Summary Synthesis

Senior Seminar

Robert Jaarsma

For my Interdisciplinary Major, I created Adventure Tourism. This was a program that I designed to set me up for what I wanted to do exactly. I say exactly because there was no major that was offered that allowed me to truly feel qualified for my career goal. I was a big skier and outdoorsman all throughout high school and when I started to look at colleges I knew I wanted skiing and the outdoors to be a part of it. I could not find a major that would truly tie these two together. So I went into Adventure Education. After some time in the major, I switched to IDS and created Adventure Education. This gave me the outdoor skills to have confidence in properly leading trips in a wilderness setting and understanding the impacts on the local economy. This taught me how to run a sustainable business not only from the environmental side but also how to conduct sustainable business in a local economy. Here is my Adventure Tourism Proposal Essay.

    The reason I decided to create a website that would tell my story for my capstone is that I had some difficulty finding the IDS program. When I was first told that I needed to drop out of school for a semester due to physical injury, making it so I could not participate was not easy. It was not in the cards for me to be able to go to school for five years. Switching majors was not an option for two reasons. One there was nothing that I wanted to switch into. Two all of the credits that I had earned would go towards nothing. I could not do this so because of a friend mentioning it I reached out to Matt to get more information. Overall it was a pure chance for me that I found the IDS major which saved my college career. This is why I created a website that would briefly tell my story. Hopefully, it will help someone who is in a similar position and give them an idea about the possibilities that the major provides. This is a link to my Capstone Project.
    This project overall has made me reflect on a few things that Plymouth has taught me. The first is that I have never been good with technology. Taking on creating a website was definitely a big task for me. Throughout figuring out how to create this major and hitting more roadblocks than I care to count determination was the key to overcoming dilemmas. It was very frustrating and took patience and determination to be able to create this website. Being able to talk about what my journey was and what it led me to with confidence was something else that I gained through taking my classes. I am so confident in talking about what I have done, what I studied, and why I studied it. Through being in the IDS major it has allowed me to be in an eleven credit internship within the ski industry. This is a footstep and a way to create a good reference so as to keep working up through a resort. It has created opportunities to be in my ultimate career goal of working in the heli-skiing industry as well all through making connections. The doors that this major has opened to me are absolutely unreal. I am so happy with how everything turned out and am prepared for the future. 

Project Review

Eport W6

Senior Seminar 

Robert Jaarsma


    The progress of my project has been going really well. There are lots of ideas that I have accumulated that I want to incorporate within but still keep it interesting and easy to follow. The main outline is as follows: Who am I, What do I do, What led me to go to PSU, What my major was, What led me to become an IDS major, What IDS has given me as a student. There is lots of information packed into these subcategories and like I said before I need to keep it clean and concise. I think that this will be my biggest challenge. Getting it the way I want it to look and having the information that I think is necessary without getting out of control.

Capstone Rough Draft

Three main things I want out of my capstone:

Benefits other students
Benefits myself
Will last longer than a presentation

I would like to introduce a plan to the Interdisciplinary office at Plymouth state university to become a long term contract and resource if the IDS office. My goal will be to help students in the future by creating a web page shows,

Who I am and what I do
What lead me to Plymouth State University
What major I was
What problem was presented to me within my major that forced me to look for another solution
Finding IDS
Becoming part of IDS
Dialing in all of my classes
The point that I am at today
The present project partly is done
Finish project at the end of the year

This will hopefully be the first step in becoming an ambassador of the IDS program so I can be a resource for students who might not know what direction they want to take in their academic career. When I was looking at changing my major the only reason that I knew about becoming an IDS major was that a friend who was currently an IDS major told me about it so I had to hunt it down. There was no clear path of how it was going to work and was incredibly scary when changing my major. If I could give someone in this position more insight on what changing their major will give and take it would be very fulfilling.

