New Big Sister

Recently I have decided to enroll in the Big Brother Big Sister program with the New Hampshire chapter. I’ve heard about this program and I’ve seen it in different movies, but I’ve never considered about doing it myself. I think overall I am super excited because I love kids. They are so funny and actually have so much insight to offer.

I have found that kids today have so much access to technology; something I didn’t have as much access to as a kid. This is so cool, but I also feel like it has sucked kids into a virtual reality that can be very difficult to escape. Some of the most memorable moments I had as a kid was playing outside with my neighbors and making up games with our imaginations. That was the best part of growing up for me.

As I see more and more kids straying away from that and moving towards video games and virtual activities that require less and less imagination it makes me think. Overall, I don’t know if I think that is all bad or all good because like everything, each side has benefits. One thing I can attest to is that video games and computers cannot replace the intensity of our battles against foreign invaders we had in our front yard or the feeling of pounding ice cold Hi-Cs or Otter Pops after a long, hot day of foursquare.

By enrolling in this program, I hope to not only become a pal and mentor to whomever I get placed with; I also hope that my little sister can help me to relax and again begin to enjoy life like I did when I was a kid. You never know it then, but being a kid is one of the most fun times of your life and you never realize how much you take it for granted until you have 2 hours to complete 12 hours of homework and papers.

Don’t get me wrong, I have LOVED college, but sometimes I wish that life could be simplified back to the days when the only thing I needed to worry about was when the streetlight came on, which meant I had to go home for dinner.

I can’t wait to get this process started and I hope that I can make even a minute difference in my sister’s life.

Dopamine Drives Early Addiction to Heroin: A Review and Commentary

Dopamine Drives Early Addiction to Heroin: A Review and Commentary

This paper is discussing the driving force behind positive reinforcement in heroin addiction. Up until recently researchers haven’t nailed down the role that dopamine plays in addiction. The onset of addiction is caused by drug reinforcement which is essentially a reward in your brain when using drugs such as heroin. The purpose of this study was to gain a better understanding of what centers of the brain have input on drug reinforcement. By doing this, researches would be able to better understand addiction and how to alleviate it as well as understand the mechanisms of opioids and their highly addictive personalities.

The Study

Part 1:

To begin their study, the team used a fluorescent sensor to measure the levels of dopamine in a center of the brain called the nucleus accumbens, in mice. The nucleus accumbens is known to be a primary site of reward behavior. Researchers found that after a minute of giving the mice heroin, there was a significant spike in dopamine levels, as shown by the fluorescent sensor.

Part 2:

The activity of the dopamine neurons was measures by the activity of calcium, which is a very important factor in action potentials of neurons. Action potentials are how neurons communicate with other neurons and different parts of the body. The dopamine neurons were activated after repeated administration of heroin, which was synonymous with the findings of the previous test.

Part 3:

To further prove their findings, the researchers silenced dopamine neurons in rats that had already developed addictions to heroin. The mice with already establish addictions had access to a lever that allowed them to self-administer heroin. When researchers silenced the dopamine neurons in the mice, they found that the mice were less likely to self-administer the drug. When they used this same technique earlier in the addiction phase the mice were much less likely to develop the self-administering habit.

Part 4:

A final test that researchers did used mice that had been genetically changed so that their dopamine neurons were activated by light, which rats were able to self-stimulate, again by using a lever. Their purpose was to see if heroin would replace the reinforcing behavior effect from the light. Like the other tests researchers did, the results of this were similar. Mice that were given heroin were much less likely to use the lever to self-administer light than the mice that only had access to light. The results of this support the claim that the reinforcing effects of heroin are concerned with dopamine.

My Commentary:

This paper was especially interesting to me because there’s so much relevance to it. There is an opioid epidemic in our country; often the addictions start with opioid prescriptions from doctors when a person suffers physical trauma. These findings could help researchers find ways to create new pharmaceuticals that elicit the same effects that opioids do, but maybe act on different neurotransmitters or receptors to reduce the addictive qualities that opioids have. It also gives more insight to addiction treatments and therapies because we have more knowledge on what parts of the brain are being targeted by repeated drug use.

