IDS Self-Evaluation

IDS has been a long and extraordinary learning experience for me this semester. Taking Intro to Interdisciplinary studies has taught me one great tool, creating an e-port to self reflect on the course throughout the semester. Social media was one thing I learned to self promote myself and to explore other disciplines within my chosen major. Marketing myself on my chosen social media, LinkedIn, has been a lesson on what is out there in the job market for someone like me who has his heart set on becoming a Nurse Practitioner in the not so distant future.

I can take these tools, e-port, social media, and implement them into my future courses here at PSU. I can integrate these future courses into my future work as a potential NP. I can continue to develop these skills into life. It doesn’t matter if I continue my education, these skills will be useful in life. I would use them to inspire other students taking IDS as a major and hope they can also take these skill and build a better future for themselves.

I could take my e-port and integrate my other classes into posts about how these classes are improving my skills as an IDS student. This whole semester has been a learning experience for me. Matt, Martha, Robin and Hannah have been a great help to me. They were very helpful in the planning of my contract. I can take the necessary courses to fulfill my major. I learned that making a contract for my major was a very successful tool I learned. I never knew that it existed until I changed my major to IDS. Before choosing IDS, my major was Allied Health and was not the right path for me to get into Graduate school as take a direct entry MSN program. IDS and the contract made my major more clear and not so scattered when In was in Allied Health.

In my future classes I plan to continue to use my E-port and put information about my assignments and tips on how to get through the class, especially if it is a class I have knowledge in and can help the students in the class have access to my expertise in the subject. For example, Anatomy and Physiology II, since I have prior knowledge in that subject, I can post practice exams and other information they might want to learn. Once I finish my undergraduate work here at PSU, I will take these skills to graduate school and share my skills with other students. Once I get into the workforce, I plan to use these skills to to maybe create my own web page or website to discuss how IDS made my education a more smoother ride then if I had stuck with Allied Health. I know I did not want to get into areas like sports medicine or physical therapy. I discussed this with other faculty members and was advised to switch my major to IDS. It was a smart move and I am glad I did.

I am looking forward to the senior seminar in my senior year. This introductory class has taught me one important lesson, never give up on your dreams. As I reflect back to the beginning of this class, I have seen myself grow as a person and a student. I hope my other future classes are as inspiring as this one. As a student, I will continue to grow and hopefully surprise myself as to how well I can do as a IDS major.

Thanks for the inspiration.


Struggles with College at age 60

If I were 18, or 19, I probably would be using the aid of my parents to get me through the first year of college. At 60, that is impossible because both parents are deceased. I am on my own to support my finances and pay a huge out of pocket fee this coming Spring Semester. I do work part-time on campus plus I do have to pay things like rent, child support all on a fixed income from disability insurance. It is a big struggle and I am not sure if college is for me at this point. Do I work full-time, or finish my degree. I am thankful for a unlimited meal plan and help from the accessibility office to lessen the struggle with schoolwork. I do get to take exams in this office and it is a big relief not having to take an exam with a class crowded with other students. Some days I wish I was 19 and could ask my parents to help defer the cost of one semester. I live off campus and rent is high and it is tough with no medical insurance. Like Rodney Dangerfield said in the end of “Back To School” ” Thank you, Dean Martin, President Sinclair…and members of the graduating class. I have only one thing to say to you today…it’s a jungle out there. You gotta look out for number one. But don’t step in number two. And so, to all you graduates…as you go out into the world my advice to you is…don’t go! It’s rough out there. Move back with your parents. Let them worry about it.”

I will leave you with that.


Hollywood, Or Bust

Joel Weiss

What am I doing at the moment? Trying to figure out my future plans for a career. I recently attended the Rhode Island Comic Con in Providence. I had the pleasure of meeting actor by the name of Anthony Michael Hall, from the hit movie “Vacation”. I discovered that Anthony is currently working on writing a screenplay. Funny I am working on a screenplay as well. We were discussing different script writing software programs. I mentioned the software program I use and, he said he would check it out. I said it was better than what he was currently using to write screenplays. I was able to speak with him for a good twenty minutes. We discussed his movies “Vacation” and “Weird Science“. I was inspired to keep writing movie scripts based on our conversation. I was thinking after we were done talking, should I still pursue a career as a NP, or screenwriter? DO I want to move to the west coast or, NYC? I also spoke with the actress from “Vacation“, Dana Barron. She played Audrey in the hit movie. I impressed her as well when I told her I was a local screenwriter. She told me she never saw the other Vacation movies. The Director of the original film did not want Dana to be in the movie “European Vacation”. This is why Audrey is a different actress. Dana refuses to this day to never watch the other films in the series. I don’t blame her.

