Ocean Breeze, Feeling Free

My childhood starts HERE. CC

On a hot summer day on fourth of July weekend, I learned how to do something that I in time, fell in love with. I have been camping since I was about two weeks old at a resort called Wild Acres in Old Orchard Beach, Maine. I would spend all my summer days in this paradise of sunny days, blue salty waves; my personal paradise. One day, I was probably six or seven, my Papa asked if I wanted to do something CRAZY. I responded with “Papa, what kinda crazy are you talkin’ about?!” He replied “The kind of crazy where we take your training

Photo courtesy of me.

wheels off and you become a big girl bike rider.” Needless to say- I was scared, yet very excited. You have to admit that is quite a change for a young child. From being safe and secure on four wheels to relying on myself to balance the bike all while pedaling on TWO wheels. We kept practicing for at least over an hour, until I was confident enough to have my Papa sit down and WATCH me; not follow me in case I fell. I reached a huge goal that day. From that day on all I wanted to do was ride my bike. As I got older, going to the campground meant me being able to take off on my bike; feeling so free.

This memory has really related to my life the past couple years. When I was diagnosed with Stage IV brain cancer and was only given six months to live, I essentially gave up. For all of MAYBE one day. I thought to myself, I guess this life wasn’t meant for me to live. I found myself wallowing in the fait that I was supposedly dealt with. But, why?? EXACTLY. From that moment on all I knew to do, was to fight. Fight, fight, fight. I realized that I was meant to live for so, so, so much more. I struggled when the tumor had grown back as if I hadn’t gone through a single surgery. But, the attitude I had, remained so positive, some would call annoying, and it has only been up from there. August 2016, my treatment plan was discontinued. AMAZING, right?!

I know! The moment they told me I would no longer be receiving Chemotherapy is that same exact feeling that I felt when I was flying down the road on two wheels. Absolutely freeing, with the wind blowing my hair and the biggest smile I have ever smiled. I am a happy person that has been through a lot, but constantly reminding myself that it could always be  worse and to take each day with a grain of salt.

IDS Realizes $h!t Happens!

When I got home from Boston, I was surprised with a new Jeep! Don’t mind how rough I was looking! LOL     Photo Courtesy of Me.

This year has been quite the experience and a damn good one at that! I was in such a rut and just utterly confused about where I was going to take my education. I am so thankful and grateful for the Interdisciplinary Studies Program here at Plymouth State university. This program understands life. Life is unpredictable and can change in the blink of an eye. Did I think I was going to be diagnosed with brain cancer at age NINETEEN? No, of course not. People don’t plan for such drastic life changes at such a young age. And if it strikes your life, you aren’t ready. At least I wasn’t, until I found interdisciplinary studies.

At first I was skeptical about this program because I wasn’t sure what I was actually getting myself into. I felt it was my only option after removing myself from the nursing program, that I worked SO hard to get into. There was no other major in the form of a single discipline that Plymouth State University offered that I felt was “for me”, so to speak. And, I wasn’t about to give up on my education OR waste both time and money on something that my whole heart wasn’t fully devoted to. Madison Roberge, who I graduated high school with, was basically in the same position I was. She is the one who introduced me to IDS and I am so happy she did. I walked into the IDS office a week before classes started, not signed up for any. I assumed the class was going to teach us about IDS, which it did. What I didn’t expect, was to grow such an appreciation and newfound love for IDS.

I went to Inter-Lakes School in Meredith, NH. In seventh grade we learned about the meaning of prefixes and suffixes. The first one we learned was “inter” because of our school name. Inter means between and we were between lakes; Winnipesauke, Waukewan and Squam Lakes. So, I had a sense that this course was a mixture of more than one discipline; combining many different aspects of more than one discipline to create an entire new idea. Throughout the course of IDS my understanding changed. At first, I was taking IDS because I thought it was my only option. But, throughout the semester I realized just how important IDS is. It is SO beneficial to be knowledgeable about many different disciplines because there isn’t a single problem in this world that can be solved with ONE single discipline. I would say that my idea of what interdisciplinary is, is about the same, adding the fact that IDS is a way of life. Sure, it is a way to pursue your education, but it goes way further than that. I would define IDS as a new, necessary, emerging way to learn. I have a strong feeling that IDS will soon become really popular, rather than looked down upon.