I love learning about this kind of stuff and I hope that more and more literature comes out so that we can further our knowledge on how to combat drug addiction and hopefully drug use as well.

Click HERE to read the original article I read and HERE to read the published literature from this experiement

Can(nabis) I Be Blunt? Weed and HealTHCare

I just read this very interesting article discussing medical marijuana and its connection with reduced opioid use. There is some great information in the full article so if you have the time please check it out! Otherwise, if you’re like me and have 30 seconds of free time to breath and blink then hopefully my post can help you understand this topic a little better.

Medical Marijuana: What is it and why should I care?

Thomas Hawk CC BY-NC 2.0 https://flic.kr/p/pTqRUp

Medical Marijuana is a relatively new industry which explains why most of the dispensaries are in sketchy looking buildings. Nevertheless, there are some great benefits to using medical marijuana. In short, medical marijuana is just marijuana that is used to treat different illnesses or their symptoms. The important components in marijuana are the cannabinoids. The two main cannabinoids we find in marijuana are THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (Cannabidiol). Our endocannabinoid system affects things like pain modulation, appetite, and memory. It also affects various immune system responses and elicits anti-inflammatory effects.

 

Effects:

Anyway, of the two cannabinoids in marijuana, THC is the only one that elicits the psychedelic effects or gets you “high.” It also can decrease pain and inflammation and help with muscle control problems. CBD can be used for all the same things that THC can but it can also help with epileptic seizures and could even help treat mental illness and addiction.

Connection to Opioids?

Torben Hansen CC BY 2.0 https://flic.kr/p/4v9zbC

Another interesting thing in this article was the correlation between legalizing marijuana and decreasing prescription opioid problems. The research shows that in states where there are medical marijuana laws and adult-use marijuana laws also had lower rates of prescribing opioids, opioid misuse, and treatment admissions for opioid addiction. We also know there are pain relieving effects from marijuana so that could potentially be influencing opioid prescriptions.

 

What now?

Considering this, if we know that medical marijuana can help with things like epilepsy and tremors associated with Parkinson’s why should we start accepting It? There is a stigma that surrounds marijuana. My older sister was given the suggestion to start using medical marijuana to help with her pain and seizures. However, she refused to even consider it because of the reputation that marijuana gives people. Whatever the case is, I think that the discussion for legalizing marijuana is such a relevant one. Looking at it from a health related standpoint, I think therapeutic use of marijuana is something to explore and could prove to have major benefits.

Precís

Research Article Precís

Working Title: Drug Use Control and Policy: An International Effort

Source 1:

Paoli, Letizia, et al. The World Heroin Market: Can Supply Be Cut?Oxford University Press, 2009.

The authors describe research that analyzes the world’s heroin market and studies it’s structure, development, participants and its socioeconomic impacts; arguing that there is little opportunity to weaken the market and back up that claim with empirical data.

The authors develop their claim by describing the development, composition, and behavior of the current world opiate market, continue to describe specific country studies, and finish off with an analysis of drug policies and their implications.

The purpose of the authors is to dissect the world heroin market and identify ways to change it so that widespread opiate use can be alleviated.

The intended audience for this work is professionals and scholars in the criminology field. The work adopts a formal tone.

Source 2:

Roman, Caterina Gouvis, et al. Illicit Drug Policies, Trafficking, and Use the World Over. Lexington Books, a Division of Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2007.

The authors analyze past and current policies concerning illicit drugs and suggest that drug is a growing international health threat.

They develop their claim by discussing and analyzing policies and drug use trends in the major countries of the world.

The authors aim to study different policies throughout the world to explain the severity of the far-reaching epidemic and identify the most effective policies in controlling drug use.

This article was written for a scholarly audience and carries a formal tone.

Source 3:

Ferguson, Robert W. Drug Abuse Control. Holbrook Press, 1975.

