Final Countdown

Introduction to Interdisciplinary Studies is finally winding down to the end. It is remarkable to see how different my journey is now compared to last semester. Being a senior, I felt as if I was thrown into this new major not knowing what to expect. When you switch your major the last semester of college, you think there aren’t options left for your to complete a four year degree. I am thankful that I had the opportunity to change to IDS and explore this new way of learning.

Interdisciplinarity was not a word in my vocabulary before this semester. I was told that my best option for switching my major would be interdisciplinary studies and my first response was “what does that mean?”. I had no idea that such a thing existed. I asked around and basically the answer I got was “You can create your own major”. Then I thought, “how can I create my own major and graduate within a year?”. Sounds impossible. I honestly thought that this course was going to be like a typical freshman class where we would do things like “discover what we want to do with our lives” and do pointless projects and papers that I would never remember. I am so happy that I was wrong. This course was actually hard work and takes a lot of your time. This course showed me that all of the classes that I took here before switching my major weren’t a huge waste of my time and could be used to create my own curriculum. I better understand now that IDS is not just creating your own major. IDS allows you to practice individualized learning and create your own platform for what you really want to do with your career.

There is one article from the text book that I constantly refer back to and truly understood better than the rest. This article is The Interdisciplinarity of Flight by Lindsey Bradley. The reason I remember this article so well is because she does a truly great job of relating the concept of interdisciplinarity to an airplane and flight. Airplanes fly due to

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Credit: iurii/Shutterstock

many different reasons. An airplane is a complex machine that carries hundreds of human beings 40,000 feet in the air. This is only made possible due to many concepts such as physics, engineering, communications, science and business. This helped me better understand what goes into interdisciplinary studies. Something that I learned is that it is easier to master one concept than multiple. But having knowledge from multiple concepts will take you further in the long run because you are able to branch out and gather information from multiple areas. When creating my Health Science major, I did not just take courses from the topic of health. In order to understand the entire idea of Health Science, I included my courses taken in health, biology, nursing, psychology, and physical education.

Another article that resonates with me is College Should Reconstruct the Unity of Knowledge by Vartan Gregorian. This article discusses what is wrong with college education and how college has turned into more of a job readiness program instead of a place where students can grow as individuals and become more self reliant. College has become more about getting a degree to get a job. Personally I feel as though this doesn’t allow students to enjoy a career most of the time. When I was a nursing student, I felt as though I was strictly doing it for the salary, not because I truly enjoyed it. This is why universities should explore interdisciplinarity more. Students need to feel like they are more in control of their own education. Being able to construct your own knowledge would allow students to learn easier and pay attention more. Nothing is worse than being in a class where you are not interested in the material and have no motivation to even go. Do you learn that way? Probably not. But yet, students are forced to take courses that have nothing to do with what they want to do with their lives.

Interdisciplinarity is all around us. We are constantly using our knowledge from different areas of study to solve problems, answer questions, and create new things every single day. I truly believe that people who practice interdisciplinarity throughout their lives have a better knowledge of subjects overall and can better understand things versus one who only practices learning via one discipline.

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CC by: Ryleigh Stearns

Currently I am working on furthering my education in the health department. I want to be a radiological technician which will require me to go to school for another two years. I feel has though I have so much more confidence in myself and my future practice because of the course I have taken. IDS helped me discover what I really want to do with my career. I am hoping that within the next two years, I will be ready to get my second college degree. I also hope that Plymouth State University’s IDS program will become more popular and prevalent among the school and more students will discover that this is the best way to learn and create your future. I am hopeful and excited to graduate in May of 2018. I am hopeful that I have made the right decision in my choice to change my major to IDS.

PLN?

So what the heck is a PLN?

PLN stands for Personal Learning Network. I know I’m not alone when I say I have no idea what that was 3 months ago. At first I thought it was some type of website where people collaborated on similar subjects and ways of learning. In a way, I was kind of correct. I took this quote from teachthought.com to better describe what a PLN is.

“A Personal Learning Network is a way of describing the group of people that you connect with to learn their ideas, their questions, their reflections, and their references. Your PLN is not limited to online interactions, but it is that online, global interactive part that really makes it special. It is personal because you choose who’s part of that group; you choose if you want to lurk–just check out what people are saying–or if you share; because you choose when to do so, and how to do so.”

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CC by teachthought staff

So my Personal Learning Network is connected to my new Twitter account. Feel free to check it out: @_RyleighStearns. This is my first ever Twitter account simply because I try to stay away from social media as much as I can. My first thought was “great I need to make a stupid twitter”. But the more I started using it, the more it made sense. I followed other people who created their PLN’s from Intro to IDS. I also followed health pages that I thought were the most interesting to me along with some science ones as well. To make my blog posts more known on my website, I would tweet them out with the link so more people could check out all of my posts that related to my new major and IDS. I think my favorite part about having a twitter was live tweeting with the rest of the class during a discussion. I have some of the most memorable tweets that I wrote in there that I highlighted in my Storify.

I will continue to use my new PLN for years to come. As time goes on and I continue my

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education in the health science field in the hopes of becoming a radiologic technician, I see my PLN as something that I will lean on for more information. My PLN is a great way to keep in contact with others in this field and help me as a further in my career. As of now, I do not view twitter as another stupid social media site. I see it more as a learning experience and a website where I can enhance my learning experience.