When I first transferred to Plymouth State University, I felt as if I had to accept the lesser of two evils. I had been considering a double major in Wilderness and Outdoor therapy and Adventure Education with a minor in Psychology. Suddenly, I had more restrictive major paths and could only keep my Adventure Education major and possibly the Psychology minor. Interdisciplinary Studies was a beacon allowing me to follow my original degree path and merge Adventure Education and Psychology together for a form of wilderness therapy. What I created was the program statement for Wilderness Therapeutic Adventure, a mix of psychology, adventure education, and group development classes.
The beauty of my major is that I have learned skills in the fields of psychology and education. I view my degree as a statement of knowledge for experiential education, working in the field, and group therapies. I also feel comfortable entering any field associated with those three. I would have to work to learn much more of the entry knowledge but wouldn’t feel out of place. I view my future to be full of working with groups and as an educator. I could be teaching science and math or interpersonal skills and how to build a fire. Wilderness Therapeutic Adventure is designed so that I feel supported by my degree, no matter where I end up.
I wanted my capstone to focus on expanding my experience with facilitating groups. I chose to design my project to be a short book of original group initiatives as a testament to my creativity in the field and understanding of metaphoric transfer. I titled my book Sticks and Stones because I see my games as tools to build the development of the group. My project proposal contains more information about my project, such as the guidelines I implemented for creating my games. I have already done a lot with the hard skills of adventure education and wanted to assess my readiness to facilitate a group. I also did not choose to do a project about psychology because I took the majority of my psych classes this semester and I knew I would have plenty of other projects to affirm my educational growth.
I am very excited to start working in my field, regardless of what my “classroom” looks like. I am happy and frightened to put everything into practice. One of the requirements for the capstone is that it can’t be part of something you are receiving compensation for, either college credit or money. This has made it particularly interesting for me because I have not been able to adequately test the different games I created. I am looking forward to seeing how they actually end up when given to a group. I am especially curious to see if anyone else can follow along with my instructions and recommendations.
I believe that you can learn anything, but you don’t actually know how much you’ve learned until you are asked to put it into practice. I have taken summer camp jobs and had different experiences with therapeutic populations, but I really want to just throw myself into a job at a residential program. I want to jump in the deep end and start treading in the water to learn about the program’s practices and values.
The Interdisciplinary Studies program has provided me with the beginnings of my knowledge. As an experiential educator, I know my next step is to simply start. Start practicing and using the different concepts and skills I have spent four years learning. Only with time, can I refine and master my proficiency. I see education as a life-time event that whose subjects evolve to match your current needs and environment. Graduation is just a gateway to the next challenge of my education, and I am ready.