The five traits that I share with interdisciplinarians include reliability, flexibility, patience, resilience, and the ability to work in groups.
I have always been considered to be a reliable person. Even as a child, I did not need to be reminded to do what was expected of me. It was known, made very clear, and I was expected to follow through without reminders. This was of particular help when I went to school because in many ways I was self-sufficient from the earliest grades.
Being flexible, or being able to go with the flow, is important. Rigidity does nothing but add stress to one’s life. I like to have a plan, but if it changes, I can easily adapt. This has been important since, as an older child, my school day schedule often needed to change at the last minute because of family responsibilities and issues, but I was still expected to have chores and homework done, without question, and it was sometimes up to me to figure out how that was to be accomplished.
Getting mad or upset just intensifies an already uncomfortable or confrontational situation. By demonstrating patience, one can listen better to the other side and work out, in most cases, a mutual understanding. When I have an issue at a store, yelling at the clerk or manager is not going to make them want to help me. By demonstrating patience, they are more willing to try and do so.
Resilience is important for survival. I do not think that anyone has an easy life. It is how one handles difficult situations that might make the difference. When I was in high school, no matter what might have been going on at home, it was up to me and me alone to go to school in the morning and get my education. Education help one succeed, and that was my motivation.
Being able to work in groups is necessary for almost all work situations today. In school, teachers are using cooperative learning more to try and help ensure that students understand and can use this skill. Too often, at home, people were isolated into their separate areas. Even though we lived under the same roof, we did not always necessarily know or want to interact with each other.
Augsburg, T. (2011). Becoming Interdisciplinary – An Introduction to Interdisciplinary Studies.
(2nd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Kendall Hunt Publishers.