September 30th has a rough outline of the website with content to put on it
September 30th – October 21 start developing web sight and more refined content
October 21 – November 11 make an overall presentation of the website complete with finished content uploaded
November 11- 18 prepare presentation


One of the things that COVID 19 has sparked is a massive wave of people going into the outdoors. The best example is when looking at the bike industry during the 2020 season. Within the first few weeks of COVID becoming a real pandemic every bike in every size and model began to sell out. Then everything that we supplied such as spare tubes or tires was all flying off the shelves. Then all across America bike shops were completely sold out. There was nothing available for anybody to buy. It was also incredibly difficult to repair someone’s service bike due to the lack of availability of components. COVID definitely has had a major effect on the tourism industry making it so many businesses were destroyed but I think that there will be a huge rebound. More people will want to go to more places and see more. They have a new desire to participate in adventure sports. The world may be operating in a much different manner now but I believe that there will be huge amounts of growth within the tourism industry especially Adventure Tourism. Creating a new way to engage people and help guide them into an outdoor community will be a huge business. Seeing the massive influx of participants opens two main doors. The first is for the beginners and intermediate participants who are new or slightly seasons in the activity they are participating in. Then there are the people who are much more experienced in the activity they take place in and might be looking for other options to avoid the crowd. An example of this will be the upcoming ski year. Based on how many people are headed to the mountains now in the summer more and more people will be headed to the hills. This will push the people who are experienced away from the stereotypical resort settings and out into more extreme nonconventional settings such as backcountry skiing and other options as such. Being able to come up with a creative solution to capitalize on these new ways to capitalize on this new wave of participants will be key to creating a successful business within my field.

Intellectual Journey & Lifework

Intellectual Journey & Lifework
Interdisciplinary Studies Senior Seminar
Robert Jaarsma

My intellectual journey has been very unique and I credit my parents for how it has turned out. From a young age, I was taught that you need to work hard at everything that you do. You can not start a project and not finish it and if you’re going to do it you need to give it all of your efforts. Putting half effort into a project or a task makes it so it is almost not worth doing. So throughout my childhood, I grew up with the mentality and guidance of if I start a project I will work until that project is done or if I say that I am going to do something I will make it happen. Always follow through with your commitments. This applies to all of my learning throughout my schooling. If you want to get the most out of each class the amount of effort one puts in will reflect in the amount that you will learn from the class. During this year this definitely applies with zoom. If you are not totally determined to put in the work you will not get much out of classes this year. It is so easy to get distracted or zone out in class that staying focused is key to being successful based on the learning environment we have been presented this year.
For my lifework, it evolved around outdoor activities. I love to ride mountain bikes and to ski and I am currently trying to tie all of these different aspects into my life. Focusing on skiing is something that I have done for many years. I grew up skiing here on the East Coast and it has taught me a lot. Based on my intellectual journey of working hard I work so that I can ski. I utilize all of my free time to revolve around getting outside so I can spend as much time as possible in the mountains. This is something that I do all the time and incorporating it into a professional career where I can make a living doing it is the ultimate dream for me.
For my career to fulfill my lifework as I stated above I want it to be involved with skiing. This is why I am looking at working in the heli-skiing industry. I understand that I will not be skiing every day to start off with but working within this industry is a career goal I have had for many years now. Getting into this industry is incredibly difficult. This so far is my biggest dilemma with what I am trying to do. Now that I am searching for an internship I want it to be in the heli-skiing industry but is this a realistic option? One of the things I wish I knew more about is the actual process of getting into the industry. There are so many different factors that need to be considered so many things that can go wrong when trying to get in. The best way to find out is through experience. Trying, again and again, to get in with a company and see if an opportunity presents itself. It is an absolute dream to work in the heli-skiing industry and I am determined to make it happen.

Stress, Groceries, and $$$

So this year the biggest struggle that I have faced is affording groceries. I have found a new love for cooking foods of all types. Some are very good and others definitely need some improvement but it’s so much fun creating different flavors from scratch. My latest cooking tangent is making sourdough bread and other recipients such as sourdough waffles and sourdough pizza. The main problem with all of this is going to the store and dropping fifty, sixty, seventy, or eighty dollars for a week or two weeks is rough on the bank account. I think the best way to deal with this is to get a part time job somewhere so I have a semi steady income. The problem with that is from my knee surgery I am unable to stand for long periods of time. I think by next semester I will be able to work so that will definitely help my situation out a lot. Being able to afford good food and nice ingredients will be lots of fun and eliminate my stress.

