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10 college courses you wish you'd registered for

Posted by Alex Pearlman  December 6, 2011 06:16 PM

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class schedule.jpgBy Vanessa Formato

Class registration has come and gone, and if you’re like many college students, there’s at least one course on your schedule that you’re absolutely dreading. Why, exactly, did you sign up for it? Maybe all the slots filled up for a class you were really looking forward to. Maybe it was the lesser of two evils (“Hmm, ‘Tedious Mathematics 207’ or ‘Introduction to Long-Winded Philosophers 106?’”). Either way, it’s a bummer.

Not to rub it in, but here are 10 cool, unusual classes you probably wish you were taking instead.

Boston University: “Surfing and American Culture". As a Massachusetts native, I have a bit of trouble picturing the impact surfing has had on American culture beyond that Beach Boys song and Point Break. This class will take the uninitiated through the history of surfing up to the present day, as well as examine its role as a major economic force. And include field trips? Just a suggestion.

Emerson: “Puppetry”. “The course culminates in the construction of puppets for in-class presentations,” which is really all you need to know. Plus, puppets are pretty popular right now. I’ll be the first to say it: This class will make you a hit with the ladies.

Harvard: “Anime as Global Pop Culture”. If you grew up in 1990s or later, you've definitely watched an anime. I see you trying to deny it because it’s nerdy or whatever, but I don’t believe you. Even if you didn't like it, you’ve probably at least watched the Pokémon TV show for two seconds, seen a Hiyao Miyazaki movie, or played a video game with anime-like stylings at some point in your life. Harvard turns a dorky guilty pleasure into an academic pursuit. Tip: Instead of flash cards, make ninja info cards.

Emerson: “Staging American Women: The Culture of Burlesque”. Burlesque is a complex and alluring underground culture -- and sexy, too, of course. Think about tassels for a moment -- are you blushing? Then you might want to skip out on a course that involves discussing pin-ups and early sexploitation films. Your loss.

Harvard: “HBO’s The Wire and its Contribution to Understanding Urban Inequality”. While most students use HBO as a way to escape homework, some would rather put their television drama-watching ways to good use. Harvard’s class about The Wire takes a critical look at the critically acclaimed show as a way to analyze urban inequality. Your homework will be to watch TV, and you’ll even learn something along the way.

Northeastern: “Intellectual Board Games and Business Strategy”. When I saw this listing, I almost passed it over. They can’t mean literal board games, I thought. Well, yeah, they do. This class focuses on chess and Go as ways to foster “strategic and tactical thinking” in business students, and you actually learn how to play Go in class. Now that is a life skill.

MIT: “Toy Product Design”. Sorry, upperclassmen, this one’s for the first-years. Mechanical engineering students go through the entire process of creating a new toy, from brainstorming to prototyping, and they’re even paired with clients, sponsors, and mentors. If you've ever fantasized about being Stu Pickles, here’s your chance (hopefully you’ll be more successful than he ever was).

Tufts: “Ropes & Rocks”. Every course description should be as succinct and appealing as this one. Tufts, you had me at the second sentence: “field trips to local ropes courses and selected rock climbing sites.” It’s only for a one-half course credit, but I’m pretty sure that mountain rescue techniques could come in handy, especially if the economy continues to tank and we all abandon the city for a more natural existence in the wilderness.

Suffolk: “History of Piracy”. No, we’re not talking Internet piracy. This class aims to answer two essential questions: “Why did men (and some women) turn pirate?” and “Why is there a continuing fascination with pirates?” The short answer to both of these questions is, of course, “because they are awesome” (also, Johnny Depp), but this class is definitely worth checking out anyway.

Tufts: “Javanese Gamelan Ensemble”. Chances are, you’re not qualified to take this class (admittance is by audition), but wouldn't it be cool if you were? I’m sure I speak for everyone when I say that I’d love to be able to put “Javanese Gamelan Ensemble Member” on my resume. Hey, a girl can dream.

What's the most awesome course you've taken or are signed up for next semester?

Photo by CAPL

About Vanessa -- Vanessa Formato is a 22-year-old Clark University graduate, freelance journalist, vegan cupcake enthusiast and video game aficionado. She blogs about body image and tweets about puppies. So awesome, even John Stamos is impressed.

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