and my program

What values do you live by?
Keep an open mind, love most people, and stop and recognize when beautiful things are happening around you.

What do you most appreciate?
I suppose I’d have to say my family for supporting me through graduate school and all of my friends for keeping me sane through life.

What is your favorite journey?
Well, I can’t say that moving to Dallas where I didn’t know anyone or anything about the city was my favorite thing but it has been one of the most exciting adventures of my life. These two years have had a bigger impact on my life than anything, partially because of school and partially because I have finally begun figuring out exactly who I am and who I want to be. And I’ve realized that there are great people and adventures out there just waiting for me to find them.

Where is your favorite place to be alone?
My apartment, outside on my balcony at sunset…with a glass of champagne preferably. Perfect.
Or actually…. Riding my bicycle at sunrise in the garden district in New Orleans. If anyone has an opportunity to do this… do it.

What living figure most inspires you?
My professor Dr. Tres Thompson. He is one of the most passionate, intelligent, hilarious, and driven people I have ever known and I am honored to study under him. I think it is people like him that make people like me want to make advancements in the field.

What was the best advice you were ever given?
Keep calm, breathe and smile.
Or one of my best friends here named Shaurabh always says, “if you want to learn something, you need to internalize the information and tell yourself why this is important and what it means to you”

What book would you tell everyone to read?
The walking dead graphic novels… but I haven’t found a “life changing novel” yet. I will let you know if I do.

What is the best thing about where you live?
The weather is perfect although a little windy and there are a lot of awesome places you can drive that are only 1-3 hours away (Dallas kind of sucksssss but shhhh)

How do you “let the good times roll” ?
I love anything social with other people enjoying themselves. I like to surround myself with funny people so doing anything with them is a good time.

What did u want to be when you grew up?
I thought I wanted to be an archaeologist. I was always obsessed with the past and telling stories through remains. I was actually able to go on a dig once in Colorado for an old Indian reservation… it was awesome. In college I realized I wanted to study cognitive functioning and toward the end of my undergrad I knew I wanted to specialize in addiction.

What is your motto?
I don’t think I have one… I just try not to be an asshole all the time.

How would you like to be remembered?
I’m not sure. I think everyone will remember me differently. But hopefully everyone will talk about how hilarious my jokes are and how I always smelled good 🙂

What do you say to yourself when you doubt yourself?
It’s going to be fine, tomorrow this situation will be a memory and you will still be functioning. Or sometimes when I know I’m doomed I say “well… there’s nothing you can do about it now”, it isn’t encouraging but it makes me do my best.

What three things are vital to BEing YOU?
1. Passion
2. Laughter
3. Glitter

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
“omg”, “ahahaha”, “dass cool”, “awesome”, “CARMEN!” (because I’m always fussing at my darn puppy, she is spoiled rotten)

What is your favorite word?
“Amygdala” I think it’s funny and it’s spelled weird and it’s an important part of the brain and it’s kind of hard to say sometimes. I also really like the word “pyramidal” for similar reasons.

What do you collect?
Plants, animals (ok I’m actually kidding about these…well maybe not with plants) but I actually do collect lipstick… I’m not kidding. I think I have about 150 different shades of lipstick. And I collect pictures and pottery and art.

What food could you live on for a month?
Vietnamese food, pho, spring rolls and bahn mi everyday all day.

What would you change about yourself?
My hatred for Will Ferrell, I just don’t think he’s funny… and I would also like to change my sleeping habits because they’re awful.

What literary, movie or cartoon character do you most identify with?
I identify with the lead character from the HBO series ‘Girls’ Hannah. I feel that awkward lifestyle thing.

Describe yourself in five words.
eccentric, nerdy, loved, loving, sassy

What is your idea of happiness?
Doing something I enjoy with people I enjoy, surrounding me forever.

What is your favorite movie?
I have two that are tied for first “The Wizard of Oz” and “Death Proof”

What music defines who you are?
Good music.

What do you most regret?
Partying so much my first two years of college and not forgiving a best friend of mine for something until after he passed away.

What question do you wish I’d asked?
Haha, I feel like this was a match making survey. So… yes I also like long walks on the beach and dancing in the rain.