Interdisciplinary Success Story

Interdisciplinary does not have to be studied in college in order to be successful throughout different disciplines. When it comes to disciplines; the most different, unique subjects can be related and intertwined together to create an extremely successful career. A real-life interdisciplinary success story that comes to mind would be my own mother, Susan Smith.

Susan Smith
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Photo Taken By: Peter Webster

When I told her I wanted to use her as a success story in interdisciplinarity she looked at me as if I was crazy. I told her that she had used all these different disciplines she’s covered throughout her life to create a successful business of hospitality. She has owned Cottage Place on Squam Lake for 15 years now and each year has surpassed the last. Susan Smith got a degree in Social Work and her M.Ed: Guidance and Counseling.   Her first professional position was with Endicott College as an Admission Counselor, which then led to an Assistant Director of Admission for Plymouth State University. The disciplines she learned here helped her continue through her life both professionally and personally. She also spent time as a traveling guidance counselor for K-4th grade. This gave her a huge advantage in the discipline of social work as well as knowing how to talk to younger people considering they are now all over her property thought out busy vacation times.

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Picture By: Cappi Thompson

After her time at Endicott, Sue Smith went home to Plymouth State and was Assistant Director of Administration for the university. Even though these were non-profitable positions, Sue learned multiple transferable skills while her time at those locations. She learned the disciplines of business and the way administration works on basic levels at the university. These business skills she learned stayed with her and are still used at Cottage Place on Squam Lake today.

Squam Lake
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Picture Taken By: Mackenzie Palmer

After this position, Susan Smith was promoted to the Director of Alumni Relations at PSU. This job has helped Sue with many skills in the management discipline as well as more business skills. Throughout her time at PSU, Susan Smith never thought she might own her own business but was so eager to learn new knowledge through every step of her life. This is the truth behind interdisciplinarity at its finest. After learning these business skills at the university, Susan used her transferable skills to become the Manager and Buyer for the Common Man Store in Ashland, New Hampshire. Here is where most of my mother’s skills of business and management were put to use. At PSU, she got a taste of these disciplines but at the store is where she was able to use hands on skills to really pursue the discipline of business.

Picture By: Rober Nunez
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Not only was the discipline of business and management put to use at the store, but also the area of organization, composition, and customer service. These areas are key skills to have in order to own a business. All of these different disciplines led my mom to buy a property on Squam Lake and truly flip it in order to be successful. Her organizational skills allowed her to flip the cottages and create a cozy, cottage feel in each of the cottages and suites on the property.

Photo Taken By: Robert Nunez
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Knowing she would need a lot of furniture and supplies for the 16 areas on the property, Susan Smith bought into the business of Boomerang downtown, Plymouth, New Hampshire. This was a smart business idea because having access to furniture for her own use at cheap prices allowed her to fill the space she had. Susan Smith is always thinking and making connections in order to create a stronger career path and that is truly what interdisciplinarity is all about. The connections she has made in different disciplines has led her to where she is now which is hosting events at the Cottage Place on Squam Lake. She hosts open houses for her attached gift store to the office as well as “Newfember”. Susan loves and has been apart of the Newfoundland Association for years now and of course, has found a connection to the disciplines. She creates business for herself at the Cottage Place by advertising (another discipline she knows an immense amount about) a weekend in November for Newfoundland owners to come to the property for a fixed rate while hosting events throughout the weekend for them.

Created By: Nathalie Palmer
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Her first year was such a success; she now does two weekends in November. Not only am I proud to call Susan Smith my mother but also a success story of interdisciplinarity without even studying it in college. Her will to always gain more information and use it to excel herself into her own future is what Interdisciplinary Studies is all about. Every discipline she has learned in her past has led her to her successful life of a business owner and truly is a success story to myself and should be considered one to other interdisciplinary students around the world.

Here is a link below to the Cottage Place on Squam Lake, check it out and book a stay!!!

Cottage Place on Squam Lake


2 thoughts on “Interdisciplinary Success Story”

  1. What a pleasure to read this wonderful accounting of your mom’s story! I think more than anything, it really demonstrates how every new experience, class, job– everything is part of the education that we can ultimately draw on to take our next steps. And it really shows how having varied skills and perspectives can ultimately be the perfect recipe for doing something we never could have predicted at the outset. I think the sense that life is dynamic and always evolving is such a good reason for thinking of ourselves as interdisciplinarians, amassing expertise that we can put together in new configurations over and over again through our lives. I really loved this story!

  2. There are a few grammar issues here and there, so if you want to polish it up, consider popping into our office and letting us help! Or the Writing Center could assist as well. It’s a solidly written post, but before sharing too widely, you may want to give it one more polish…

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