I believe my Patient Advocacy program is Multidisciplinary. My program involves more than two disciplines; Health Science, Social Work and Psychology. All three of these disciplines feed off of one another and combined they make one a great patient advocate. Love the analogy Our Textbook gives, of multidisciplinary is like a fruit bowl, where the different fruits represent the different disciplines. Interdisciplinary is more of a smoothie because the disciplines are blended together. Another part of this course I had never thought would be useful, but in reality it SO is, are our ePorts. Our ePorts are where we can post whatever we want, whenever we want. There’s no right or wrong. These ePorts are a way for us to really explain the type of future we want to lead. They express who we are, how we feel, how we learn and SO much more. Personally, I have found my ePort to be a way to cope with my illness. It is never easy for someone to talk about the struggles in their lives, BUT I have found it so much easier to do so through the internet. Before this school year, I was so lost, sad, angry and essentially broken. I was given six months to live and felt okay, why should I even try to further my life if it’s just going to end. Well, here I am, almost TWO years later doing great things with both my education and my life.

I had never ever had a Twitter prior to this course. I didn’t see the need for one because I was already connected with my peers on other social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. I didn’t think a Twitter was ever used for anything other than connecting with your peers, family and friends. Little did I know, that wasn’t true. IDS introduced us to PLN’s, personal learning networks. Twitter was a way for us to expand our knowledge and let our voices be heard all throughout the country. We share our personal goals and share how we feel about certain issues going on in the world. We follow people who surround the field we are pursuing. I constantly have TweetDeck open on my laptop now, go figure. For example, I follow @PatientsRising. They advocate the importance of access to vital therapies and services for patients facing life-altering diseases. Get this, they followed me BACK. I just think it is so cool how PLN’s can build yourself a name. Never did I ever think Twitter was such a valuable use of time. Boy, was I wrong.

One of my favorite reads this semester was The Benefits and Challenges of Interdisciplinarity. This read is from Our Textbook. Being interdisciplinary is so much more beneficial than anyone would ever think. It provides creative breakthroughs, crossdisciplinary oversights, disciplinary cracks, flexibility of research and SO much more. I liked learning about how the Social Change and IDS coincide. Being interdisciplinary in this world we live in today is honestly crucial. The world is constantly changing every single second and cannot be solved with one discipline. Also, IDS gives us “freedom to study our interests, in the way we best comprehend knowledge.” We build our careers in such ways that are custom to US, nobody else. The programs we build in IDS are one of a kind. I would be willing to bet that there aren’t any like programs. That’s one of the MANY reasons why I love IDS.

Interdisciplinarity does matter. In universities, there are many students who feel what they want to do with their education, isn’t offered. In my situation, there is no Patient Advocacy program here at PSU. I did a little research and I didn’t find ANY universities that offer such a program. We shouldn’t have to be forced into choosing a major just because. To be honest, if you really think about it, it is just ridiculous to do so. You are spending both valuable time and money; you better be fully devoted to whatever it is you choose. Also, in relation to my situation, life happens. I was in the nursing program here at PSU, but a medical emergency lead to my short term memory loss. “I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.” It is so comforting to know there is an option for people to build the perfect program based on certain disabilities. I learned a couple weeks ago in my Disease Safety and Environment class that people who suffer from short term memory loss most likely will never regain it. That was disappointing to learn BUT I’ve proven many things wrong and I plan on doing so with that, too!

Interdisciplinarity in the universe is somewhat the same. IDS can tackle complex or practical problems in a way a single discipline cannot. This world is full of complex problems and they don’t have simple solutions. Therefore, interdisciplinary becomes so crucial. Whether you have one person who is interdisciplinary or a few people who focus on a single discipline and come together and combine their knowledge is much more beneficial.

