I transferred as an English major to PSU my sophomore year. I knew that I was going to be switching majors, but at the time all I cared about was Sports so I really never gave it a lot of thought. Even going into IDS I did not have a set idea of what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Sport has always been an aspect of my life that nothing else can compete with. I ended up merging coaching classes with psychology classes to build a discipline that I named the Psychological Aspects of Sport, but you may know it better as Sport Psychology. I’m not going to lie, the IDS council can be hard to get through the first time, but they are very flexible they always let you revise your contract until your program is flawless. For instance, mine was rejected strictly because of my contract title. I like to think about my major as getting one step ahead of the game for graduate school. While other psychology majors are just learning the psychological aspects of that particular class, I am forced to think about every psych class in direct correlation with sport psychology. I know that when students who go through a course like IDS, they use an entire different mind set while going through their remaining years of college. Being able to relate the topics they learn in class to something they truly care about is going to revolutionize the way they think as students. A more engaged student is created that will only better this world by actively participating in formulating new knowledge.
I think the greatest thing the IDS program ever gave me was a support system. I came to PSU because I didn’t want to be just another face in a large crowd. Throughout my first two years I couldn’t tell you one meaningful conversation or lesson I encountered with my advisor or professors. The first moment I ever stepped foot in the IDS office I had my next two years organized and a sense of worth I never knew I had. This program made me realize I had the potential to re-invent myself and have a multitude of peers to assure me along the way that I would be fine. I’m grateful for the support and motivation this program has given me.
I use to devalue this kind of process; I thought IDS was completely an opt out program. I was two weeks away from becoming a college drop out. A teen mother, college drop out, oh how I was falling into the dreaded statistics; it was devastating mentally and emotionally. Nursing school, those two words became the devil to me after failing with one year left of college. I had no back up plan, no one in the nursing program or faculty prepared me as to what would happen if I did not get the prized 80 in a course. I felt completely betrayed and simply lost in life. I sulked all summer, but with two weeks left before fall semester a chain of emails led me to the Interdisciplinary program and Robin DeRosa (Robin said not to put her on a pedestal while adding input to her post, but ALL HAIL QUEEN ROBIN). I figured out what the program was about, learned I could make my own major and get the hell out of this institution I felt had done me wrong in many ways. I literally said to myself and out loud many times, that I am just going do “this thing”, get my degree and run. I devalued my education because I was being allowed to just throw my past credits together and call it good. I never knew I would learn so much from IDS and the open pedagogy approach to learning. I honestly feel like my education came backwards to me which I did not understand when I first entered IDS. Of course, now I realize and completely value that I took so many wonderful courses and actually learned a lot which I was able to view in new perspectives based on true interests and goals. I found cohesion in my past courses in new ways, created an exciting portfolio that incorporated innovative learning styles, and learned what it means to be me.
My Dad has this quote that he always used to recite whenever I got to talking about my future. He’d say, “set your internal compass to be true, and stick with it.” I always thought he stole it from Gandhi, but now that I’m older, I realized that my Dad is just a wise, wise dude. This internal compass that he mentions was facing due south when I transferred to PSU my sophomore year. I had so many passions, and I wasn’t being satisfied by my degree in Environmental Science. 3 years and a major change later, I’m graduating with a B.S. in Outdoor Environmental Education, thanks to IDS. This program has helped me grow much beyond the chalkboard; my way of thinking about the disciplines I engage in as well as the way I go about learning have both completely evolved. I see the need for participating in my education just as much as or more than my lecturers. I recognize the need for public engagement and networking with my ideas. I’ve completely changed the way I value education, and for an aspiring teacher, that’s more than I could’ve ever asked for. This program has helped me set my internal compass to be true, and I’m sticking with it.
As a 26 year military veteran I am so grateful for the IDS program at PSU. Coming here with “a lot” of transfer credits I accumulated over the years, the IDS program was a perfect fit for me. Being an untraditional student feels a little odd at times, but this is a program I would recommend to others, hands down!
Check out a post I made about this: “Interdisciplinary Studies, my past, present and future.”
Kennedy J. Mang
This program has allowed me to feel pride for my education and take ownership of my education. Before IDS, I floated through a major with about 20 other kids as we all took the same courses, did the same projects, and complained about the same classes and professors. Since joining IDS, I have emerged myself in a new community with deep thinkers who may not be in the same courses as me or have the same path in education, but who share the same drive for education. We have a strong community within IDS, supporting one another even though we did not see each other everyday or even every semester. We all have one thing in common and that is to create an education that makes sense to us, to take ownership of our own future.
