One of the best decisions I made throughout my college career was switching my major to IDS (Interdisciplinary Studies). This major allows students to create their own learning path and get a degree for it. For my major I chose the Business of Health Promotion. My main focus while building this major was to connect domains that I am thoroughly interested in. This led me to Business and Health. The major itself allows me to keep my options open when it comes to a career. The way I built my major was to allow myself the option of marketing and selling through the business world of health. There are many health companies that need representatives to market and sell their products successfully and my major would meet the criteria. The other route my major could take me would be on the promotional end of the spectrum. There are many health companies that are starting off or just need to be promoted though networking, social media, and customer relations. I would feel confident doing either focus based upon the classes I took and the major I built.
For my Applied Project, I chose to shadow/ meet with a local business owner. I chose to meet with Susan Smith the owner of Cottage Place on Squam Lake. Sue and I met six times over the course of this semester for an hour each time. I decided to use this opportunity for my applied project because through social media, I have seen all of Sue’s marketing and networking she has done and really wanted to grasp her decision making, marketing strategies, and reasoning behind her event planning. I also decided to do this because my research topic discussed the negative effects of social media and I wanted to show and explain how social media can be extremely positive through a business view. This project contributed to my education deeply. Not only was I able to make connections to my business courses while meeting with Sue, but also I was able to discuss her business on a marketing level and feel confident in what I was saying and understanding. I learned a lot about timing events and timing marketing through social media platforms. Sue had a marketing explanation to every timed event depending on the season, weather, and even time of the day. This project also contributed to my education because I do see social media as a negative when the “bigger picture” comes into play, but after this project, I’ve learned that it truly is the present and the future in the business world as well as the networking world.
For my research article, I chose the topic of how social media negatively effects mental health. After researching different mental illnesses, I chose three specific ones; anxiety, body dysmorphia, and depression. Social media affected these three mental illnesses the most. The reason I chose this topic was because of the Mental Health Issues course I took in the fall of 2017. There is a huge stigma on mental health and it is unfortunately real for many individuals. Before the course, I would say I had a small stigma towards the topic, but by the end I completely changed my mind. Diseases occur all over organs in your body, but not the brain? So as a strong advocate for mental illness, I wanted to find ways to control and prevent added symptoms. I personally have had social media affect my moods, attitude, and self talk. I realized this could be a huge contributor to mental illnesses and wanted to research the outcome. This topic relates to my education because it goes hand and hand with my major. I wanted to promote mental health and help others realize how important it really. This also contributed to my education because it broadened my understanding of health as a whole. I have focused a lot on physical health and nutrition throughout my college career and wanted to widen my knowledge of the health field. I am confident in my knowledge of mental illness even more after writing my research paper.
In conclusion, I learned a lot through the Senior Seminar course. My applied project and research article express positive and negative aspects of social media. This was educational because I could compare and contrast my results of both assignments to really see a bigger picture. Through being IDS major, the courses I have taken, and the experiences along the way, I can confidently say my learning skills are where they need to be in order to face life outside of college. This route I have taken will impact my future greatly because of the concepts this course has provided. For example, how does anyone know a black swan exists unless they see one? This question explains the ideas behind researching the ideas you don’t know rather than researching the ones you do. I also know that the networking skills I have learned through this major will follow me into my career. Social media is the present and future and knowing how to network through each platform will advance my work a lot. On a more spiritually level this course has taught me to always ask questions, explore the unknown, and take control of your own learning. I am going to end this reflection the same way I started it; one of the best decisions I made throughout my college career was switching to IDS. I strongly recommend this path for others who are motivated to work, but find it hard without strong passion and love for their interests.