It can be annoying to have to take college courses outside of your major to get credits, but taking other courses can be beneficial and fun! Here is a helpful list of ten enlightening college courses that may surprise you.
Think of all of the common poetry stereotypes you know. Beatnik cafes and slam poetry nights probably come to mind. Sure, that is a facet of the vast world of poetry, but there is so much more to it. Learning the history of poetry and studying classic poets is a fantastic way to gain an appreciation for the art form. You might find that you love the beauty of Chaucer’s words or maybe the spite of William Blake’s. Of course, you will be tasked with writing and presenting your own writing in a poetry class. While this may seem intimidating at first, it is important to explore your creative side.
Now, you may not be a religious person, but that does not mean that there is not anything to gain from a religion class. Religion can be one of the most enlightening college classes you take. Whether you are studying a religion that you are familiar with or a completely new ideology, you can garner a lot of useful information from a religion class. Having an understanding of different faith traditions can help you understand how others think. For instance, if you were to have some insight into Islamic tradition, then you might have an easier time understanding the specificities of Middle Eastern politics. Similarly, knowing about the different sects of Christianity can help you understand the conflicts between different faith groups. Religion is still a major factor in the world today and you should make an effort to learn about it.
Taking a philosophy class can be similar to taking religion class. Philosophy is possibly the most obvious of all of the enlightening college classes on this list. A lot of students take a basic philosophy course to fulfill credit requirements. If you take an active interest in philosophy, however, you may be surprised at how your thought process changes. Learning different philosophies can help you in other academic pursuits as well. For instance, having an understanding of different philosophies can be helpful in your writing. It is important to learn to see the world in different ways.
4. Wine Or Beer Making
If you are lucky enough to attend a school that offers a wine or beer making class, you should definitely take it. As far as enlightening college classes go, wine or beer making is probably the most fun. It is important to understand the process through which your favorite alcoholic beverages are made. Having an understanding of the alcohol production process will allow you to know exactly what you are consuming. For instance, did you know that several of the large American beer producers use adjunct ingredients like corn syrup? Similarly, a lot of wine producers add dyes to their red wine varietals to give them a certain hue. Learning about wine and beer making will not only change how you shop for alcohol, but also how you view alcohol generally.
There are several different choices when it comes to art classes. You might find yourself drawn to a class with a focus on a specific medium. If you were to take a painting class, for instance, you would learn about the various techniques employed by painters throughout history. Maybe creating art is not your forte and you would much rather learn about it. You can always take an art history class. If your college is located in a major city like San Francisco or New York, there will be plenty of museums to visit. Oftentimes, colleges in these cities will have off-campus classes, wherein students meet up at different art museums. These often prove to be the most enlightening college art classes, as they allow students to examine paintings in person, as they were meant to be seen.
6. A Course On The Classics
Depending on what your school considers “classic,” taking a course on the classics can be quite enlightening. Your reading list will more than likely include The Iliad and other works of historical literature. Your class will likely also study history, philosophy, and art as they relate to the specific literary work you all are reading. Taking a course on the classics really puts the rest of popular literature into context. You can see the threads connecting your favorite literary output to classic works of literature. Another beneficial aspect of a classics course is its focus on diverse topics. You will be learning about history, philosophy, and literature all in one course.
7. Cultural Literature
It is important to expand your understanding of other cultures and what better way to do that than to read literature? For instance, taking a class with a focus on Latino literature can really open your eyes to a whole new group of authors. Literature classes with a cultural focus often sprinkle in information about the history of said culture and prove to be some of the most enlightening college classes.
The study of behavior and the human mind should be one of the more enlightening college classes offered. Studying psychology is a fantastic way to gain insight into why people behave the way that they do. It can also help you understand your own behavior and any underlying issues you might be having. While self-diagnosis is generally not a good idea, it can be helpful to have a little more insight into the human mind.
9. Political Science
While it can be comforting to ignore politics, it is important to understand how the United States government operates. Political science is the study of political behavior and government and can be one of the most enlightening college classes you take. You will learn about the power dynamics within the United States government and how such a complex system operates. Depending on the focus of the course, you may also learn about European politics and the ever-evolving Brexit conflict between the United Kingdom and the European Union. It is important to understand all of this so that you can make educated decisions at the ballot box.
Finding a course on debate can be a little challenging, as most schools have a debate club rather than an actual course. If you are able to enroll in a debate class, however, you will find the experience enlightening. Learning to debate requires you to not only come out of your shell (sorry introverts!), but also to learn to argue from different perspectives. The ability to make a coherent, logical argument and understand the opposing side is a skill that will prove useful in post-academic life.