Intro to Interdisciplinary: A Summary

My first several months in the Interdisciplinary Studies department have been time spent giving me hope for my academic future. Before I was placed into this intro course, I was in a panic because I was told I had only one more semester before I had to pick a major, as I would run out of general education classes to take. I was ironically put into the program because I didn’t have any idea of what major I was going to pick. But after talking with my advisor about my interest in the removed Literature and Film focus from the English department, I decided to build my own program with classes from said focus with Communications classes that put the pieces of the cinematic puzzle together.

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Honestly, when I was first going into the course I was unsure that I was confident enough in my to-be built major that it was going to work out for me. But as I heard about the amazing majors other people were building, I felt like I was in a place that I could send me in the direction I’m hoping for. At the beginning of the course, I had no idea was interdisciplinary was. I thought that it was picking and choosing with some rules thrown in as long as it could be named. Boy, was I ignorant. I understand that it is now this amazing opportunity that is offered by universities and should be taken more seriously and should have a secondary definition as such.

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One of the ideas that constantly stuck in my head was the fruit smoothie vs. the fruit bowl. The idea of interdisciplinary vs. multidisciplinary are different because interdisciplinary integrates the discipline whereas multidisciplinary connects the disciplines but keeps them separate. Students in interdisciplinary studies either have an interdisciplinary program or a multidisciplinary program, and either is a wonderful combination of fruit. Another idea from class that sticks with me was when I had to find and read a scholarly article and found one where the author discusses that interdisciplinary studies could cause its own undoing, as it would just rearrange the disciplines. It discussed how if programs become more and more interdisciplinary, the disciplines would rearrange. But if a multidisciplinary approach is taken, universities can thrive as disciplines and colleges within universities can attribute to the interdisciplinary programs without dismantling the current ones. The last idea I think about from the class was the success story of the vein detector that was created using the intellect from doctors and engineers. For someone as pale as me, it’s remarkable how easy it is to miss a vein. The vein detector is this amazing result of interdisciplinary and is just one example of the teamwork it brings.

Interdisciplinary studies matter at universities to help students that don’t fit into the conformed boxes that universities set out for us all to pick from one day. Universities are preparing us for the world we currently live in rather than the impeding future full of new jobs, opportunities, and changes that interdisciplinary studies is preparing us for. New scientific discoveries are made by veterinarians and genetic researchers working together to help out animals all over the world, and that’s just one example. So many of the highest demanding jobs right now didn’t exist 8 years ago. The world is an ever-changing career environment that we will only become prepared for as disciplines become more integrated.

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The hopes for my own personal future is that I can one day work in the media of cinema such as television or film. Maybe even advertising or running research groups for cinema. Media is also an ever-changing platform so who knows what the possibilities will be by the time I graduate? My hopes for PSU and the future students that will attend this university is that they don’t have to confine themselves to the restricted selections that make up our college curriculums in this day and age. That students will be more prepared for the future of careers rather than training for ones that could become obsolete any year now. I don’t want my life to be like the beginning of Avenue Q where the main character has no idea what to do with the BA in English. He doesn’t even end up using his degree he just follows his girlfriend and let life take him where he ended up. I don’t want my degree to be for nothing, I want to make something or join a new movement that’s just waiting to happen.

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