Every quarter when registration comes around I wonder what the most interesting classes are to take at Cal Poly, that students might not necessarily know they can take. We spend a lot of time and effort in academic classes which go toward our major and are required, but the truth is that we only get to do college once.
Why not enjoy it a little bit?
These were some of the most fun classes I took at Cal Poly, and *GASP* most of them counted for absolutely nothing toward my degree… I had the opportunity to take some fun classes in my college experience because I did summer sessions every year and AP credits earned in high school, so I had some wiggle room to indulge in an enjoyable class or two (or eight) before graduating.
Some of the classes I mention actually can count for general education credit if you haven’t fulfilled that specific requirement yet or are great if you need elective credit. People would ask me why I was putting more work on myself by taking extra classes that “didn’t count for anything,” if I could just have a lighter course load or just even have graduated early. I always responded in the same way:
Money < Knowledge
I’m lucky enough to be paying in state tuition, so it doesn’t matter how many credits I take here at Cal Poly as long as I’m a full time student, because it’s the same amount of money per quarter whether I take 12 units or 20 units. I took these extra classes to learn because I love learning and I’m not going to have the opportunity to take a class on “branded wine marketing” virtually for free (or at the same cost as my schooling would have costed anyway) anytime soon in my life. I wanted to take advantage of all the opportunities I had to learn in college, about as many things as I possibly could.
And there’s one thing that all of these classes had in common which made them especially fun for me to take: the teachers were overflowing with passion about what they were teaching us. All of these teachers truly enjoyed what they were doing and this joy connected with us as students in a special way because their interest in the subject translated into making the class fun and interesting.
So here they are, the most fun classes I’ve gotten to take at Cal Poly:
AEPS 215 “Floral Design 1”
This class was a class I had wanted to take ever since I heard about it when I was a freshman but could never get into because of bad class registration times. I finally got to take it as a senior and it was everything I hoped it would be. I learned a lot about the industry of floral design, as well as a lot about well… arranging flowers. It was so much fun and the professor was so enthusiastic about what she was doing with her life that it made me excited to learn. Be warned: this class does require a decent amount of studying for the midterm and final. Lots of memorizing. But there are great quizlets out there to help you study 😉
The class usually takes place fall and winter quarters in the evening, from 3-7 and 4-7 and although you rarely have to spend the entire time in the lab, it does end later at night than other classes, depending on what kind of schedule you prefer. If you like Floral Design 1, Floral Design 2 is offered Spring quarter and features more advanced techniques, giving you the opportunity to take your knowledge to the next level!
WVIT 343 “Branded Wine Marketing”
The only prerequisite for this class is an Econ class (ECON 201, 221 or 222) which you can most likely take to earn your “D” general education credit anyway. This class taught me information about marketing which I’m interested in as a career, with a specific product twist: WINE! It was interesting to hear the professor’s experience in the wine industry (and just about her life in general… I took the class with Marianne Wolf and she has just had a very exciting time on this Earth so far). I will warn you that this class requires a lot of work with multiple midterms and group projects, but it’s also very fascinating and I came out feeling like I had a new connection made with the WVIT industry.
KINE 109 “Bowling”
Aww jeez, this is the classic senior class. It’s one of the most capstone right of passage classes for seniors to take at Cal Poly just for the experience at “the only bowling alley in SLO” which happens to be located on campus. And why not?! Since it’s credit/no credit and it’s only an hour session twice a week all you have to do is have fun. And now that you can DRINK ALCOHOL from Mustang Station next door attached to the bowling alley (only after 2pm) how could you not take this class if you have the chance? No joke, my bowling average went from 65 to 145 in the course of the ten weeks in class. They say practice makes perfect so take bowling and grab a beer to go with it just because you can. You won’t regret it.
