Interdisciplinary education should extend beyond the classroom

John David Thompson | Staff Columnist

In college, students must focus their efforts and studies to one particular area of study. While that is great, you can miss out on learning many great things and challenging your brain. Creating an interdisciplinary approach to college is a crucial way to learn.

The challenges that society now faces are different from those in the past and will require creative and holistic solutions. Thus, a holistic approach to education is imperative. All subjects, math, science, literature, etc., are ?ultimately intertwined. Just as the disciplines in your classes are woven together, so are the ?challenges the world faces today.

You can take an interdisciplinary approach to your education without even enrolling in any more classes. The University of Alabama has thousands of events each year to expand your horizons. Go listen to an author with whom you are unfamiliar speak, or attend a concert at the School of Music or a performance by the Department of Theatre ?and Dance.

Simply witnessing an art form, like opera, that you may not be familiar with will make you smarter. This list of ?opportunities is unending. The best part is that most of these events are free to attend, or ?nearly free. Now is the time to take advantage of this opportunity, because never again will you have the opportunity to attend such events for such a low cost.

When you expose your mind to new art forms, you are opening yourself to a whole new world. For example, music, among other art forms, provides a rather unique window into the past. Quite often the mood of a particular period is expressed through the art and music produced. The Beatles’ music represents the mood of many Americans in the 1960s. Such has been the purpose of art for centuries.

Thus, it is important to go and enjoy art, and research it as well. You never know what you might learn. For example, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3 was originally dedicated to Napoleon Bonaparte, as Beethoven was a great admirer.

College is a period of intense personal growth. During your time here, you will learn a ?massive amount about yourself and about the world. In a world that is only growing smaller and more competitive, you have to use every resource to make yourself the best.

The University of Alabama provides countless opportunities to further your education ?outside of the classroom. It is ?your responsibility to take advantage of as many of these ?opportunities as you can.

John David Thompson is a ?sophomore majoring in piano performance. His column ?runs biweekly.

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