When coming in to Introduction to Interdisciplinary Studies, I honestly did not understand how a whole course could be filled with creating a degree program. Soon after starting the course, I came to realize this course offered so much more than creating a degree program. Before setting foot into this class, I could not define nor did I understand the concept on interdisciplinarity. As the course progressed through the semester, my understanding of an interdisciplinary education versus a disciplinary education grew. Even further than the difference between these two educations, I gained understanding of the many struggles that many interdisciplinarians and interdisciplinary programs have.
During my exploration of building my degree program, I finally understood what it means to have academic freedom. This is where I was able to decide what I should study in reference to my interests in a way that would be most beneficial to me. This concept of academic freedom is at the heart of most interdisciplinary programs, and, in my opinion, should be at the heart of all education. Throughout my exploration in this course, I was also able to fully understand the concept of unity of knowledge. Within the aspect of this concept, I am able to learn as much as possible in each course I take and apply the knowledge to future courses and professional opportunities.
With these benefits and more also comes hardships. Within this course we read many pieces that elaborate on the barriers of interdisciplinary studies. One of these pieces called, “Barriers to Interdisciplinary Research and Training” exemplifies many of the obstacles I have faced in my short career of being an interdisciplinarian. One huge barrier I face almost on a daily basis is a communication barrier. Many people are very unaware of what exactly interdisciplinary studies is, so my knowledge in any given field is undermined because the other party does not understand that I study in multiple fields at any given time. Since there is a lack of recognition of interdisciplinary fields, we as interdisciplinarians are finding it very difficult to be taken seriously in any given professional or academic fields.
Being interdisciplinary is very important in all aspects of life. I have found my interdisciplinary studies to be beneficial in my university experience because I am taking many different classes that allow me to hone in to different skillsets that I was unaware I had and that will be beneficial to my future professional career. Being multifaceted within the professional world especially will put me in high demand for jobs. I am able to show that I have many different skills that can be tailored to what each job entails, and by showing my versatility, companies will see me as an excellent addition to their team. With these benefits stated, my hope for the future of academia is that the traditional education will expand their horizons to incorporate a more interdisciplinary approach to academics. Interdisciplinary studies provides students their own voice in an education system that has lacked students’ voices for way too long. Once interdisciplinarity is more heavily incorporated into education, my hope is that the recognition within professional fields will increase as well. These two future hopes hinge on each other, but with the increasing advocacy for interdisciplinarity, these hopes should be achievable in the near future.
With all this being said, cheers to all the interdisciplinarians who have come before to make such an incredible program possible, and with this gratitude in mind, I will express my full support of interdisciplinarity in any situation suitable.