PSY 202 “General Psychology”
This was an actual academic class which is normally taken for class credit, and I actually had to try to study for it even though it was a course I just decided to take for fun. It was an enormous lecture style class once a week, and then meetings with a professor in a smaller class workshop setting during week as well. I learned a lot in this class. It was by no means an “easy A” but if you need D4 credit, and you’re interested in the way the human mind operates, I would definitely recommend taking this class. Also, DO go to the lecture, because the professors choose very specific lecture questions to test on the midterm. And also just because it’s cool to learn about the human mind.
DANC 132 “Beginning Modern Dance”
I haven’t danced formally since I was seven, when I took Irish step dancing. You can imagine how much my Irish step dancing teacher loved that my name is Molly O’Brien (it’s a very Irish name). This class was a good experience for me because I felt really out of my comfort zone. I didn’t know what modern dance really was until I took this class…
We learned fitness techniques and vocabulary for certain dance moves. We even put on a performance with the rest of the upper level dance classes at the end of the quarter. For this course we didn’t have any huge scary scantron exams, but I did have the requirement to go to a Cal Poly dance show and write a paper about it, which was honestly a really great experience because I had never taken the time to appreciate the beauty and effort it takes to create an entire dance performance until this class. I would recommend it if you like to move and have an interest in trying something new.
BIO 123 “Biology of Sex”
This class counted for my general education credit in the “B” science area. Despite its provocative name it’s not a dirty class by any means… in fact it’s a very factually driven scientific class on the topic of reproduction. Our professors for this class were so passionate about the process of reproduction and so excited to tell us all about the multiplication of cells when snails (or really any other animal for that matter) are making babies that it was interesting on a deeply molecular level. I learned so much about reproduction that I would not have been taught in any “health” or “sex ed” class. This class does require a level of maturity, respect, and understanding. You’re not just going to be sitting there talking about sex for two hours twice a week, you’re going to be learning about all different ways animals on our Earth reproduce and it’s fascinating. You’ll also be taught the valuable life lesson of how to a sense of humor and laugh at yourself during uncomfortable moments.
GRC 377 “Web Print and Publishing”
This class supported my minor and counted for area “F” general education credit. It was a class where we learned how to use the Adobe Suite including Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, and Dreamweaver, even using the programs to code and build our own website. It challenged me and my patience (building a website is hard!) but gave me skills that I can use to market myself for a huge range of jobs now in the future that I wouldn’t have had access too if I didn’t know basic coding. I also learned more than I ever would have guessed possible on typography.
DANC 210 “Active Wellness”
This class doesn’t really have much to do with dancing despite the official course name, it’s about general physical well being, health, and fitness. It teaches everything that high school health class should have but didn’t. I just started taking it this Spring quarter of 2018, so I’m still learning what it’s all about, but basically every class we have a lecture on different aspects of health such as fitness and exercise, and then we do a series of exercises which teaches us about the fitness in our own body. We learn about muscles, bones, and the way our bodies work in a healthy, noncompetitive, and judgement free environment. It’s a great class if you’re passionate about health and wellness or just want to learn more about how to be a generally healthy person.
This wasn’t an academic class, it was through the Cal Poly craft center. That means that we didn’t have to worry about grades or exams! It was $85 to take and we met 6 times during the quarter in two hour sessions with a student instructor. I learned so much, burned myself a couple times, and made some really beautiful creations like marbles, pendants and even sculpture pieces. Now, I’m hooked! I bought a “propane card” pass for use of the torch and propane outside of class time, as well as many more colors of glass to experiment with.
If I had more time here I would have taken ART 102 (which seems kind of impossible to get into but fun, WVIT 210 because yes I would love to help pick grapes and make wine in a vineyard, FSN 121 which is cooking class, and the chocolate making class because cooking is fun and getting class credit for it is even more fun, BRAE 141 because why wouldn’t I need to learn how to drive a tractor, the equestrian horse riding class, and SO much more. Let me know if there are any fun classes I forgot especially if they don’t have prerequisites!!