Now I am torn between finishing my Bachelor of Science , or do I go to either NYC, or LA, and get a Bachelor of Fine Arts in screenwriting? I am somewhat disappointed at some of the instructors at my local university. I needed one particular prerequisite, a nursing Microbiology class to complete my prerequisites for a masters in nursing program in Massachusetts. I have always had a passion for screenwriting since the early 1980’s. On the other end of the Totem pole I have a passion for the medical field. I would say it is easier to write a screenplay then it is to remember all the facial bones on the human skull, or which stage of mitosis a cell is in. Although, creating a character and story line out of thin air is a feat within itself. I don’t know if I am wasting my time here at PSU studying pre-medical, or do I keep neglecting my three screenplays? So the question is… is it going to be Hollywood, or Bust? I will let you the reader decide.

Pre-Medical Pathway

An interdisciplinary Approach

Joel Weiss

Pre – Professional Allied Medicine

Since Plymouth State University does not have a Pre – Medical program, I chose to change my major from an Allied Health Bachelor of Science to the Interdisciplinary Studies as my major.  I created this program to directly match the prerequisites for the Direct Entry MSN program at Massachusetts General Hospital. I family has been in medicine for years; my mother and sister are both RNs, and I wanted to follow in their footsteps. As a young person, I would look through my mother’s medical books and think about my future. I have a passion for helping others and I feel dedicated to this path.

The courses I have selected are the courses that will get me closer to graduate school for a Masters in Nursing. My goal is to be a Family Nurse Practitioner. I have matched the contract courses with the prerequisites, and feel certain that I am preparing myself well for admission.

I will take the two required Interdisciplinary Studies courses. Intro is helping me learn about PSU and how it works to build my own major. In the Senior Seminar, I will create a project and do research that will help me focus on this field.

General Chemistry I (QRCO) and II are required for entry, and also will help me because it will teach me the basics of chemistry which matter for nurses in understanding chemical reactions in the body. These courses also cover basic lab techniques.

Organic Chemistry I and II will offer me more lab experience, and I am looking forward to expanding my knowledge of Chemistry because I enjoy the field.

Human Anatomy & Physiology I and II (and labs) are required for entry and are also foundational for nurses. To understand the human body and how and why it works and its physicality is central to nursing.

Applied Nutrition helped me understand which choices are healthy in strengthening immunity and preventing disease, and how BMI relates to wellness. Nutrition science is a key area of health.

Stress Management will help me in stressful situations in dealing with patients who have difficult diagnoses. Nursing is a very stressful job, and I know that clinical rotations will be a challenge for me, so this course is very important. It will also help me work with patients who are facing illness.

I took Life-Span Development Psychology, General Psychology, and Disorders in Childhood and Adolescence in order to gain a psychology background to prepare me for specific areas in nursing such as gerontology and adolescent medicine. When you treat someone medically, it is good to have an understanding of their other issues so you can treat them as a whole person.

Epidemiology and Evidence-Based Medicine is an excellent choice for my program because it will introduce ethical questions about testing and screening and help me understand risk factors and disease outcomes.

Women’s Health Issues is a course I am looking forward to because it will prepare me for certain nursing specialties and rotations, and help me understand how gender plays a role in health-related issues.

In addition to these courses, I will also be taking Biology I and II and Microbiology. Microbiology is required for admission and Bio I and II are prerequisites for that course. I feel certain that I will be well-prepared with this set of courses.