We said yes to the venue last week! Waukewan Golf Club Photo Courtesy of Me.

My future is in God’s hands. My sickness is so unpredictable it isn’t even funny. I hope to be the first person to beat Glioblastoma. In the meantime, I will do everything in my power to advocate and fight for every child, young adult, adult and older adult fighting such a disgusting, horrible disease. I am so proud of the person I have become since my diagnosis. I have stopped caring what other people think and or say. Which, I used to care, A LOT. I finally have a voice and I’m going to use it to the best of my ability to fight for what I believe and what is right. This world is full of SO much bad, I vow to believe in the little good there is left. I never thought this until I lived it, but good things can definitely come from bad things. I am getting married next year, September 8, 2018 to my very best friend. We’ve been through hell and back, but we’re here, happy and loving this life we have created. I hope to one day start a family with Michael if I can have kids, otherwise I would love to adopt. I plan on living a long life, making positive differences in the lives of those suffering from cancer.

I hope that the IDS program here at PSU flourishes beyond its expectations and becomes more accepted by businesses. I hope nobody ever looks at a degree in IDS and thinks any less of it. It should be equal with every other degree out there. I hope people start to realize just how important IDS majors are. People with IDS degrees have thought outside the box and created their own program. If that isn’t admirable, I don’t know what is! IDS people have taken a stand from what is thought to be “normal”. Interdisciplinary studies has absolutely, without a doubt change my life for the better.

My Mom, brother and Dad. Family is EVERYTHING. We decided to get pictures done of the four of us a couple months after I got out of the hospital “just in case”. Photo courtesy of Me.

Semester Favs!

Photo courtesy of me.

One of my favorite courses this semester is Disease, Safety and Environment with Dr. Lynne Bates. This course has been SO interesting. We have learned about the basic diseases and disorders as well as safety when environmental crisis’ strike. We each were assigned a disease at the beginning of the semester; mine is Dengue Fever. We then created a fact sheet, using our textbook, pictured left and the internet, about our disease. The fact sheet contains symptoms, preventions, treatments, where it’s most prevalent and some “fun” facts about our disease. Now, we are creating a web of causation using the software, Inspiration. I had never used, let alone heard of Inspiration. It is a really cool program that I will probably use in the future. The final piece of this semester long project is a power point about ALL the information we have gathered. When we present we should know our disease to a T and sound like an “expert”. Says our professor.

The other really cool project we did was our Safety Presentations. We were split up into groups and were assigned either a safety or environmental issue. Ours was on Natural Disasters.

The picture to the left, is depicting a winter storm. Winter storms are the most prevalent natural disaster here in New Hampshire. Each member of our group had two types of natural disasters and we created a GoogleDoc that explained preparedness, what to do and not to do during and the aftermath. Each group also made pamphlets that had the same information on it and passed it out to every student because the information from every presentation will be on our final. I learned a lot from this project. For example, in Recreational Safety, I had no idea about the Beach Flag Warning System. A Double Red flag means the water is closed to public use. A single Red flag means there are high hazards, such as rough conditions. A Yellow flag means a light surf or current. A Green flag means calm conditions and a Purple flag mean there is marine life present (jellyfish, stingrays, etc.). Also, I did not know that when riding your bicycle, you should use hand signals. I have honestly never seen anyone use them, but I can definitely see why cyclists should use hand signals. It can prevent crashing and injury. Overall this course has taught me so much about so much!

Photo courtesy of me.

Perspectives on Aging with Dr. Annemarie Conlon, who is an advisor for my Patient Advocacy Program, is another great class. This course talks about the concepts of aging, the aging process and how it can affect the individuals as well as the families. Our textbook, Aging Matters by Nancy Hooyman, Kevin Kawamoto, and Asuman Kiyak, goes into how the aging process differs depending on race, socioeconomic status and gender. Our big project in this course is conducting an interview with an adult, 65 and older. I have decided to interview my grandmother. The interview will show how she grew up, the lifestyle she lived, how times have changed. It will also explain her opinion on her current political and social perspectives.

