Intellectual Journey through IDS.


  • I am from a small town in Massachusetts called Fairhaven, very blue collar area where people grow up, get a job and then find themselves at 50 in the same house they grew up in. Although for many, this is a great and totally life enriching path of which to follow, I just am not one of those people. I knew while still in high school that I wanted to do something more, to create, to aid, to help others, to listen and to love my job whatever it may be. I applied to colleges all over the country,  in Arizona and Missouri, even Iowa!!! However obviously I did not pursue any of those university’s as I am in my fourth year here at Plymouth state. 


  • However I do think my desire to get far away stayed constant in my personality, as I embarked on a year long study abroad trek across Europe as a Junior. I moved my whole life in two suitcases for a 4 month stay in Sevilla, Spain, a city that taught me more than I could’ve ever imagined and has imprinted itself on my heart forever. Sevilla will always be my first love in regard to European cities, which is why I think it’s so special. Intellectually speaking, after my first 2 weeks of ridiculously intensive Spanish coursework, I broke down and cried to Robin via email that I just could not become a Spanish translator (my original program’s intention). Turns out vigorously studying the Spanish language was not for me, and to become a translator I needed an obscenely high level of proficiency in the language that I wasn’t willing to study for. That’s okay though, because this choice to construct my major around wanting to translate Spanish for sociological purposes wasn’t my passion anyways! So I changed my major all around to reflect the writer inside of me that I never really let roam free before, and decided to make some alterations in my major to compliment this decision. Now I set out for my second semester in Edinburgh, Scotland as an aspiring journalist for sociological purposes. I wrote constantly, about all sorts of stuff. I had this neat little flat next to a canal that was littered with calming, fresh day light and I found this space to be very helpful for introspection. In this time I was reading like two books a month, some really great ones I like to recall are: The Social Constructs and Discourses by Jean Jaques Rousseau, Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly, The Stranger in the Woods by Michael Finkel, The Sound of Gravel by Ruth Wariner, and lastly Pachinko by Min Jin Lee.  By reading all this good nonfiction stuff I came to another realization, I hate reporting but I love to tell peoples stories. By reading all those books (and others unmentioned) I began to elevate my interest in why people behave the way they do with each other considering what has happened in their minds prior. So many literally CRAZY stories of love, lost, repeated history, reclusion, hard work and a million other characteristics that hadn’t been explained, because well, it’s just a story.


  • But I wanted to take it further, why does so much of what is in The Social Constructs and Discourses seem ridiculously apparent 300 years later? Why did Lilac Girls illustrate such alternative perspectives between women of the same generation but different nationalities during WW2?  Why did the hermit who’s the main character in The Stranger in the Woods retreat the way he did for nearly 30 years alone in the heart of a Maine State forest? All the books I had read left me with that question of “Why?” And this is where I found that I’m acutely interested in the psychology responsible for social interactions and behaviors. Now my major reflects more of that kind of field of research. I am deeply intrigued by how the social constructs of different cultures prepare them for a cultural diverse setting, and believe this may be a strong option for my research paper.


  • All the roads to lead me to where I am have been substantial and worthy, except for the one I followed before I got to college. I would say my intellectual journey before I got to college (I was a first year IDS major) largely depended on my parents and their views of the world. I didn’t really establish any of my own personally found knowledge until I got to college. I thought I didn’t need it honestly. Coming from a small high school where everyone idolized the ones in the top of our class and then swiftly forgot about the other 175 graduating seniors left me with a sour taste in my mouth about being knowledgable. However what I did not know, is that knowledge can mean anything you want it to mean, and not what other people tell you what it has to constitute as. This is why interdisciplinary studies didn’t just give me the tools to start a college career in something I find fascinating, but it gave me the tools to defy what I had always known, and create something new and great for myself. 
  • My IDS application essay is good for the trash at this point as it has been altered SO considerably throughout my colligate journey, but I do think it is an interesting piece to look back on. I was so different than I am now, I feel like I almost wouldn’t notice myself 4 years later. My ideologies, beliefs, methods, hopes and aspirations have completely been taken under the knife by no one other than myself honestly. People have effected me in numerous ways throughout my intellectual journey, however I was the one who allowed those ideas and knowledge to penetrate my hard exterior. For this reason alone, I can thank the team of leaders at IDS to show me that new or different isn’t wrong, it’s just unique. And I think that’s something to celebrate! 

One thought on “Intellectual Journey through IDS.

  1. Taryn, I really enjoyed reading your journey through the program! I couldn’t agree more that without all of these unexpected changes in our majors that we wouldn’t have been able to find what we truly love to do the most.


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