My Interdisciplinary Education

During my time at Swarthmore, I have taken classes in a range of fields—from Chemistry to Theater to Political Science to Linguistics to Film and Media Studies. Since I’m currently studying abroad, I tell my Australian friends this and they can’t believe it. Down under, they focus on one or two fields from the start, with my friends focusing on “commerce” (lots of economics and business) or “communications” (marketing, public relations, etc.) for their entire degree. This concept seems so foreign and off to me, largely because of the positive impact that Swarthmore’s focus on an interdisciplinary education has had on me.

Let’s flash back to last semester when I was at Swarthmore, when I decided to really focus my efforts on Film and Media Studies classes after having a wider range of courses during my previous three semesters….

While my schedule back then wasn’t necessarily typical of an “average” Swattie (is there even an average Swattie?), I decided to enroll in three production courses and one theory-based film class. So altogether, I took Integrated Media Design, Digital Film Fundamentals, Lighting Design, and TV/New Media. Rather than detail my favorite parts of each class in particular, I really want to talk about how all aspects of my Swarthmore education converged to propel my interests and inform what I do both inside and outside the classroom.

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Working with my directing partner for our first film short in Digital Film Fundamentals

Because my course schedule was so focused, I was able to connect a lot of topics used in each class. The film techniques I learned in Digital Film Fundamentals were applicable to the projects in my Integrated Media Design course as well as my analysis in TV/New Media. 

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Filming The Real World: Swarthmore, our class project for TV/New Media

But beyond just last semester, I’ve noticed how truly interdisciplinary my entire Swarthmore education is. And professors here do an amazing job of creating an interdisciplinary environment within each class. 

In my Intro to Education class freshman spring, I was able to use knowledge from my political science, economics, and linguistics courses to add to class discussions and my professor welcomed us bringing in any outside knowledge. This education course in particular stands out as a favorite of mine not only because of how interdisciplinary it was, but because we got to spend three hours each week helping out in a local classroom. I got to take the train to an elementary school 15 minutes away and assisted in a joint Kindergarten/1st grade classroom where I helped the class put together a theater performance throughout the semester!

Overall, Swarthmore has been a place where I’ve been allowed to explore a range of topics that interest me—regardless of how different they may seem—which allows me to better connect different topics and issues I encounter each day whether on campus, at an internship, or back home in Los Angeles.

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This is the poster for my FMST 002: Digital Film Fundamental course screening, where the 8 students got to show off their best short films for the Swarthmore community.

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