These courses, both connect with my Patient Advocacy program. My program is specific to cancer patients. Cancer was a topic in my Disease, Safety, and Environment course. Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States. We learned all about what cancer actually is, the most common types, the prognosis of cancer and the treatments of cancer. That is so beneficial for me to know as I will be dealing with it every day.

My Gram had Uterine Cancer. She attended events at DHMC Norris Cotton Cancer Center with fellow cancer patients, referred to by her patient advocate. She is now cancer free!

Patients with cancer are primarily older adults. I’m not saying young children and young adults don’t get cancer because they do. I hated seeing children younger than me in the infusion room receiving chemo. It honestly broke my heart. It just isn’t fair and shouldn’t happen. But, thankfully children and young adults are not the majority. The course just explains in fine detail the general aging process which is so vital to me. I hope in years to come my knowledge of disease and aging only excel.

Even though we weren’t suppose to include our IDS course(s), I feel I have to. I am currently in Introduction to Interdisciplinary Studies and it is my other favorite class. I love this class because it has taught me so much about life in general. Discovering the IDS program last fall has honestly changed my life. I had no idea what I was going to do after deciding to remove myself from the nursing program. IDS has allowed me to believe there are absolutely,  good outcomes of bad things. I had essentially lost all hope. I am now more confident than ever with the direction my future is being taken. I wouldn’t be able to have done any of it without this program and IDS team of AMAZING professionals.

 

Interdisciplinary Trends in Higher Education

            The scholarly article that I read was Interdisciplinary Trends in Higher Education by James Jacob. The article explains how it is fully impossible to understand all disciplines of life such as economic, societal, environmental and much more, from one single perspective. By having multiple perspectives, specifically in higher education allows you to think on a completely different level. “Interdisciplinary practices in a higher education refers to the integration of two or more disciplines or fields of study in relation to research; instruction; and programme, certification and/or degree offerings.” The article further goes into how there has been an increase  in Interdisciplinary activities in higher education. But, historically interdisciplinary studies have been looked down upon in higher education. I’m personally baffled at the fact that employers and businesses would rather see a single discipline on a diploma versus having two or more.

            There is a list of ten characteristics that are essential for interdisciplinary teams to be successful.

  • Leadership and management
  • Effective communication
  • Personal rewards, training and development
  • Appropriate resources and procedures
  • Appropriate skills mix
  • Positive and enabling climate
  • Individual characteristics
  • Clarity of a shared vision
  • Quality and outcomes
  • Respecting and understanding roles

In order for Interdisciplinary Studies to be successful in higher education you need ALL of these characteristics. I feel so proud to a part of the Interdisciplinary Studies Program here at Plymouth State University. Our IDS program places seventeenth in the country by bestcolleges.com.

There is evidence that shows an increase in IDS degrees over the past forty years. The most popular IDS fields are public health, political science, biomedical studies, history and music. The article enlightens the fact that employment demands are changing, and changing fast. As I said above, employers did not appreciate IDS degrees, but according to this article, they are finally becoming more open. They need employees that have overall knowledge of multiple disciplines.

I am so proud to be a part of this IDS Program. This article has furthermore justified why Interdisciplinary Studies is so important. I feel as though almost everyone should participate in interdisciplinary studies. Of course, there needs to be people who know strictly about one discipline, for example a heart surgeon. There are no negatives, that I have discovered yet, of interdisciplinary studies. I hope to see Interdisciplinary Studies programs flourish in the near future.

Photo Credit           

Medical Marijuana Cards

 

CC:

         The legalization for medical marijuana has been huge. The legislature of NH approved medical marijuana in 2013. In New Hampshire, cards were available December 2015 and dispensaries opened in the Spring of 2016. There is a background on why the state started issuing medical marijuana cards. A woman with terminal cancer actually sued the state of New Hampshire for an identification card so that she could go to Maine and buy marijuana. Which then, gave the legislation the push to pursue the ID cards.