IDS Application Essay

Adventure Tourism

Robert Jaarsma

    Adventure Tourism is a combination of Adventure Education and Tourism Management.It will be a BA due to dealing with human behavior and it is not a scientific field. This is applying the ideas of group management and safety in a wilderness setting while also promoting sustainable usage on unique environmental areas. I created this major due to my desire to bring people on one of a kind excursions while utilizing sustainable practices to have a small environmental impact. Currently, at Plymouth State University there is no major that is offered that focuses on these key aspects. Majoring in Adventure Education would focus too much on the educational aspect which does not apply to what I am going to be doing. The skills that certain areas of adventure education give you are required to deal with emergency situations and problems associated with backcountry travel and stay. The Tourism Management program here at Plymouth State University does not cover the outdoor skills that are a necessity for taking clients into the backcountry but it focuses on how tourism can affect the environment. There are many times where tourism has ruined an environment by being used unsustainably. This will make it so areas in the world will not have a natural beauty there once was. I want to bring people to these places and show them this beauty without destroying the environment at the destination and the path of there and getting there. By combining the majors of the Adventure Education and Tourism Management it will focus my major into a career I will be working in upon graduating.

    Now looking into the fourteen classes that make up the major of Adventure Tourism and how they focus on the key aspects of group management in a profitable sustainable manner. The first class is Foundations of Adventure Education. This class focused on what different routes of adventure education could be and different learning tools such as natural consequences. It also taught me the fundamentals of being an adventure educator. The next class again is a fundamental class to understanding what exactly tourism is and its effects on the environment. Intro to Travel and Tourism sets the foundation for learning what tourism is and the why behind people traveling. This class can scare you away from the profession due to some of the catastrophic environmental destruction that has happened throughout our past. Understanding these mistakes is something perfect that will help with making sustainable tourism a top priority. Ecotourism is a class that will furthermore help understand how to properly utilize nature for exploration. Looking into ways of utilizing nature in a sustainable manner is a key element of what I will be doing post-graduation. Tourism Development will focus on the impact of tourism on a community-wide scale and sub-state regional. Understanding the impact of business on the surrounding community is essential to maintain a prosperous business. Natural History and Ecology for Adventure Educators is a class that looked into the different species that are found in the northeast. This is relevant and important because one of the biggest attractions here in the northeast is the turning of the leaves. Leaf peepers come from all over the world to look at the fall foliage. Also identifying different species of animals or questions concerning marking, tracks, etc. will build credibility as a professional. Being able to answer any questions from the client about different types of species is incredibly important to Adventure Tourism. Immersion Wilderness Expedition was a semester spent out in the field perfecting group management skills, and other fundamental skills to have when in the backcountry. Immersion Adventure Leader/Group Management showed through multiple days of backpacking and canoeing, the many challenges that are faced within the backcountry. Learning to work with others in stressful situations to overcome and adapt is a required skill to be a trip leader. Learning to work with another person to plan an entire day of travel requires lots of time and effort. Immersion Wilderness First Responder is a certification presented by SOLO that shows you what to do when things go wrong in the backcountry. Focusing on the many medical problems one might face in the backcountry and how to provide care with what you have on hand are required skills. The WFR (Wilderness first responder) also explains lots of the legal aspects of providing care to a patent. This class is important to my major because it shows both the physical treatment and the legal aspects of providing care in the wilderness. Risk Management In Adventure Education is an essential skill for developing the when to send not to send mentality. Understanding what a group is capable of accomplishing and not putting them in a situation where they were more apt to become injured is something used every day for every task. Keeping a group of clients safe by assessing certain levels of risk in different situations is an essential skill when on an excursion. The last class that makes up the major adventure Tourism is Independent study Adventure Education. This class is vital because it will be looking into different companies to find one for my internship. Looking into different fields of work to see what areas and businesses will suit me and my major best will allow me to get experience and a foot in the door for when I leave Plymouth State University. For the QRCO class I will take Business Statistics. This credit can be applied to the jobs I want to get into after college because it will teach me a lot about the software that is used in modern businesses. 

