When I first changed my major to interdisciplinary studies I wasn’t sure what to expect, all I knew was that it was the most fitting major for me to accomplish my goals and prepare me for a graduate program in occupational therapy. I thoughts the course was going to consist of putting my program together, which it did, but there was a lot of other bulk to the course, and putting together my program was not as simple or straight forward as I thought it would be.
Before taking Introduction to interdisciplinary studies, I thought the definition of interdisciplinary studies was simply the combination of courses pulled from different majors to create a unique major. Although this is a part of what interdisciplinary studies is when speaking to how we apply it to the course and the program at Plymouth State University, I have learned a lot more about what interdisciplinary studies is overall throughout this course. My understanding of interdisciplinary studies has changed in that I now know that is isn’t just a collection of courses that you can pull together and create a major, it is bringing two or more disciplines together. I also know there are distinct differences between interdisciplinary, multidisciplinary, and transdisciplinary, whereas before this course I would have molded all of those together and defined them all the same way.
The first idea I pulled from the readings we have done throughout the course is from “The Web We Need to Give Students” Audrey Watters discusses student privacy and how it is a hot topic in education today, what having your own personal domain is, and essentially the pros and cons of these things. One idea that she stressed and that stuck with me was treating one’s own personal domain as a personal writing space, and as something to take pride in. It is easy to post something on blackboard, moodle, or other things of that nature that isn’t your best work, because the only people that will see it is you and the person grading it, whereas if you are publishing something on your own personal learning network that is linked to your name, it makes you want make it good and invest time into it.
The second idea I took from the readings is from “The Benefits and Challenges of Interdisciplinarity” Janina Misiewics highlights the some of the key benefits and challenges that interdisciplinary presents. The post focused the benefits for the most part, and we have discussed the benefits throughout the course. Because of this, the challenges that were highlighted in the post, in contrast with the benefits, were what stood out to me. As much as the benefits outweigh the challenges, being an interdisciplinary studies student, it’s an idea that it’s important to be aware of. One of the challenges to be aware of its reputation. Majors that have been recognized at universities for years, like psychology or nursing come with a distinguished reputation and a sense of reliability, whereas interdisciplinary studies is a less recognized major and does not come with the same reputation.
The third idea I want to discuss is from “Standing Alone”. In this article, Carly Ristuccia talks about her own experiences with interdisciplinary studies and the positive impacts it has had on her. One idea she speaks about is metacognition, which is the idea I want to focus on. Metacognition is essentially understanding your own thoughts, and when applied to education, it can be thought about as knowing and understanding your own learning, which is how Carly applies it. I wanted to talk about this idea because it is one of the biggest things I have taken from this class. I have never been so aware of my learning and felt more in control of my education as I do right now and after taking this course.
Interdisciplinarity matters to not only universities, but also the world, because it is all about innovation, change, and strides towards moving forward in the world of education and beyond. Interdisciplinarity involves taking two branches of knowledge and bringing them together to create something better than either of those two things were when they are standing alone. The world is constantly evolving, so we need to create a way to keep up with it, and interdiciplinarity is the way to do that.
My hopes for my future are to continue as an interdisciplinary studies student for the rest of my undergraduate career. I plan to graduate with a pre-occupational therapy degree that will allow me take all the prerequisite courses I need to apply to graduate programs, and take courses that will give me a strong base and prepare me for the courses I will be taking in graduate school. After graduate school my hope is to work in a hospital or rehabilitation center with pediatrics as a certified occupational therapist.
My hopes for the future of IDS, at PSU and beyond is that it continues to grow and become an even more recognized program at the school. Although IDS is designed to be a little bit off the grid in the education world, which some people find scary, it is an amazing way for students to take control of their own education and reach their goals. When I found IDS, I knew that it was the best thing for me, and I hope that other students have that same experience!