         There is a list of qualifying medical conditions to be eligible for a medical marijuana card. For a few examples: HIV, Crohn’s Disease, multiple sclerosis, ulcerative colitis, and cancer. Your physician or APRN needs to complete paperwork confirming that you have a “qualifying medical condition”. In bold on www.dhhs.nh.gov, it states that “Your medical provider is required to certify that you have BOTH a condition listed in the first paragraph AND a symptom listed in the second paragraph.” The card in New Hampshire, allows patients to legally possess up to two ounces of marijuana. This also allows them to purchase in other states without fear of facing charges.

          I, personally have a medical marijuana card. I take a spoonful of cannabis oil under my tongue, both in the morning and at night. But there are other forms too; HempVap, Hemp Oil, CanChew, HempOil shots, and more. Ever since we found out about my condition my dad has been doing nothing but researching different things for me to try because he did not like me being on chemo. He says “Chemo is healing you and killing you at the same time because yes it is working right now, but in five years you’ll most likely be diagnosed with another form of cancer.” My grandmother has Multiple Sclerosis and she has a card, too. Marijuana helps alleviate the pain of MS.

Medical marijuana cards combine Health, Science and Criminal Justice. Marijuana has been proven to help control epileptic seizures, help reverse the carcinogenic effects of tobacco and improve lung health, there’s a chemical in marijuana that stops cancer from spreading, and many more. Marijuana has historically been illegal for all things. But, through the evolution of technology and science it has been proven to have SO many positive effects. Through the court system, there are currently twenty-eight states that have legalized medical marijuana. Each state has different laws surrounding the legalization. For example, in California, you can possess eight ounces of usable; six mature or twelve immature plants and in Rhode Island you can possess 2.5 ounces of usable and 12 plants. The creation of medical marijuana cards is a great step forward for health care.

“It is a beautiful thing when a passion and a career come together.”

“The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain until it is secured for all of us and incorporated into our common life.” –Jane Addams

Photo Credit: Library of Congress, LC-DIG-nclc-04836

           The definition of Social Work is organized work directed toward the betterment of social condition of the community, as by seeking to improve the condition of the poor, to promote the welfare of children.  Essentially, through training , social workers utilize their education and caring ways to help one person improve the life of another. I chose this discipline because this is the personal part of my Patient Advocacy program. What I mean by the personal part, is that when patients are going through cancer treatment the patient advocate is there always on your side. They will fight for you and be there no matter. They know your story, your strengths, your weaknesses, your wants and your needs and they will accept nothing less than what you deserve.

            This week we were responsible to read “The History of the Academy and the Disciplines”, “Disciplines as Social Communities” and “Where We Begin”. These readings reassured me that interdisciplinary work is needed. Having different disciplines work with each other is so beneficial in so many ways. For example, in my Patient Advocacy program, you need to be knowledgeable about the human body and brain as well as the legal part of the program and having that compassionate, empathetic personality, that being social work. All the components of my program are so important and feed off of one another. There are quite a few social work organizations that are good resources for information: The National Association of Social Workers, Clinical Social Work Association, and the Society for Social Work Leadership in Health Care. Along with key organizations there are also influential leaders in the discipline of social work. Darrell Wheeler is the president and Kathryn Conley Wehrmann is the vice president of National Association of Social Workers. 

           Historically, social work came about in the 1900’s. Jane Addams was the founder of social work through the creation of the Hull House and is considered the “mother” of social work. The Hull House was a settlement house located in Chicago. Hull House provided so many service including a library and classes. Hull House was employed by some of the most influential women in the social work world. These women fought for changes to working conditions, malnutrition, poor sanitation and much more. Chicago passed child labor laws, laws protecting women and children, and education laws because of these women.

The social works courses that I included in my program primarily surround not only the function and structure of social work, but the health and aging aspects as well. The first social work class I took was Introduction to Social Work. This is the class where I actually learned what social work is and how it operates. Last semester I took Child Welfare and Family Services and this class was so interesting, specifically because we heard from a panel of teenagers who are involved in the system. Hearing their stories was so eye opening. The social work classes Perspectives on Aging and Health and Society have really opened my eyes to how important and needed social workers are. Cancer patients are primarily older in age and it will be really beneficial to be knowledgeable about aging and how it effects both the human body and brain. Health and Society touched upon how environmental factors and surrounding influence one’s overall health.