Ferguson analyzes drug abuse in its entirety and suggests that principles of drug abuse should be a catalyst for continued efforts and better understanding of drug problems by professionals.

The author develops his claim by analyzing drug abuse, how different drugs are controlled, how professionals handle it, and what prevention and control look like in foreign systems in order to reiterate the importance of alleviating widespread drug abuse.

The author aims to create a better understanding of drug abuse to analyze policies that have been put into place to control it.

Ferguson writes to reach everyone who is interested in drug abuse control, professionals and non-professionals alike.

Source 4:

Strang, John, et al. “Drug Policy and the Public Good: Evidence for Effective Interventions.” The Lancet, vol. 379, no. 9810, 2012, pp. 71–83., doi:10.1016/s0140-6736(11)61674-7.

The authors suggest that some policies can prevent or reduce the negative impacts of drug abuse on the public good and dissect some that aren’t empirically supported.

The claim is developed by outlining the policies and their targeted effects in comparison to their actual effects.

The authors’ apparent purpose is to identify which policies are effective and which aren’t.

The intended audience for this paper is a scholarly audience.

Source 5:

Marlatt, G. Alan. “Harm Reduction: Come as You Are.” Addictive Behaviors, vol. 21, no. 6, 1996, pp. 779–788., doi:10.1016/0306-4603(96)00042-1.

The author describes what a harm reduction policy is, how it develops, works, and why it is beginning to become a major approach in the addictive behaviors field.

The author develops his claims by offering a set of strategies that are designed to reduce the repercussions of addictive behavior for both drug users and their surrounding environment.

Marlatt’s purpose is to show how harm reduction has been applied to prevention and treatment of addiction problems.

The intended audience for this paper is professionals that are concerned with drug addiction and drug policy; the tone is formal and scholarly.

 

Smile

While scrolling through my PLN I came across this tweet:

 

I remember this time I was in 7th grade, my small group leader taught about happiness. She told us when she was in high school, she and her friend would leave heads up pennies around school for people to pick up. Just to make someone smile.

It’s been almost 10 years since I was first told this story. Yet it’s stuck with me through all this time. I Thessalonians 5:11 says, “So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.” Building people up is so important. If we take a little time out of our day to do something small for someone else, that could potentially make their day, why don’t we?

Why is it so hard to just bring joy to someone once in a while? I can always find excuses. “I won’t have enough money for MY lunch if I pay for theirs.” “I don’t have TIME to stop and tell that person I like their jacket.” Whatever it may be, there always seems to be a never-ending cistern filled with dumb excuses that convince us that we will be at a disadvantage somehow. What we often fail to understand is that sometimes, our small, even tiny, gestures of kindness can make a difference for someone.

In the ‘70s a man jumped from the Golden Gate Bridge after no one smiled at him or acknowledged him. While in most cases this may not be the outcome, how would you feel if your smile saved his life. That one thing that doesn’t require anything at all from you made a person feel something.

With all that being said, next time you get the chance to help someone or brighten their day even a little bit, I IMPLORE you to do so. You might even feel better yourself!

Research Paper and Applied Project Prospectus and Timeline

Research Paper Prospectus

I am working on the topic of drug policies because I want to find out what drug policies look like in other countries in order to help my reader better understand potential reforms or strategies that can be established to help the problem of widespread drug abuse and addiction.

This topic is interesting to me for a few different reasons. I have always been interested in drugs and their different mechanisms of action. Looking at drug addiction through a psychology lens, leads to the understanding that drug addiction is an actual mental illness and should be treated as such. One of the common issues in dealing with people who are addicted to drugs is that they are seen as criminals, deadbeats, scourges of society; in all seriousness, they need the people around them to help rather than demonize them.

I think that if we analyze the drug policies of other countries and find instances where a policy has either been successful or unsuccessful and extrapolate those polices to fit the American society, then maybe we can make greater strides in our war on drugs. I know many people who have either been addicted to drugs or have been affected by someone who is addicted to drugs. It is an extremely tolling thing to deal with and I want to try to change addiction rates and the overall stigma that surrounds people with addictions.

