When I entered Intro to Interdisciplinary Studies, I had absolutely no idea what to expect. I was one of the undeclared students that found myself in this course because I expressed a small idea for what I had in mind for a major. From what my undeclared advisor told me, I thought that throughout the class we would be creating a major, which is what we did. The difference between my expectation and the reality is that most people were farther developed with their plans for their major. All I had was an idea that I wasn’t sure if I was going to commit to, while my peers had concrete ideas in mind for their major.
I honestly just thought the word “interdisciplinarity” meant “DIY”. The first time I had heard of it was when my advisor mentioned it and how it was when you could make your own major. I hadn’t given its meaning a second thought.
My understanding of Interdisciplinary Studies has come leaps and bounds. I went from not knowing what it means at all, to having a decent understanding of it. I would now define it as taking ideas from two or more disciplines and combining them to create a new idea. This is not to be confused with multidisciplinarity, which doesn’t blend the ideas of the disciplines.
The four theories of Interdisciplinary Studies are complexity theory, perspective taking theory, common ground theory, and integration theory. My program relies on complexity theory (which entails that we interdisciplinarians let things be complex and don’t simplify) because I will be learning about different cultures. Culture is a subject that feels never ending to me. Culture changes and adapts as time moves on, therefore I cannot simply learn everything about multiple cultures. I have to let cultures be complex and think about how the different cultures are interconnected.
My program relies on perspective taking theory because in order to combat an issue, I
could look in the perspective of each culture. If I am in a foreign country, I would look through their perspective because my perspective may not apply well to the situation. I could also use common ground theory to look at different perspectives. I study an issue
and look through the lens of each culture to determine the best course of action. I might not come to same conclusion if I only look through one perspective. This is also the case for integration theory because I will take the ideas from the different cultures and blend them together to create new ideas that I can use to solve issues.
Inderdisciplinarity matters to universities and to the world because we provide different perspectives on issues. Disciplinary people tend to have what we call “tunnel vision”. This is where people only see in according to their epistemology, or their truth for their discipline. Having an interdisciplinarian work on an issue helps to broaden the perspective of the issue. Broadening the perspective can open new doors and create new pathways of thought that wouldn’t otherwise occur.
My hopes for the future in Interdisciplinary Studies is that I would continue with this major. I have poured a lot of energy and commitment into this major, so I really want it to work out. I hope that the classes that I will be taking in my major next semester will not be too strenuous and that it will just make me more excited about my major.
Finally, my hopes for the general future is to just find happiness in my career. I believe that it is truly important to be happy in your career because it is what you will be spending all of your time and energy doing. So many people settle for an occupation that’s easy or pays well, but they end up being miserable. I don’t want to be miserable. I want to be excited to go to work every day and I want to come home and excitedly tell my family about my day. I believe that I could do that through Interdisciplinary Studies.
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