Ian McCormack

Hello! Describing ISP is a difficult task, but I will do my best to summarize exactly what the program meant to me as an intellectual curious person and someone who just wanted to make friends. ISP is first and foremost a challenging program of study in which students integrate different disciplines to look at a certain topic (for example, we integrated Cognitive Neuroscience and Philosophy to look at decision-making and learning). More than anything else, the Integrated Studies program pushed my conception of the differences between disciplines, helped me form my own views on the purpose of learning, the similarities and differences that different academic concentrations use to look at problems, and the necessity of maintaining a wider understanding of different forms of understanding knowledge. 
I chose to apply to ISP to learn as much as possible, but in my personal experience, the social element of the program should not be underestimated. Taking ISP together in close proximity allowed my year of ISPers to bond over our strenuous nature of the course and discuss some of the concepts outside of the classroom. I can recall many nights arguing about whether or not philosophy should even be taught in college, or who the main character is in the Iliad, or what type of academic reform was needed to salvage the inequality between different high schools. Many of my friends, even now, are my friends from ISP, and I am more grateful about that than I would have expected before entering the program.
I am a sophomore majoring in History and minoring in Creative Writing. My decision to major in History was a direct result of taking ISP: I enjoyed the History stream so much that I have continued to pursue it. The melding of theoretical explanations for real events appeals to me more than the reality of the hard sciences or the theoretical basis of philosophy. I do not plan on double-majoring or adding a second minor. This is largely because of ISP - I have gained an appreciation for a variety of disciplines now that I can easily see how they interact with each other, so I have consciously sought to take electives in disciplines that are not necessarily my best subjects or would fit together in the most traditional way, like Formal Logic or Computer Science.
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