I want to write this paper and hopefully reach even one person who consciously or unconsciously demonizes people who fall prey to drug addiction and help them understand that a person is not defined by their circumstances. If I can help show successful policies used by other countries that have helped reduce addiction rates and even the stigma then maybe we can facilitate more of an open discussion on the problems of widespread addiction.

The main things I want to explore are the policies in other countries that have been most effective and least effective. I will also need to explore the parallels in the societies that have implemented effective policies and see if that policy could even work in U.S. society.

I’m hoping to find research on this topic on Web of Science, Google Scholar, or Jstor.

Research Paper Timeline

My overall game plan for this paper is to get the bulk of the research out of the way in the beginning. I want to have all the research finished by the week of October 15th. Once I’ve done that and have read through everything then I plan to start compiling the research and discussing it in my paper. I plan to start the actual writing by the week of October 22nd. My goal is to get at least a section or subtopic done each week so that I can stay on track with my writing and not get behind. If I stick to this schedule I believe I should have a rough draft of my paper by November 19th for class.

Timeline:

  • Finish research -> Oct. 15th
  • Go through and compile significant findings -> Oct. 15-22
  • Begin writing -> Oct. 22nd
  • Finish rough draft -> Nov. 19th

Applied Project Prospectus

How can I raise awareness and educate the students of PSU and Plymouth’s community, on mental health and increase open discussions of mental health to decrease stigmas surrounding it?

For my applied project, I want to dedicate one of the women’s Ice Hockey games to educate the community and raise overall awareness of mental health and how it impacts everyone. This game will be a night that focuses on providing literature that helps people better understand mental health and all it entails, as well as pointing people to resources that can help them with their mental health. I want to do this because bringing mental health into the light is so important. I hope that using a public platform to discuss mental health can lead to greater discussion within microsystems and hopefully help reduce stigmas surrounding mental illness within PSU’s community.

My IDS program is centered around mental health and I think there isn’t a better way to directly use the knowledge I have gained throughout my program.

Because this night requires significant planning and preparation I will definitely have to stay on track so that everything will be done in time for the event. The best way to go about this would be to set personal deadlines for everything that needs to get done.

A lot of fundraising has to be done as well to have the money to pay for the things we want for the game so the team has a few different fundraising ideas that can help raise money.

This event requires me to closely collaborate with my coach and my teammates Alie and Kassidy because we make up the event coordinators for our team. We meet weekly as a group to go over our tasks for the week and what still needs to be done so that we can make sure everything is being completed on time.

I want to post a synopsis of the event with pictures and maybe some video to my ePort to show how it went.

I will know that my project was successful if we have a good turnout of people and if I put as much effort into it as I’m capable of. We can compare our average attendance with regular games to attendance for this game to see if more people came.

I am also hoping to somehow raise money for a local organization that is involved with mental health. I’m not sure how to go about that since Plymouth State is a non-profit school, but I am working with people from the athletic department to determine how we can make this night as beneficial to the community as we can.

Applied Project Timeline

There are so many other details that I have not discussed in depth with my coach. I have so many ideas that I want to bring to fruition for the game, but I’m not entirely sure what is plausible yet. I hope to have all the details and plans worked out by the end of November.

The game will be taking place on January 25that 6:00 pm. We are planning on designing and ordering custom jerseys for the event. Those jerseys will have to be ordered by in the end of November, beginning of December at the latest to ensure the company has ample time to make and ship the jerseys.