        On Twitter, I follow Tricia Mullins and Deborah Collyar who are patient advocates. Tricia Mullins is a patient advocate in rare disease and chronic conditions. She published The Evolution of Patient Communities. She is a firm believer in practicing a healthy diet. Deborah Collyar is also a patient advocate, as well as a cancer survivor. She focuses a lot on the research aspect of cancer and shares her findings. Also, on Twitter I follow Patients Rising (@patientsrising). Patients Rising is a group that advocates the importance of vital therapies and services for patients with life altering diseases. This particular group is who I connect with the most on social media. They talk about all different kinds of situations, they pose questions for possible patients and they share personal stories from patients as well.

 

Photo Credit: Gabriela L. LMSW (NYC)

“I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination”

Patient Advocacy

Surrounded by all my “good luck” charms

           My program that I have created is Patient Advocacy. My program includes Health Science, Psychology and Social Work. I was a nursing major, but I had a medical problem that has affected my short term memory. I felt I wouldn’t be a successful nursing major because of it so I removed myself from the program to save me from wasting both time and money. I created this program because I have cancer and I can’t even explain how much Patient Advocates have helped me through my tough times. Plymouth State University doesn’t offer a major that meets these specificities.

            I have wanted to be a nurse ever since I can remember.  I have a passion for helping people of all ages. Nurses are the most caring, selfless kind of people out there. I worked my tail off in high school to get into nursing school. I had never been more proud of myself than when I received that acceptance letter. I completed my freshman and sophomore year of college here at Plymouth State University and was so excited that I would be starting clinicals the winter of my junior year. The summer of 2015 turned my life completely upside down. I was working at Meredith Marina as an office assistant and the gas dock girl on the weekends. I had been having constant migraines that would just not go away. I was essentially living off of Excedrin. I would have to leave work early at least twice a week. This went on for about three weeks and then I just couldn’t take the pain any longer. I went to the eye doctor to see if my prescription had changed, causing the migraines. During my exam he noticed that there was fluid behind my eyes. They called my PCP to set up an appointment, but the soonest they had wasn’t for two weeks. In the meantime, I went home. I decided to Google my symptoms. The constant migraines that would get worse at night when I would lay down and the sensitivity to light led me to the description of a brain tumor. I told my family that’s what I had. Of course, they kept saying “Tiffany Lynn, you do not have a brain tumor.”

              On August 5th, 2015 I just couldn’t deal with the pain. I went to the emergency room at Speare Memorial Hospital in Plymouth. I had an MRI and they did in fact see a mass. I was quickly med-flighted to Mass General Hospital in Boston. I was rushed into the ER where they did my first surgery, which I was awake for. Obviously, I was numbed, but I could hear the sawing and drilling of my skull. They inserted an EVD, which is an external drain so that the fluid could drain off of my brain. The doctors said your brain can reach up to a level twenty-five in pressure and I was at a level twenty. They don’t know how I was functioning “normally” with no seizures or passing out. I had three more surgeries following; a biopsy, removal of the tumor and a permanent shunt. A ventriculoperitoneal shunt is placed in the ventricles of my brain that relieves pressure off of my brain by draining the fluid. The shunt runs all the way to my stomach. The biopsy revealed I had Stage IV, Glioblastoma. I spent the entire month of August there. When I came home, I had to go to Dartmouth Hitchcock, Norris Cotton Cancer Center five days a week for radiation and took chemo pills every night. After six weeks, an MRI showed the tumor had grown back as if I hadn’t undergone a single surgery. They had to make a quick decision and decided to put me on IV chemo every two weeks and high dose chemo pills every six weeks. As of the first week of August 2016, they discontinued my treatment plan because my tumor has shrunk 70% and was stable for a constant three MRI’s. I suffer from short term memory loss because of all the surgeries. I decided to not continue with Plymouth State University’s nursing program because of it. I then was faced with, okay, what should I do now? I decided to join Interdisciplinary Studies at Plymouth State University to create the perfect program for me.

