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The Importance of a Multidisciplinary College Education | The Triangle

The Importance of a Multidisciplinary College Education

As I look back on my last four years at Drexel, I’m overwhelmed by the memories of engineering design classes, math recitations, physics lectures, endless lab reports, MATLAB programming projects and struggling to re-teach myself the “right-hand rule” every term. The life of a biomedical engineer at our university is filled with hardcore STEM classes, so I didn’t realize how badly I needed a break until I stepped into my Honors Seminar class earlier this term. A class on Philadelphia’s historic rowhomes made me realize the multidisciplinary education I’ve been longing for since freshman year.  

Multidisciplinary education provides students with a mental break from problem solving in a way they have always been used to by changing the perspective and introducing unfamiliar thought processes. As an engineering student, it’s easy for me to approach a problem in the same streamlined way I always have. Breaking away from that way of thinking can be difficult and pose challenges of its own but it forces me to think creatively and critically. The opportunity to collaborate and learn from people who aren’t exactly like you adds more perspectives to the table and widens your field of view. This holistic approach can even help you connect the dots between your area of expertise with subjects that once seemed completely different from yours, thus gaining a more well-rounded understanding of the matter.  

There are numerous ways to supplement your education to shape it into a multidisciplinary experience. Filling your general electives with introductory level classes in a subject area you’ve never touched on or find interesting may help you in your regular course load in many ways. Attending talks or lectures with professors whose research you find interesting, even if you don’t completely understand it, is a great way to spend a set amount of time exploring topics you normally don’t have the opportunity to learn about. Unfortunately, not all majors allow for multiple non-major related courses, so extracurriculars and outside organizations are another good way to explore different fields. For example, try writing for the university’s newspaper as an engineering major!  

Whether your plan of study between now and graduation is clearly mapped out or you are still figuring out what classes to take next term, try to spend a bit of time finding ways to incorporate a new class into the mix! While it may be daunting to step out of your comfort zone and take a course in a subject you may know little to nothing about, the benefits of a multidisciplinary education are totally worth it!