Every university has those classes — the ones with the really cool professor that usually preclude to an easy A just for showing up. Sometimes, the topics are mundane, but whatever, they help us harness those extra GPA points that are already committed to being lost due to your unrivaled ability to rage five days out of a given week.
Sometimes, though, you get lucky and the course turns out to be something a bit cooler. For me, it happened during the semester I pledged and coincidentally took an Ice Skating class to knock out one of my gym credits, as my institution requires quite a few. It was a 9AM class, so as a naive freshman and hockey player, I thought, “Awesome, something I’m already good at. Easy A.”
Not only was it an awesome way to get up and start my morning three days a week skating with some members on our NCAA team, but when push came to shove in my pledge process, the awesome woman who taught the course understood our fraternity traditions (specifically mine, which led to a few great conversations) and was cool enough to let me nap through a few classes after some rough nights.
Needless to say, I walked away with an A.
Recently, Buzzfeed compiled a list of 12 Awesome College Courses. Here’s my take on them:
1. Maple Syrup, The Real Thing
This course taught at Alfred University is apparently 100% about maple syrup — an entire curriculum on a great American breakfast pastime! A wonderful opportunity to impress a slam morning after when she whips up some pancakes for breakfast and you bust out your own class-made syrup.
2. Joy of Garbage
Taught at Santa Clara University, it’s plausible that Gordon Bombay might’ve taken something like it to refine some of his coaching styles. Unfortunately, there are trips to the landfill that come along with the class. I did this once in middle school, and still have vivid memories of our school bus smelling like shit for the entire ride home, so I’ll pass on this one.
3. Oh Look, A Chicken
At Belmont College, apparently you can get credits for walking around campus acting distracted then writing papers about your observations. Sounds awesome?
4. Tree Climbing
You can pay Cornell’s $45,130 Ivy League tuition to learn how to climb trees. GDIs aplenty, undoubtedly.
5. Surviving the Zombie Apocolypse
At Michigan State University, you can spend an ENTIRE semester in a Social Work class living through a simulated zombie attack. This stuff kind of freaks me out, but I guess if the prof. was cool, it may be worth a (head)shot?
6. The Far Side of Entomology
Oregon State University professor Michael Burgett is pretty heralded in the field of bugs and he loves the classic Gary Larson comics, so along with others’ comical newspaper clippings, he aims to teach his students about the world of insects. Apparently, the class has gotten national praise for its innovation and fun, so if I had an extra General Science elective to knock out, I’d probably consider this gem.
7. Mad Men and Mad Women
An entire course about AMC show Mad Men…well, sort of. This Middlebury College lecture integrates the show’s storylines into a gender studies class in about mid-20th century America. I’ve got to say, it’s pretty innovative, and definitely a cakewalk if you’re an avid follower of this awesome show.
8. Wordplay: A Wry Plod from Babel to Scrabble
If you’re lucky enough to be one of 15 Princeton students hand-selected by Professor Katz, you’ll be taught about constrained writing, which lends itself to artful pieces, but also puzzle solving and coding. Katz uses century-old tactics mixed with this generation’s media and social apps to convey course matter, which likely results in some of the best literary rhetoric being written in America in this day and age.
(There’s a riddle in this course title, see if you can figure it out. Seriously. Genius stuff.)
9. Game Theory with Application in StarCraft
As an Economics major, I can appreciate the idea and mechanics of this UC Berkely class. However, as a fraternity man, I wouldn’t be caught dead here. In fact, I’m going to start writing a curriculum for something like this that only pertains to EA Sports’ genres, because that would be a class I’d go to.
10. Invented Languages: Klingon and Beyond
Nope. Don’t do Star Trek, don’t speak gibberish, don’t want to learn anything but English. I wouldn’t be caught dead in this University of Texas class. I heard TFM Intern does a great guest lecture there to conclude every semester, though.
11. The American Vacation
Sign me up for this University of Iowa class. After seeing some of the exploits in the TFM Spring Break Photo Contest , I’m guessing there’s going to be a lot of A-pluses handed out to people here. The course addresses the social history of vacations, so it’ll be alright if you want to boast about your grandfather’s lake house and yacht, too.
12. Harry Potter – Origins and Influences
We all know Pearls Hilton probably Skype-teaches this humanities course for the University of North Dakota, but I guess if Harry Potter is your thing, it’s an easy A. I mean, J.K. Rolling’s rags to riches story is pretty fucking insane considering she went from homeless to billionaire, and you’ve got to admit, novel-wise this stuff is going to be a classic and a revenue whore for generations to come.
While some of these classes certainly trump the others, it’s interesting to see what kind of opportunities our fine schools offer across the nation these days. Who knows, maybe it’ll inspire you guys to take a class you normally wouldn’t, and still send a pledge to cover it for you.