    In the process of creating this major here at Plymouth State University, I have talked to three different professionals who currently work in either Adventure Education or Management. The first and biggest influence in creating this major is James Hannon Associate Professor in Adventure Education. He answered all of my questions concerning different fields of adventure education. He has also been a general mentor with my other hobbies of mountain biking, running, and skiing. With creating this major Professor Hannon has given insight on different aspects of where I would gain different opportunities and where my creating this major could hold me back. The second who helped me develop the major the most is Christian Bisson. We looked at all the classes that Plymouth offers and narrowed them down to the ones that will best apply to what I am going to be doing. The third professional who has helped me develop my major is Adam Keul. He is the Assistant Professor of Tourism Management and Policy and is incredibly knowledgeable with effective sustainable tourism. We have worked together to find the classes within Tourism Management and Policy to find the classes that will develop my knowledge with sustainable tourism in an outdoor environment. We are setting up an internship so I can get real-world experience in the field of Adventure Tourism.

    Creating the program Adventure Tourism will captivate the main ideas of wilderness expedition and sustainable tourism. Taking the backcountry experience that is required for leading a group in a safe manner and using knowledge of sustainability will give the clients a unique memorable experience. This program is Interdisciplinary because it takes key aspects of Adventure Education that apply to lead people into the backcountry and leaves out a lot of the teaching aspects. Adventure Education makes students into a teacher in an outdoor setting. This is less so of what I want to do upon graduation. I am going to be working in taking clients on a unique experience less so teaching classes in a wilderness setting. The Tourism Management and Policy will bring the sustainability and impact of tourism and will exclude the aspects of politics and some of the business. Using the key elements of these two majors and combining them into one will make it so I will have all the necessary skill sets to lead clients on backcountry expeditions while operating in a sustainable, enjoyable manner. I will be tough with these programs to accomplish the educational necessities to provide a fun, safe, sustainable experience.


Intro to Introdiciplanary Studies 


Robert Jaarsma


Quick check-in and update on my physical wellbeing and the progression with recovery on my knee. I am almost four months out from the dat of operation which means that I will be able to start running soon. Developing my muscles that were lost due to the atrophy from having my leg immobile and the muscles not being fired. I lost nearly two inches of girth on my right leg but now my quade is only a mere one and three-quarter centimeters smaller. This is huge process based on the way that your muscles help your knee cap track when your leg is moving. If one muscle is smaller then the other on your quad it will pull the knee cap the wrong way making it pop out of the track that it needs to follow. This is a very unpleasant uncomfortable experience that I would definitely not recommend to anyone. 

Based on the amount of muscle that I have gained back it has made my knee much more stable and reliable when it is moving. This is why I’ll be able to start running in just a short time. The running program that I am on will take quite a bit of time and will require lots of patience. It will first start out with me doing about five minutes of a very slow jog for only five minutes then I will stop and monitor for swelling then reevaluate and either continue to push or get the ice on it to keep the swelling at bay. It will take eight weeks of following a very rigorous program that will have lots of restrictions on time and speed. This is an awesome start to being able to get out and start running and being physical again. 

I think that the hardest challenge that I will face with getting back into running is the fact that I am going to be running on a treadmill for a long time. This has been something that I have never really been able to do because for me it is truly so dull. Running on that stationary thing while it makes that noise that everyone knows is absolute torture. Every time I ever see someone running on a treadmill I think to myself ‘you should really think about running outside’. Running in the outdoors is much more beneficial to your mental health benefits as well. Just spending time getting the fresh air and being outside has been proven time and time again that there are numerous health benefits. I will be facing some difficulties in the near future but it is all about getting better and getting back to where I once was. So in T-minus three weeks, the legs will start moving again!