Check out an article I recently published about taking ownership of your education and finding meaning: http://kjmangot.plymouthcreate.net/uncategorized/taking-ownership-and-finding-meaning/
This major really saved me from graduating with a degree that didn’t completely fulfill my passions, or my talents. I was previously a Communications and Media Studies, which don’t get me wrong I loved and enjoyed, but then I took a graphic design class and realized I may have made a mistake? I loved being able to design the media just as much as I loved studying it. This program literally took everything I could want from an education and made it possible. It took two closely related fields, that are both important to me for different reasons and allowed them to go together.
I came to PSU with an associates degree in exercise science from Manchester Community College (there are three of us, in fact) with the goal of finishing my bachelors degree as a stepping stone to getting my doctorate in Physical Therapy. We were all admitted to the exercise and sports physiology program as juniors with two full years worth of solid, hands-on education and ACE personal trainer certifications. We were informed on the day that we registered for classes that most of the courses we took at MCC (and had been told would transfer into our major at PSU) were not actually going to transfer as anything other than electives. Basically, we were juniors by the number of credits we had, but only sophomores in our progress in the major. This threw off our plans of graduating and applying to grad programs in two years time. It also left us in danger of running out of financial aid before finishing up our undergrads. THEN we found out that we also had to squeeze in additional coursework to satisfy prerequisites for our respective graduate programs. One of our exercise physiology professors, who came to PSU from UMass Lowell in 2015, suggested we sit down with Dr. DeRosa and discuss the possibility of changing majors to IDS. Within minutes, we knew it would work. Here we are now, almost at the end of our senior fall semester, all with approved IDS programs, and all of us on track to graduate in the spring and begin our grad school careers. None of this would have been possible without the help of Plymouth IDS.
I initially started at Plymouth State as a Nursing major but failed out of the program going into my senior year. Without a doubt, the Plymouth IDS program saved me from being another statistic of a college dropout. After being forced out of the Nursing program I was completely lost, the passion that I thought I had toward this field was long gone and I was struggling to find my place. I started to have stronger feelings towards the social work aspect of the healthcare field but I thought it would be impossible to follow this passion considering I was now a senior that couldn’t afford to add more years onto my education. I contacted a previous IDS student , who was also a Nursing dropout, and she told me to contact the IDS program here at Plymouth. After doing so I realized that graduating on time was still possible – and even more importantly, I would be able to graduate in something that I am passionate about. Through this program I was able to build a major centering around Patient Advocacy that would allow me to eventually branch into a Masters Social Work program. I am extremely thankful for the opportunity that the Plymouth IDS program has given me.
Mariah Davis, Peer Mentor
The Interdisciplinary Studies program has allowed me to study my field of Sports Communication which is rapidly growing and only available at a small number of schools. I have a better understanding of the complexities of our professional world thanks to my Interdisciplinary Studies education. I’ve been given the tools on how to better problem solve and use my multidiscipline outlook to solve real world problems we face every day. I’ve never thought of myself as a critical thinker but Interdisciplinary Studies has revealed to me that I am. As a Peer Mentor I’ve never met so many engaged students anywhere else as I have here in this program. Interdisciplinary Studies gives students the ability to put their education in their own hands, and create their own colorful and educational masterpiece. Interdisciplinary Studies has given me opportunities to grow as a student, learner, researcher, and person.
Janina Misiewicz, Program Support Administrator
I joined the #PlymouthIDS community almost a year ago when I came onboard to work as the Program Support Administrator. Since then, I’ve learned more about myself, these students, and the places that education can take us than I could have ever imagined. I was already aware of #OpenEd before joining the team, but over the course of the past year, I’ve been able to witness the tangible, immediate benefits of sharing education, building bridges, and accessibility, transforming the way I will continue to think about and engage with education. As a young professional, and as someone who wants to pursue teaching/mentorship/advising, learning about #OpenEd this early in my career has been a gift. Likewise, it’s been a blessing to work with and serve the students in our program—they have shown me the potential of education, both through the interdisciplinary degrees they’ve created, and through their willingness to engage with our community.