I met with the Director of Nursing, Jean Coffey to discuss my chosen career path as a Nurse Practitioner. I would transfer into the Nursing Program but, there is a waiting list and I would have to wait another year or so get in, because it is a four-year program with a set course schedule.  I am looking for a direct entry MSN program and unfortunately, PSU does not offer one currently. Jean recommended a DEN program as a better fit then the PSU Nursing program. I plan to consult with a Nurse Practitioner while attending the IDS program.  I also am planning on doing some job shadowing while in school. I also met with Mike Son from Biology, Anil Waghe from Chemistry, and Robin DeRosa from Interdisciplinary Studies. I appreciate the help from these many advisors. This IDS program fits perfectly like a puzzle in the healthcare system. I would use an interdisciplinary approach to healthcare as a Nurse Practitioner. An interdisciplinary approach can help avoid risk averse thinking by weighing up the risk against benefits for the patient.  An interdisciplinary approach can improve patient outcomes.  An interdisciplinary approach relies on health professionals from different disciplines, along with the patient, working collaboratively as a team.  This type of teamwork will be my ideal way of thinking and I believe the

College now and Then

I read the articles entitled “Brainology and “The Struggle is real”.

I can remember the first time I entered a college campus back in 1979. It was called a junior college back then, and it was in Rhode Island.  It was called Rhode Island Junior College. Some kids in the area referred to it as REJECT. If  you attended a junior college, you were considered a reject, especially if you attended this college. We did not have the internet or laptops to do our homework. It was a struggle to have to go to the library, find theWorldbook Encyclopedia and try to find the subject you needed for your report. It was like back in grade school where if you needed a report on Egypt, you had to send a letter to the local embassy in New York and wait for the mail. That of course took quite some time. I had to type my report on an old heavy manual typewriter. All this was a real struggle back in the late 70’s.  

I think students of today have it easier with smartphones, tablets and computers to do homework.  Even with voice command apps on their smartphones is a technology that says WOW! to me. If I needed to record a lecture in grade school, I would have had to carry a huge bulky reel-to reel tape deck. Try carrying that in a backpack. 

Back to the two articles. As I was saying about how our brains seem to change as we get older.  I know as I get older, I sometimes find it hard to maintain the information presented by the professor or instructor. If I was fresh out of High School, maybe yes. Since I came back to college at age 60, I am grateful for getting the accessibility services provided by the PSU campus Accessibility office. I have a useful tool called Livescibe, a smart pen that records the entire lecture. I can upload the notes and see them in a PDF form on my laptop. Where was this tool when I was struggling in the 4th grade?  I do maintain information on a subject I am deeply interested in. I love Forensics and already have an A in the course.  I can memorize forensic science with ease. As for the Anatomy and Physiology lab, I have little interest, so my grade is lower. They say it may be due to what they call a brain fart? I do worry about things like dementia and Alzheimer’s. What if I am in class and suddenly, I forget where I am?  I hope not LOL.  Failing quizzes, exams, Final exams is something I did not have to worry about with distance learning. Everything was open book but, the exams were timed. So,  I had to quickly google a question as the timer was ticking.  This was when I took Anatomy and Physiology I online at SNHU.  

In conclusion, I do believe our brains change as we get older and harder to maintain information unlike the younger generation. I think I rather sit at my laptop and write a dark comedy screenplay.


This is my personal learning network plan

What did your research tell you about how people share ideas in your fields?

 People in my field usually share ideas on a professional network found in several medical journals in my chosen field, Orthopedic medicine as a future Nurse Practitioner.  My other chosen field is in Forensics. Sharing ideas usually comes from websites on specific paths in forensics.

  • What tools will best allow you to learn about new ideas in your fields?

 The internet and The Journal of Forensic Sciences.

What tools will best allow you to connect with scholars and professionals in your fields?

The best tool will be word of mouth, speaking to professionals in my chosen fields.  Internships and job shadowing are to be considered in my plan.

  • What tools will best allow you to share your own knowledge, experiences, and ideas with other people in your fields?

 By tweeting on my chosen PLN, Twitter, and YouTube videos, and signing up with Linkedin. I found quite a few Nurse Practitioners on that site.

  • How public do you want to be? Why?

 I want to go public. Because I want other professionals to connect with me and we can share knowledge.

  • How will you engage at least once a week with your Personal Learning Network?

 Making daily Tweets, following those in my chosen professions.

  • How will you know if your PLN is serving you well or not?

By check daily or weekly.

