How IDS Has Changed My Life

Rounds Hall- Plymouth State University

I came to Plymouth to become a teacher and I stayed for the people. I tell this to my tours every time I have one. To describe just one experience that I have had that has changed the way I view the world is almost impossible. Every single day that I have been on this campus has contributed to make me the person I am today. Working at the SAGE Center my first year at college opened my eyes and heart so wide. Discovering the Counseling Center my sophomore year saved my life in more ways than one. Being Student Body President allowed me to meet so many amazing people and do things I would have never imagined doing by the time I was 22. Working in Admissions and traveling with counselors has opened so many doors for me. But there is one experience that has changed my life forever, and that is the Interdisciplinary Studies Program.

Like I said earlier, I came to PSU to be a Health Teacher. And that is just what I did for my first seven semesters of college, the only thing left between me and that certificate was my final semester and student teaching. The summer leading into my Senior year I realized that I no longer wanted to be a teacher for a number of reasons, but I was just going to continue in the program because I was almost done. About one month into the Fall semester of my senior year I knew I had to change something in my life, because I was no longer happy with what I was doing.

The Quest:

Fall Leaves and Ayla Feet

My soul search, as well as an actual search, to find my happiness began almost instantly. I was researching graduate programs, attempting new coping skills for my anxiety about teaching, and searching for a way out of student teaching. I was so scared and nervous to tell people, because I always like to seem like I have my life together. I remember the first person I told that I didn’t want to teach; Dr. Shedd stood up from her desk and walked over to the couch where I was in tears and gave me a hug. She told me how proud she was of me and how everything was going to be okay.

After that day the news just poured out of my mouth. I needed to find out if there was any way to graduate on time, with a degree, and without having the last seven semesters go to waste. My emailing was endless, my answers unclear, and my time was running out. By the end of the week I had a list of names, some meetings, and somewhat of a plan.

I’ll skip to the part where I get happy!!

The meetings all led me to Dr. Robin DeRosa, the Chair of the Interdisciplinary Studies Program (IDS). She informed me that it could work. Could being the key word here, because I would have to build a program that was brand new from the courses that I had already taken and sell it as something unlike anything else at PSU. I also would have to take the Intro and Capstone classes at the same time, which is basically crazy.

Photo By: Sara Noyes

Call me crazy!!! The next day I had an appointment with Dr. Shedd (my Women’s Studies Advisor) and Dr. Busanich. Both of these women have been such supporters of me over the past few years and both have expertise in the fields that I was wanting to combine, health and women’s  studies. This meeting went better than I ever could have imagined. We had workshop and picked every single class that I was going to include in my program.

Fast forward to Spring semester of my Senior year. I was in a new major, I had a new life plan, and I was finally happy. Being a part of such an amazing major such as IDS, even for the short amount of time I have been, has already changed my life so greatly. I have found my voice in academia. I am able to stand up for what I believe in inside and outside of the classroom for the first time in my life. I am in control of my education and how I spend my time, and oh do I wish I had found it sooner.

Plymouth State University Panther Statue

It truly took a village to get me where I am today. Without the support of all of the staff I interacted with through my college career and this journey in particular I wouldn’t be here. I have found my bliss at Plymouth, but I came here for an education and I stayed for the people.



**This was my Top 20 Essay, which I just recently found out I was selected for**

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2 thoughts on “How IDS Has Changed My Life

  1. Sometimes I can’t believe that you were with us for such a short time! You’ve become a key part of our IDS community, and I feel sad to see you come and go so quickly, but I know we will stay in touch. You’ve brought so much to PSU, and I’ve enjoyed your leadership in the Cluster conversations, your feisty feminism, and your wit and kindness… Such a lovely piece of writing about our program, and we are so lucky to count you as one of our own!

  2. Ayla, I’m so glad you have found your place! You will be amazing at whatever you do, and you have certainly left your mark on PSU. Please know you will be greatly missed!

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