Timeline:

  • Fundraising complete -> beginning to middle of November
  • All the details finalized -> end of November
  • Jerseys designed and ordered -> end of November or Beginning of December
  • All literature, materials, and resources collected and ready to be presented or distributed -> January 18th2019
  • Night of the event January 25th 2019

 

Research Paper and Applied Project Topics

Research Paper Topics:

I am working on the topic of most effective methods for substance addiction rehabilitation because I want to find out which methods have been found the most effective and those that have been found the least effective, in order to help my reader better understand how challenging overcoming addiction can be and how much help people who are addicted to substances need to get through that. This topic is interesting to me because I want to work with people who need help overcoming substance abuse at some point in my life. This would be worthwhile for my community because if I was able to weed out any methods that didn’t have evidence of its validity then I could share it with programs in hopes to improve their methods. The challenges with this topic could be lack of empirical data for different methods, lack of reliable data, or lack of statistically powerful data. Key Disciplines: Psychology, Health, Sociology, Biology.

I am working on the topic of how other countries handle drug abuse because I want to find out what other nations have done to improve addiction rates and drug-related crime rates in their countries, in order to help me reader better understand that the drug policies in the U.S. need to be improved to better the condition of people’s health and lives. This would be worthwhile for my community because it might shed some light on different techniques or programs that have worked for other countries in their efforts to reduce drug use. Some challenges of this research would be that people might not agree with some of the policies that other countries have implemented so it is likely to not be accepted or considered. Key Disciplines: Psychology, Sociology.

I am working on the topic of widespread drug abuse in the U.S. because I want to find out it affects the people around us in order to help my reader better understand that drug use is a serious issue in our country and affects more than just the people using the drugs. This topic is relevant in our society today because so many people abuse drugs and there are so many unintended, negative side affects that come with drug abuse. Some challenges of this could be lack of data or studies done concerning this topic. Key Disciplines: Psychology, Biology, Sociology, Health.

I am working on the topic of substance abuse because I want to find out what factors contribute to the development of an addiction in order to help my reader better understand the seriousness of drug addiction and how it can affect anyone. This topic would be worthwhile in my community because so many people are affected with substance addiction and maybe it would shed light on how easy it is to get sucked into drug use and develop an addiction. Some challenges of this topic would be difficulty finding reliable information and sources or lack or scientifically backed data. Key Disciplines: Psychology, Sociology, Biology.

I am working on the topic of Antisocial Personality Disorder because I want to find out more about it in order to help my reader understand more about it as well and hopefully reduce stigmas surrounding all mental illnesses. This topic is relevant in our community because mental illnesses affect such a large amount of people and we often don’t see it because it’s not a physically observable disease like cancer or other chronic illnesses, but rather something that attacks a person’s brain and psyche. Some challenges of researching this topic could also be a lack of empirical data or variability between people who have Antisocial Personality Disorder. Key Disciplines: Psychology, Biology, Neurology.

Applied Project Topics:

The first idea I have for my applied project is to volunteer or work at the State Hospital. This is interesting to me because I want to work with people who have mental illnesses, specifically in an inpatient setting. It’s important to me because I want to be able to help people who feel trapped and be a person in these places that make them feel loved, safe, and comfortable, and provide an outlet to them in a very challenging time. Some issues with this could be a lack of qualification on my part to volunteer anywhere related to this. I may not reach volunteer requirements.

Another idea I had was to shadow an addiction specialist to see how their day to day is while their working and better understand what they do to help people. I want to see how involved they get to be with the people they work with and learn the techniques and programs they implement to help people who struggle with addiction. This is a worthwhile topic to explore because so many people are affected by drug addiction, so if I could glean any worthwhile information I could try to help those around me who don’t have access to resources. Some challenges of this project could again be a lack of qualification that would keep me from being able to observe a lot of things or lack of addiction specialists in this area to observe.

I also was thinking of volunteering or working at a rehabilitation program or sober living community. I am very interested in this because I eventually want to run a sober living community when I’m older. This is important to me because I want people to change their views on people who struggle with substance abuse and understand that addiction is a mental illness and people do need help. I think it’s a very relevant topic because drug use is an epidemic and I want to help in changing that. Some challenges may be that there aren’t any places in this area that I could do my project at or they may not be willing to let me observe/volunteer due to a lack of experience.