About Joel (Gemini Guy)

Being born a Gemini, I have many interests. They say most Gemini’s cannot make up their minds when choosing a career path. Through out my early childhood, I thought it would be cool to be an Astronaut. Well, That idea got shot into space. Next I had a passion for hiking and meteorology. That led to my passion to work on the summit of Mount Washington. I began hiking Mount Washington at the age of 12, and have been hiking every summer since. I applied for several internships at the Weather Observatory on the summit, but…that dream never got any elevation. My family thought I was weird, because as a Gemini I they thought I had a split personality, or a twin out there somewhere. It is tough being a Gemini in this world. Try telling a potential employer that you have a huge career gap because you are a Gemini. That won’t go over very well. It is better than trying to tell them my dog ate part of my Resume. “Why such a huge gap Mr. Weiss?” ” I am a Gemini.” “Awesome so am I and You Got the job.” Then I woke up. As I got older and into my late 40’s, I decided I don’t want to be a Gemini anymore and find one career to suit my one passion. As I mentioned in a previous blog, I have a strong medical background. I love children and medicine so, I thought Pediatric Nurse Practitioner. I enrolled here at PSU and chose the Interdisciplinary Studies program as my major. I am taking the proper classes to satisfy my Prerequisites to apply to a graduate school. I am considering Simmons College in Boston for their Direct Entry MSN program. The program is 2-3 years and I would have my masters in nursing. Hold on my other Gemini personality is kicking in and saying “Hey what about your passion for Forensics?” Just when I thought it was safe to go into medicine, or is it “We are going to need a bigger boat.” Really, I do have a love for forensics and it is my fall back career if the nursing does not pan out. I would most likely move to Las Vegas and work for the Las Vegas Metro Police dept. and be a Crime Scene Analyst I and do latent print work. Lastly is this all a dream or, is it because Joel is a crazy Gemini? At least I am in good company with another famous Gemini, comedian Bobcat Goldthwait.

The End, or is it?

Future Nurse, Or Crime Scene Analyst I?

Joel Weiss


My passion to become a Nurse Practitioner all started when my mother who was a RN let me thumb through her medical books.  Something sparked inside of me and I knew right then and there I wanted to become a medical doctor. My mother trained as a RN in New York in the 1930’s and was top of her graduating class. When she turned 53, she decided to obtain her BSN. It took her seven years to complete it. If she could do it at 53, I can certainly do it at age 59. I was fascinated by her work and taking care of her patients really inspired me to this career choice. It wasn’t until 2014, when I went back to college to attend online classes at Southern New Hampshire University. I began working on my bachelor’s degree in health Promotion.

Reflecting, growing up I had a severe learning disability. I could not learn math, or science. I had to have tutors to help me pass most of my subjects. I was told by my Guidance Counselor, that with my math and science skills, I would never be able to attend any medical school. This really inspired me to overcome these disabilities.   I never thought I would attend any college. I pushed myself to learn math and science. I started out learning pre-algebra and found that I could understand the math. Then everything came to a holt. In 2012, I was living in Fryeburg; Maine and my life was a happy one. I had a good job, a beautiful home.  Then one evening my whole world was in shambles. I was a victim of Domestic abuse, and now a seven-year survivor.

In 2014, I was looking for that one trade that would satisfy my needs and be rewarding at the same time.  My family suggested Medical Coding and Billing as a career. After obtaining my diploma in Medical Coding and Billing, I could not find any work.

The hospital in North Conway, NH was offering LNA classes received my diploma and eight weeks later, I was a Licensed Nursing Assistant Two months later I was hired by a Nursing home. A co-worker was an EMT and told me you should become an EMT. I took some time off and attended SOLO Wilderness Medicine in Conway, New Hampshire.   I graduated and being an avid hiker, I decided to just get the Wilderness First Responder certification.  This would all help me become a better doctor.  I have a passion to help others and I want to follow in the footsteps of my mother and my sister. They both inspired me to get into the medical field.  I love medicine and Plymouth State University was my choice for  Premedical studies program and continue my studies and become a Nurse Practitioner. My passion is to become an Orthopedic NP and help heal those wild skiers in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. My second passion is Forensics. If I cannot become a NP, the becoming a Latent Print Examiner or Crime Scene Analyst I, is my fall back career. I would probably move to Las Vegas and work in their crime lab.