Why Aren’t You Normal?

The Interdisciplinary Studies program here at Plymouth State University is the main reason why I chose to come to Plymouth as a student. I consider myself to be an untraditional student in the aspect that I graduated high school a year early in order to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. Upon my early graduation, I decided to enroll into online classes while working full time. The typical four-year college atmosphere never appealed to me, especially with rigid degree plans. After taking most of my general education courses, I decided to start looking for a degree that would nourish my interest in event management. Although there are event management programs all over the country, there are not many programs offered close to my New Hampshire home. While looking at my options at various local colleges and universities, I was guided towards Plymouth’s Interdisciplinary Studies Degree. I decided to further explore this option with a visit during an open house last Fall. This is guaranteed to be one of the best decisions of my life.

When exploring the Interdisciplinary program here at Plymouth, I was able to meet with students who were already in the program as well as the Chair of the program. To see their energy and motivation for learning was a tell-tale sign that this degree program was not one of

One of my first acceptance piece from PSU
One of my first acceptance pieces from PSU

the typical boring ones I have become accustom to. When I left Plymouth State after the open house, I was overflowing with ideas and motivation to further my higher education. After that one day, I sat down and planned out my entire degree without even being accepted into the program. The planning process for my degree has been under revisions ever since. Although Plymouth’s Interdisciplinary Studies program has you lay out a plan of courses to take in your major, the command and value you have in developing your own degree program is outstanding.

Personally, this program turned higher education from being a means to an end in order to get a decent job to being a means to fuel my passion. I have previously changed my major from Psychology to History to Business before settling at Plymouth. All these previous majors had nothing to do with anything I wanted to do pertaining to a career. Even comparing what I was thinking my program could be a Plymouth to the rest of the event management programs across the country, I realized that no other degree would cover all the topics that I thought to be relevant to the program.

Reading Carly’s article “Standing Alone”, I have realized that while our Interdisciplinary programs may be completely different in academic terms, the ideology behind these programs are very similar. She illustrates in her writing:

“With metacognation, you are able to take your mind out of society’s views and have your own views. You can be your own self and that is who you should want to be most! Because at the end of the day, your opinion and your thoughts matter, and you need to make those important to you before they are important to anyone else.”

This statement embodies why I feel so powerfully about my Interdisciplinary program. With an interdisciplinary approach, the students are allowed to express their opinions in academic focuses that are most interesting to them. We build our Interdisciplinary degrees for our personal benefit and interests, but there are other people out there that may have similar interests and will be inspired by what we are doing to our academic pathways. By allowing students to have control over their degree with a little guidance from academic advisors, students are more motivated behind their learning and ultimately want to nourish and grow their education of their interests.

With my love of the Interdisciplinary program so apparent, my peers, professors and especially my parents could not dial down my excitement. Each and every person that has thoughtfully listened to my passionate rant about how great the Interdisciplinary program is has noticeably gotten enthusiastic about their own learning whether it be academically or professionally. The passion that is associated with building a degree plan filled with one’s own interests is liberating in a time where academic rigidness dominates. The Interdisciplinary program has helped me as an academic become increasingly passionate about my focus, and I, in turn, swoon over the program to my peers which intrigues them to check out their possibilities as well.

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One Comment on “Why Aren’t You Normal?

  1. swooooooooon

    I just love working with students who are as filled with intellectual curiosity and wonder as you are. I don’t know why so much of education feels prescriptive and demoralizing. You demonstrate how student agency can transform what so many consider to be tedious into a journey that is both thrilling and happy. What a wonderful Sunday read this was!

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