My journey to this point has been unexpected and a reaction to events around me. Specifically, the closing of my previous college. Because of that I had to find a new school, hence my start at Plymouth State. Here, I wanted to continue my studies in wilderness therapy but met a few roadblocks. I couldn’t graduate on time with a double major. I potentially may be able to swing a major and a minor, but it would be close. I wanted to continue Adventure Education and Psychology in my education. To solve these problems I chose neither major, I chose Interdisciplinary Studies. Interdisciplinary Studies, or IDS, has given me a great opportunity to follow both of my passions and come out on top of an originally poor situation.

            When I first chose my fall courses for 2019-2020 school year, I didn’t include Intro to IDS. I had heard of the major and it was on my radar as a potentially beneficial compromise, but I hadn’t yet committed. However, as the start of the school year came close, I changed my registration and replaced a class with Intro to IDS as a “just in case.” This “safety” class turned into the beginning of my major and an opportunity to learn outside of the system.

            One of the first gifts this class gave was the creation of our ePortfolio. I was skeptical about the use and benefit of having a webpage, especially regarding the class, but it was assigned and so I did it. My first ePort was not more than the basics thrown together on an assortment of pages. As the semester progressed, I revisited the ePort and made some changes and more personalized adjustments. It still isn’t perfect or even close to how I want it to look eventually but through this experience I have become more invested in maintaining my ePort and a webpage after I graduate. Some of the decisions required to host a website have helped me organize my thoughts. The simple requirement of a name for the site forced me to consider what message I wanted to present when people visited my site. What did I want to correlate with my name? Similarly, I needed to choose how I wanted to structure the website and if I wanted a cheerful, happy site that wasn’t strictly professional or if I wanted a polished, clean website for future employers to potentially look at. I plan to revamp and declutter my ePort as I reach graduation to leave only work and information that I find represents my best in relation to my industry.

            PLNs, Personal Learning Networks, are still confusing to me and something I think I just started to figure out towards the end of the semester. I also know my current PLN is not best suited for my goals of using it to begin adding my presence to the wilderness therapy family. I had never heard of PLNs until this class, nor had I put together the idea of creating a system where I am kept up to date with current events, put my own thoughts forward on prevailing topics, and start building my own network within the existing community. One of my initial issues and still a fear is my voice being public for judgement. I don’t want to release any thing that is not fully thought out and flush with accurate details and data. However, the point to a PLN is to just start your publishing career. To gain familiarity with small comments and critiques on current issues in your field and the world. I would like to further my PLN by stretching the area in which I am able to communicate to others and direct them further to my website for more of my thoughts.

            The final gift to myself by Intro to IDS is the contract and planning guide. I have always been rather carefree in my direction of choosing classes. Following the preset, laid out path and then adding whatever courses sound fun or desirable. By creating the contract and planning guide, I had to pick my own path of courses and the planning guide gave me direction to physically write out my next three semesters. This was a powerful feeling to have such control and knowledge over the rest of my time here at Plymouth State.             Ultimately, my ePort, PLN, contract and planning guide have been a wake up reminder and push to be proactive. Most of my educational career I have been reactive to the system and to the “path.” Intro to IDS has helped me learn to take control of my education and personally figure out the details, big and small, of what I want to gain. I feel like there is a large number of students in the us who follow their path to college and then into some program that seems appealing. How many of them can say why they chose that program and why each class was included? How many are in a position to say that is mine? The biggest thing IDS has given me is the opportunity to be proactive and seize my education. This is the lesson I hope to continue throughout my life and career. Regardless of what I am pursuing, if I am actively seeking that direction and cause myself to be known to that community, I will be in a place where I can be proud of what I have done.