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Sunday, March 3, 2024

Take a fun class next quarter!

Adding variety to your schedule can broaden your perspective and improve your academic experience




It’s that time of the quarter again — you’ve finally mastered your schedule and settled into a manageable (if boring and dreadful) weekly routine. Then, you get an email from Schedule Builder: your pass time for next quarter is just around the corner! Of course, there are no advising appointments, all of your required courses overlap and there’s no way you’ll be able to make it from Sci Lec to the Death Star in a 10-minute passing period. While we can’t solve all of these problems, we can distract you from them, by encouraging you to add an additional class, just for fun.

Now, this might sound like a ridiculous proposal given all of the very real concerns that come with scheduling and school in general, but taking a course that you actually enjoy can be greatly beneficial, both for your mental health and education. 

First of all, having a class that you look forward to in your schedule makes the long, busy weeks of the quarter system much more enjoyable. It’s a great way to break up dense days of lecture-heavy classes and can offer an opportunity to de-stress and meet people outside of your major. Plus, you are already paying tuition, so you might as well get your money’s worth.

And, if you need more convincing to take non-mandatory classes, there are plenty of career and academic benefits that can come from adding more variety to your schedule. Taking a class that uses a different part of your brain than classes for your major helps you think in different ways and broadens your perspective, both of which can be beneficial in the future. Plus, there’s really no better time to explore any interest you have than in college — and it might even prompt you to change your major or re-consider your post-grad plans. 

Now that we’ve effortlessly convinced you to take a class for fun this spring (and every other quarter), we wanted to provide you with some suggestions, so as not to exacerbate the stress of scrolling through the course catalog. Here are the Editorial Board’s favorite fun classes, and why you should take them.


ENT 1 (Art, Science & the World of Insects)

This class is all about bugs — but also humans, science, the circle of life and even art. It earns you a variety of GE credits and, arguably more excitingly, involves weekly ceramics sessions during which you make collaborative ceramic models that can be found at the pollinator center. 


ECH 1 (The Design of Coffee)

If bugs aren’t your thing, but you still need some science-y courses to fill your general education requirements, consider the “Design of Coffee” class. Davis has an entire laboratory dedicated to coffee roasting, brewing and tasting. In the class, you get to learn the science that explains why Starbucks espresso is always burnt, and how not to make the same mistakes in your own roasting and brewing at home. Plus, you get to taste tons of cool coffee and bring home hand-roasted beans for free (ignoring the $5,000 a quarter for tuition).


GEL 25 (Geology of National Parks)

One final GE for non-STEM students, Geology of National Parks is a great class if you want to feel superior while on family vacations to the Grand Canyon or Zion. After this class, you’ll be able to teach all of your family and friends about the rock formations of, and history behind, the national parks across the country, which is sure to make those long hikes and camping trips more bearable (or fun, if you’re into that). The professor, David Osleger, is also super enthusiastic and knowledgeable, which makes the course very engaging and fun to attend.


TCS 155 (Introduction to Documentary Studies)

What’s better than getting credits in exchange for watching movies in a classroom that looks like a theater? Getting to hear from the creators of local documentaries themselves, of course! In this class, you get to do both and pitch an original documentary proposal, so if you decide to become a filmmaker someday in the future, you’ll be prepared.


UWP 104C (Writing in the Professions: Journalism)

This is a journalism class. The benefits are, obviously, self-explanatory.


DRA 042A (Beginner Ballet)

If you are looking to break a sweat, de-stress and dance it out, this class is for you. Whether you grew up dancing and are craving a nostalgic barre routine of pliés and relevés, or you don’t know what those words mean but you want to, the ballet series offers courses for all skill levels that are super fun and approachable.


Finally, if none of those sing to you, here are some rapid-fire honorable mentions: PHI 001 (Introduction to Philosophy) — philosophy overlaps with pretty much all areas of study and can even challenge your perceptions of the world around you; MUS 116 (Introduction to the music of The Beatles) — who wouldn’t want to take a class all about the Beatles?; PLS 21 (Application of Computers in Technology) — perfect for anyone interested in technology, you learn how to edit photos and videos, use excel and even make your own website; finally, any language course — introductory language classes are always super fun, and everyone is a beginner which makes them low-stakes.


College is a place to explore your interests and learn about yourself, and any of these classes can help you do just that, while also earning GE credit, or just having fun. Plus, most of them can be taken Pass/No Pass, so you won’t need to stress too much about the workload they might have. So as you prepare for your pass time during the next few weeks, consider taking advantage of one (or a few) of the super cool classes UC Davis has to offer.


Written by: The Editorial Board