Taking Ownership and Finding Meaning

Interdisciplinary Studies is an unique program here at Plymouth State University, and although many people may find the idea of creating your own program attractive, few have the ambition to venture into this world. This world of Interdisciplinary Studies is a world of deep thinkers, go-getters, problem solvers, and passionate scholars looking to expand their own knowledge to benefit others. The strong attraction to Interdisciplinary Studies for me was simply this, being able to create my own passionate program that allows me think deeper about issues, solve problems, all while working across the lines of different disciplines. With this program, I can take ownership of my future and find meaning to my academics. College is a crazy time in students’ lives and they often just get fixated on getting their degree and getting there as quick as possible. But Gregorian explains what the goals should be of college perfectly, “Instead of helping students learn and grow as individuals, find meaning in their lives, or understand their role in society, college has become a chaotic maze where students try to pick up something useful as they search for the exit: the degree needed to obtain decent employment” (Gregorian).

When creating my Interdisciplinary Studies program, I worked towards creating a program that was transdisciplinary and/or worked to build bridges and connections between a variety of disciplines. I wanted to create a course load that would best prepare me for my future and create the most comprehensive knowledge base possible. And to do this, I had to be willing to push myself across boundaries and work within multiple disciplines in order to create a bridge of knowledge. “We must reform higher education to reconstruct the unity and value of knowledge. While that may sound esoteric, especially to some outside the academy, it is really just shorthand for saying that the complexity of the world requires us to have a better understanding of the relationships and connections between all fields that intersect and overlap. . .” (Gregorian). Higher education must be willing to change how it views teaching and students must be willing to put in the work to prepare them for the best possible future. As Gregorian previously touched on the idea of the world’s problems being solved through connections and relationships between fields. We cannot begin to solve the world’s problems if we have one area of understanding, but if we work with others and each individual has a broad sense of knowledge we can accomplish much greater things.

My experience in Interdisciplinary Studies thus far has been nothing but positive. I feel in control of my future and am gaining knowledge that is practical and important for my future. I have surrounded myself in a community full of thinkers who want to solve the world’s problems, think about things differently, and speak intellectually about the need for knowledge expansion. “Many complex or practical problems can only be understood by pulling together insights and methodologies from a variety of disciplines. Those who forget this simple truth run the intellectual risk of tunnel vision and the social risk of irresponsible action” (Nissani).

CCBY Simon and His Camera https://flic.kr/p/X6ePfY

Pulling together insights not only happens in Introduction to Interdisciplinary Studies, but also within projects and course work. I am able to take courses that help me understand the mind and body and break out of that tunnel, that is the traditional college program. I am able to participate in projects and classes that give me a sense of ownership as I am learning about all aspects of development whether it be a newborn child or an elderly adult. I am taking classes to gain knowledge about their physical as well as psychological development and how it is all related to one another.

In conclusion, I am passionate about Interdisciplinary Studies, because I feel as though my education is meaningful and goal-driven. I have taken the opportunity to take ownership of my own future and academics as well as found meaning in my school work. I no longer sit in classes counting down the minutes until I get to leave, but rather count down the minutes until I am about to go to class. I am excited and passionate and feel as though each class serves a specific purpose in accomplishing my goals.

Gregorian, V. (n.d.). Interdisciplinary Studies: A Connected Learning Approach.  Retrieved October 20, 2017, from https://press.rebus.community/idsconnect/chapter/colleges-should-reconstruct-the-unity of-knowledge/

Nissani, M. (1997). Three Cheers for Interdisciplinarity [Abstract]. Social Science Journal, 34(2), 201-216. Retrieved October 20, 2017, from http://drnissani.net/mnissani/pagepub/10CHEERS.HTM

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One Reply to “Taking Ownership and Finding Meaning”

  1. I think you have really touched on what I love most about IDS: it’s intentional about meaning-making in education. It’s not just about learning stuff, but about thinking about how that stuff matters, why we learn it, where it can take us, how it links to our goals, our other knowledge, our hopes. This post is so inspiring, and I am sure I will return to it many times over the years. Thank you!

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