            During my treatments, there was always a patient advocate who would check on me during my appointments. She would ask me how I was feeling, what I was thinking about what I was going through and told me about numerous events that I could attend with fellow cancer patients. She was amazing through my entire experience. Then it clicked, I decided that is what I was meant to do.

            I am a caring, kind, selfless person who wants nothing but the best for every single individual. I constantly am wearing a smile on my face, despite everything I have gone through. To become a Patient Advocate, specifically for cancer patients, is now my dream. I have lived it. I know what it’s like. And because of my personal experience, I feel I would be such a great Patient Advocate. Since I have always wanted to be a nurse, this is the next best thing. I will still be working in a hospital, just doing something a little different. And, who knows, maybe someday I will regain my short term memory and will be able to complete nursing school and become an R.N.

            Plymouth State University has an abundance of different programs, but not one that fits my program. Sure, there are Health Science majors, but that doesn’t touch upon the aspects on being a compassionate caretaker. My plan is to combine Health Science, Psychology and Social Work courses to complete my Patient Advocacy Program.

            I decided to include the following courses for my program. Genetics for Nurses and Disease, Safety and Environment, which I feel go hand in hand with each other. Genetics for Nurses touches upon outcomes of what can happen biologically. Specifically, the roll genetics plays during development and how. For example, when there is extra genetic material from chromosome twenty-one it can cause Down Syndrome. Disease, Safety and Environment, I am currently taking now and we go over many, many different types of diseases, and how you can prevent them. Also, these two classes outline the Social- Ecological Model of Behavior Change. This model has four spheres of influence. It starts with the Environment, specifically policies and places. Then moves into the Culture norms around you. After that, it goes to Inter, which consists of your surrounding peers and social networks. The last part of this model is Intra. Intra is your own personal knowledge, beliefs and skills.  Sex and Family Living Education I felt to be a good course to take and include in my program because it went over all of the STD’s. We learned the anatomical structures of the female and male genitalia I feel are very important to know because there are many different kinds of cancers in that area. This course also explains the different social networks of people as well as interpersonal relationships.  Human Anatomy and Physiology is so important for my program. We learned all the bones in the body and all the veins and arteries as well. That’s important for my program because when patients describe certain areas of pain, I will know where on the body it’s coming from. I felt Perspectives on Aging would be a great course to take because the majority of cancer patients are older. I am currently enrolled in the course and have already learned so much about the process of aging. I chose to take Introduction to General Psychology, Life Span and Development Psychology and Adolescent Psychology because they help understand the human brain and body. They also explain how the body develops. I included Mathematics and the Humanities as my QRCO because it touches upon the human race and how the two go hand in hand. This fall I took Health and Society. It’s a good addition to my program because it taught about different health care systems all around the world, which I most definitely encounter being a Patient Advocate. As my TECO, I chose Applied Nutrition for Healthy Living. It’s really important for not only cancer patients, but the entire human race to practice a healthy diet. For cancer patients though, for example you have to really pay attention to your sugar intake because cancer in fact feeds off of sugar. I have yet to take Drug Behavior, but I think it’s a great class to include because not only do most cancer patients receive many different types of chemo, patients can also have a previous drug addiction that needs to be dealt with. I know when I was going through treatment I was under a lot of stress. So, I decided Stress Management was a good course to include. I can give patients different techniques to relieve stress. Also, cancer patients go through psychological stress. Psychological stress is having emotional, mental and or physical pressure. If cancer patients are under distress it just leads to a lower quality of life. Learning and knowing stress management techniques and relaxation have a much higher quality of life. As my WRCO, I chose Technical Communication. There is a lot of technology that is used in hospitals, specifically computers. It will be really important for me to know how to properly use a computer and the program that they use.

