It has been a long journey over the past four years. I’ve transferred schools, spent time abroad, and changed my major more times than I can even remember, but I’m happy with my final product; my Bachelor of Science in Promotion of Wellness and Healthy Living.
Coming into IDS, I wanted to gain expertise in health science as well as communications, to be able to guide large populations in living healthy lives. I wanted to take my knowledge of health science and be able to share it in ways that everyone can understand. However, as my personal and academic journey continued, I have continually found myself being pulled into the world of holistic health. I am intrigued by things like subtle energies, energy healing, and the relationship between mind, body and spirit (especially in regards to health). This is why I went from “Communication and Media for Wellness and Exercise” to “Promotion of Wellness and Healthy Living”. I integrated courses in the PSU PATH program to get a more holistic point of view on health. So not only have I studied exercise science and nutrition, I have studied spirituality and Eastern approaches to health which focus on the mind-body connection. Throw in some communication and marketing courses, and I rounded out my major. With my education, I have become in expert in sharing and promoting holistic approaches to wellness and healthy living.
For my applied project, I decided to create an Instagram page focusing on health and wellness. I wanted to do this because I believe social media is an incredible tool that could be hugely beneficial to wellness promotion. I didn’t want to pose as one of those “Instagram fitness models”; I wanted to be honest and down to earth in my approach. Instead of sharing posed, photoshopped photos like we see all over Instagram, I wanted to share videos of myself working on handstands in yoga (including the many falls), recipes that are reasonable for college students, etc. Social media can be a great tool for health promotion, but I feel as though sometimes it is done in vain with unrealistic approaches, photoshopped abs, etc. I learned a lot from this project. I now understand why social media is a full-time job for some people. It was a lot more difficult and time-consuming than I expected, and I have much more respect for people who are able to get “Insta-famous”. I learned through trial and error how to get more engagement and reach more people through social media.
For my research assignment, I wanted to pursue a topic within integrative medicine. I decided to do research on the integration of Reiki healing in clinical settings. In my paper, I explained in depth what Reiki is including its history, theory, training, and practice. I then discussed where it is being used in clinical settings, who is receiving it as part of clinical treatment, why this is being done, etc. I discussed articles by medical professionals who are integrating Reiki in their own practice and share some of my discussion with a local Reiki master and registered nurse. I then discussed mind-body connection with health and healing through thought/belief. Overall, I focused on how and why we should integrate Eastern and Western methods, and how non-invasive therapies can complement traditional care. From my research, I gained a deeper understanding of Reiki (which is something I am interested in pursuing), and gained a deeper appreciation for the integration of Eastern and Western methods. As someone interested in pursuing a career in integrative medicine, my research assignment allowed me to learn more about what is being done in the field I would like to go into.
Building my education and figuring out what I would like to do after college has been a long, hard process that is still ongoing. However, as things have unfolded and as I have let the universe guide me, I have slowly figured out what truly interests me and what I am passionate about. I want to promote holistic and integrative approaches to health. I want to help masses of people lead healthy lives in regard to mind, body, and spirit. Interdisciplinary Studies has allowed me to learn about holistic and integrative health, and how I can guide others in living healthy lives. I have been able to gain a scientific understanding of the human body, study many aspects of health from exercise and nutrition to spiritual health, and learn the skills to effectively communicate with others to promote healthy living. My research assignment allowed me to study an example of integrative medicine in depth, and my applied project has allowed me to experiment with social media promotion and learn from my mistakes. Overall, I have been able to study many disciplines and aspects of health to gain a holistic understanding, while learning how to share my knowledge with other people to make our world healthier.