Volunteering at the Becket House was another idea I had for my applied project. I think this would be a very interesting place to do my project. I think this would be worthwhile because I could learn about treatments that are used with different age groups or how much a person or child’s upbringing can affect their current day to day life. Some challenges would be lack of experience or knowledge which could be a danger to the people I’m working with.

A final idea I had for my applied project is shadowing a clinical psychologist. This is interesting to me because I would get to observe people who are being treated for mental disorders that I studied in my classes. I would get to see different treatments being implemented and seeing how these treatments work on different individuals. Challenges of this project may be lack of psychologists in the area that would be willing to let me shadow them or volunteer in their office. As well as any lack of experience that could prohibit me from being there.

My PLN Plan

Jeffrey Zeldman https://flic.kr/p/6bRuzG CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

For my PLN I plan to continue my use of twitter. I have used twitter before to share ideas and hear ideas from other scholars in my field and in others. I think Twitter is a great place to share new ideas or articles that are thought provoking. It also allows you to have discussion with someone who lives on the other side of the world or someone who lives five minutes away. It can facilitate stimulating conversation and is an excellent tool for sharing new ideas and thoughts.

CC BY 2.0 David Leonardo Méndez Hernández https://flic.kr/p/6jzre8

Because I have already used Twitter as a PLN I know how beneficial it can be to your intellectual being. It allows you to hear from well-known scholars from any discipline you can think of and can provide feedback from those same people in a matter of seconds. I don’t mind being public with my PLN. It’s awesome that I can share my ideas and potentially hear from experts on whatever topic I’m discussing. I plan to tweet, retweet, and interact weekly with people I follow and hopefully hear back from them. My PLN will serve me well if I can glean any new insights and information shared by professionals and experts that I follow.

A Book Fell on My Head. I Can Only Blame My Shelf!

Beanbag Amerika https://flic.kr/p/9MtytK CC BY-NC 2.0

Throughout my life I’ve had so many amazing experiences that have shaped my thoughts, interests, and beliefs into expectations for myself and goals to strive for. Growing up I was surrounded by books. My mom was a teacher so she always had access to whatever books I wanted and she never said no to a trip to Borders, a bookstore that used to be in my town. More often than not, I ended up reading all the books that my older brother and neighbors were reading. I grew up on fictional stories and fantasy books like Ranger’s Apprentice and Eragon. To this day, I treasure my books and am always on the lookout for something new to read.

xroper7 https://flic.kr/p/CuNyiK CC BY-NC 2.0

Being in an environment where reading was so encouraged, I quickly found that reading became one of my favorite hobbies and remains so to this day. I remember reading so much that my teachers would take my books away because I would read them incessantly. This upbringing influenced my intellectual journey tremendously and I easily would not have cared about my education the way I do now.

maher berro https://flic.kr/p/4PmN7D CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Another thing that has been more influential in setting the specific goals I have is my faith. The most important thing that I have learned from being a Christian is that God is a God of Love. He Loves us so much that he sent his only son to be nailed on a tree so that we could be saved. With this in mind, It’s now my job to love God and love people. That has been the driving force for my aspirations to work with people who struggle with mental illness or substance abuse. I want to be a person who can love and help someone when they can’t do that for themselves.

Miroslav Petrasko https://flic.kr/p/dcXYCJ CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

I learned that I had an interest in studying mental illness my sophomore year. I took an online Personality class for a psych minor I was working on and I was astounded at how many potential variables play a role in who we grow up to be. My interests were later confirmed my junior year in my Abnormal Psych class where we got to analyze so many different mental illnesses and how they can affect so many different people in so many different ways.

Gemma Bou https://flic.kr/p/dPBYdE CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

I discovered another curiosity of mine my junior year. I took a class called Drug Behavior and a class called Illness, Wellness, and Healing. Drug behavior was centered around different drugs and classes of drugs and how they affect our bodies and Illness, Wellness, and Healing identified more of the social implications of addiction and drug use.