            My program is interdisciplinary because it combines courses from three different fields of study: Health Science, Psychology, and Social Work. In order to be a patient advocate you have to combine different subjects because you have to be knowledgeable about science, the human body and how to work with families and people. This program will prepare me for my future because this is what I want to do with my life. I want to be a patient advocate for cancer patients. This program is specific to exactly what I want to do.

 

Interview with Dr. Annemarie Conlon

        On February 10th, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Annemarie Conlon. This is her first year teaching at Plymouth State University. Dr. Conlon enjoys walking for fun. She actually has a current goal of 7,000 steps a day, but is soon upping her goal to 10,000 steps a day. She loves her Fitbit. A fun fact about Dr. Conlon is that she has been performing hypnosis since she was 14. She has earned four degrees. She received her BA in Psychology from New York University, her MBA from Pace University, her MSW from the University of Houston and her PHD from The University of Texas at Austin.

        She teaches health and aging courses. What inspired her to teach these types of course was that she worked at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. The patients she worked with had lung cancer and were mostly 65 and older. She explained how she is currently working with Dr. Kathy Patenaude in Nursing and Dr. Barb McCahan in Health and Human Performance, to develop a new program at the University; Healthy Aging Initiative. She said the biggest challenge thus far in working with other professors outside her field is time and having conflicting schedules. She said a benefit is that each profession brings in new information to learn and know. So, she is in the process of doing interdisciplinary work, but she actually used the term Interprofessional. She did have some course recommendations for students who major in her department, to take outside of her department. She suggests biology and the psychology class that talks about death and dying. Also, students who want to run an agency should definitely take business courses. If they want to work with children and families, they should consider some criminal justice classes.

        I then asked her if she could combine her field of study with another, what would it be. She responded with nursing. She is a health care social worker and she thinks it would be the perfect combination. Dr. Conlon also feels that this combination will allow students to provide all around adequate care to all patients. I then ended with asking her how she works with non-academics in her life and she said that because she in new to the area that all her friends are academic at the moment. I thoroughly enjoyed interviewing Professor Conlon and really hope to see Healthy Aging become a program here at Plymouth.

Interdisciplinary Is the Way to Go

The Web We Need to Give Students

By Audrey Watters

Do I Own My Domain If You Grade It?

By Andrew Rikard

Colleges Must Reconstruct the Unity of Knowledge

By Vartan Gregorian

          Why must colleges force us to pick and focus on a specialized degree? When applying for college you are required to pick a specific major in which you have end goals of what you will be doing after college. For example, if you major in education, it must mean you want to pursue teaching of some sort. Well, what if you wanted to combine, say education, the wilderness and art? Here at Plymouth, there is no major that surrounds all three of those aspects. Interdisciplinary Studies allows to combine many different “majors” to create a desired field of study. I feel that there is not one time where you are only using one specific discipline. There is always more than one.

          These three readings touched upon this idea. Specifically, in the Gregorian reading, it touches upon how professors should be able to include other disciplines than the one they teach because in some ways they all interconnect. Team teaching would be SO beneficial to students. We do not want to live the Home Depot theory. Which is, when you go into Home Depot looking for electrical supplies and have a question, usually, the only person(s) who can answer your question is the one working in that department. In life, we want to be knowledgeable of more than one specific topic.

          One of my favorite takeaways from these readings is that we should really rid the term GenEds. I so agree with this. Students are thinking of GenEd classes as fillers and are not really caring or thinking about what they actually are. Instead, they should be looking at how they can expand their desired choice of field study’s knowledge. In the Gregorian text, when describing interdisciplinary “Better understanding of the relationships and connections between all fields that interact and overlap (Economics and Sociology, Law and Psychology, Business and History).”

          I don’t know anyone who isn’t connected to the world through social media and technology. I am such a fan of domains. Domains provide a place for our work to essentially live forever and can be accessed when need be. Students are allowed to take ownership of their work, where they can be credited for it. These readings really explained how interdisciplinary is so much more beneficial than the opposite. I don’t see how combining different fields of study couldn’t be anything but a positive decision.