ePost Brainology

ePost Brainology 

Intro to Interdisciplinary Studies 

Robert Jaarsma


After reading the article the topic that stood out to me the most was the praise in today’s society and how it affects younger people and grown people. All through our time as a kid, we receive daily praise. This could be through our parents, friends, coworkers, bosses, or our teachers. It states that 85 percent of parents feel that they are required to give there kids praise for there accomplishments daily. They feel that if they do this their kids will think that they are not appreciated. This is the early development of daily prase that will not be carried on once they go into the workplace. Once one leaves the shelter of there home and is thrown into an adult world there is no everyday praise. This leads to the worker thinking that they are not doing well and will feel disappointment with there job. This also happens in school if the teacher does not commend their students’ work. The student will feel as if they are not doing sufficiently and tend to give up on the class they are not receiving praise in. A very interesting way that we act and think about how others think of our performances. 

The article goes into how failure can trump dedication, therefore, killing performance and success. There have been times that I have studied really hard for a test and after taking it I learned that I did not do well. After failing like this it is so easy to get down on the class and not want to continue it any further. I need to keep my GPA as high as possible so I continue on but it really puts a damper on your excitement to continue learning. Falling behind is an easy thing to do and can be catastrophic for your college career. It such an easy trap that many students will easily fall into. You need lots of determination to be able to push through this and try again in order to be successful. 

At the end of the article, it says that there is no success without lots of effort. You need to be fully committed to the task you are trying to accomplish to excel. This is difficult for lots of us if we are not fully interested in a subject we will not pay attention to it and push our interests to other places. It doesn’t matter how smart you are if you do not wont to learn and succeed you simply will not. I had a roommate who was incredibly bright but he simply never did his homework. If he did do it he would wait till the very last moment to get it done. He is incredibly smart and the subjects that he was really interested in he would know the ins and outs. Lots of these were not academic more so along the lines of rock climbing. He was so good at retaining information but lacked motivation. Very interesting to see this in effect.

Building a Personal Learning Network

Building a Personal Learning Network

Intro to Interdisciplinary Studies

Robert Jaarsma


In researching the best ways that I can find information in the field that I am going into is on the platforms of Instagram and Facebook. A lot of the work that I want to go into is experiential outdoor activities. The best way that others can connect to this is through pictures and stories. Instagram is a platform where pictures are posted and you are able to navigate through other people’s experiences, products, ideas quickly and efficiently. Building a follower fanbase is not that difficult to accomplish. You need to post quality photos and people who share interests in the same subject will see what you are doing and will look into your profile. By having quality pictures and videos taken and posted will put your name out there for people to see, share, and become inspired. 

Instagram has its limitations though. You can not post an entire story onto the platform. The majority of the time it will not be read. You can put a link to it off of a post but still, it will not be read very often. Instagram is in a way impatient. It is a way to see interesting photos and videos quickly without getting bogged down in the words. This is where Facebook will be more beneficial. Facebook is a platform where you can put longer stories that people can read through. These stories for me would be something along the lines of an adventure than a client and myself went on or personal experience. This will allow the reader to connect and want to participate theoretically bringing me more business. This is also a way to get attention from bigger companies. If you tag them the will see what you’re doing and they might reach out for sponsorship. These are the two best platforms that I have found to help me create my PLN.

When I am making my PLN I want it to be as public as possible so as to get my name out there and start having people see who I am. This will allow me to connect with other people in the easiest manner. If it is easy for me to find them I want it to be easy for them to find me. By being incredibly public will make it easy for someone to stumble onto my account while they are searching the web. This will allow for faster growth and quicker connecting. My plan for getting these connections started is to post once a week on this platform. I will be using the activities that I am participating in weekly to constantly have a news feed. Posting something every week will help with getting my name out there. The more content you have and the more regularly you post the more attention you will draw to your profile.

The feedback that I am looking for with my PLN is to see that people are looking at the content that I am posting and giving feedback or getting inspired. This can be measured through comments and likes. The more that people start to discuss what is on my page the more likely I am to have my platforms grow. I will be able to tell if things are not going well on my platforms if there is little to no activity. The more you can get the people talking, not even about me but talking on my page, the more interest and visitors it will bring. All of this is how I am going to start, measure, and manage the success and popularity of my PLN.