All these things culminated into my decision to become an addiction specialist. I’m hoping that I can do an internship in either a psychiatric facility or with an addiction specialist next semester. Grad school is definitely in my future, but I’m thinking about taking a year off to work and hopefully travel a little bit.

Overall, my intellectual journey has been a challenging, stressful, and demanding one. Yet, it’s also been a joyful, gratifying, and inspiring experience. One I hope can continue for the rest of my life. One I wouldn’t trade for the world’s weight in gold.

 

IDS Intro 2018: A Reflection

CC BY 2.0 Chad Cooper https://flic.kr/p/nVgHb5

As the semester winds down and finals week looms over the horizon, I’ve stopped to relax and reflect during the calm before the storm. This semester has been a whirlwind of assignments, grades, and studying. Obviously, you shouldn’t expect anything less during your junior year of college, but I was still not prepared for how busy this semester was. It was challenging, but I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

When the semester first started I ranked my IDS class at the bottom of the barrel right off the bat. After all it was just an intro class. Just another course I needed to take to create my program. Now I can honestly say I underestimated this course. I’ve learned just as much as any of my other classes, but it’s been a lot more about myself and my education.

I had no idea that interdisciplinarity was even a word before I learned about this program. Somehow I may have been able to piece it together, but I never would have grasped the true importance and meaning of the word.

CC BY-SA 2.0 Dushan Hanuska https://flic.kr/p/sKyrAp

I learned how crucial IDS is to knowledge and education and how it’s always there, but sometimes we just aren’t seeing it. Through this course, IDS has evolved into a pillar of my educational career and has provided the support and foundation for me to pursue my interests. To me, IDS is the integration of a bunch of great things to make one amazing thing. Like my major for example, I’ve taken biology, psychology, sociology, social work, and health education to make a major geared towards mental health and well-being. Without IDS, I would not have been able to do that. I would be stuck in Gen Chem (Yuck) failing miserably because I couldn’t find relevance in any of it.

Now I’ve learned how important relevance in education is in order to succeed. I’ve experienced learning that’s tailored to me and encompasses everything I could possibly want in a major. It’s unreal how much more connected I felt this semester compared to previous semesters.

I’ve learned about OERs and how much they benefit students. Not needing to pay for books is such a weight off your shoulders. It’s much easier to access as well because I can carry around all my textbooks at once without my backpack straps ripping off (that has actually happened to me. Junior high. Not a good time for anyone lol)

CC BY-ND 2.0 Danny Nicholson https://flic.kr/p/8Pr2P7

Connected learning has given me a modern perspective on learning and has shown me how to integrate technology we use on an everyday basis, with my education. It’s brought such a fresh approach to learning and has facilitated learning in an entirely different way. Who would ever have thought twitter could help me learn? Not me (check out how twitter can be used for educational purposes here!), boy was I wrong. Even this blog has been so fun to work with. There’s so much freedom that goes along with both these platforms and I’ve really been able to delve deeper into my style of learning and how important my education really is to me.

It reminds me of an article we read way back in the beginning of the semester about owning my own domain. I never thought about how disconnected many assignments and papers I’ve done have been. There’s been little room to make it my own and I’m always given a list of confines that I NEED to stay within. With twitter and this blog, I was able to branch out so much and connect everything I’ve learned with my major or my experiences.

CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 Mark Chadwick https://flic.kr/p/d2Preb

This connection and integration that is a part of IDS is so important. So many fields and careers rely on different disciplines and cannot be successful without them. One of my blog posts was about IDS in substance rehabilitation programs and how there are so many interconnected parts that are needed for everything to run smoothly. Here a person’s well-being relies on integration of a bunch of different disciplines. That’s where I first understood how important interdisciplinarity can be.

I hope that in the future I will be somewhere that embraces interdisciplinarity and doesn’t trap knowledge into separate compartments. Even here at PSU, I really hope to see IDS branch out and show students, faculty, and staff just how beneficial interdisciplinarity can be for everyone.