As a college student, I know first-hand how vital it is to be taking the right amount of classes that are required for your degree plan. After all, we’re all here to get our degree, right? However, as most of us in the first few years of college may feel, we have no idea what we want to pursue or major in. And it’s okay to feel like that. I felt like that many many times during my freshman year of university, and I’m still trying to figure it out.

That’s why I’ve decided to write a blog post about the advantages of taking interdisciplinary classes. If you don’t know what interdisciplinary classes are, they’re basically courses that draw from two or more academic disciplines that work together to integrate learning and critical thinking amongst students. It could range from taking a liberal arts course like Philosophy to an engineering course or to even a coding class. The main idea is that you’re taking a course that may be outside of your “typical” degree plan and of your comfort zone but that will definitely help you to see what you like and what you don’t like.

For example, during my first semester of freshman year in college, I took a drama class that was completely different from what was expected of me as a mathematics major. However, it contained an Art History credit, and as that was part of my core degree plan, I decided to go ahead and take the class. Now, I wouldn’t say that I absolutely loved the class, but I really did enjoy reading a lot of the Shakespearan plays (anyone else a fan of Twelfth Night?) and attending student-led plays on campus for extra credit. Of course, after taking the class, I didn’t have this huge epiphany where I’ve decided that drama is now my life, but that class made me realize how much I enjoyed writing and thinking critically. That’s when I started to wonder if I should perhaps pursue a double major or even a minor!

The reason why I shared this personal example of mine is to reassure you guys that you don’t have to take interdisciplinary classes that don’t account for your degree plan in any way at all. I know some of us can only take classes that are specific towards our major/minor/certificate and we have no space in our schedules to take a class outside of that. And that’s okay. However, if you can try and branch out in your core classes and take classes that are completely different from what your major entails, I think it would help open your eyes to a world of possibilities out there.

Furthermore, I’ve listed three great reasons as to why taking interdisciplinary classes are absolutely essential to your college career.

1.) It’s great for students that have specific interests that can’t be met through a traditional degree plan. 

This is true. If you like writing persuasive essays but you can’t get that same experience in your engineering courses, then, by all means, go ahead and take courses that revolve around writing. You never know, you may end up pursuing a minor or a certificate in a creative writing concentrated area that may complement your major.

2.) You can learn new skills such as critical thinking, synthesis, or even research! 

Employees love to hire those who display a wide range of skills, from critical thinking to analytical thinking. Believe it or not, but many employers would actually prefer if applicants had unique skills that aren’t typically required for the job that can help improve the workplace and the job as a whole.

3.) You might find a particular issue/subject that you are passionate about. 

This is definitely true. Perhaps you still love the major that you’re in as of right now (which is completely okay!), but maybe you have other interests that you’re also wanting to pursue. And as I’ve said before, these interests could actually align with your major and help you stand out amongst other applicants when applying to graduate school, medical school, law school, or even to a job.

Ultimately, these are just a few reasons as to why you should take interdisciplinary classes! They might help cater towards a particular interest that you support, you can learn new skills that will help you later on, and you can stand out amongst others when applying to potential schools/jobs. Just remember that sometimes you have to put yourself out there and try new things because you never know what you may expect. Who knows, you might end up surprising yourself just like I did!