Stupid courses

I’m a freshman in college, just finishing my first semester. I took a class called “Strategies in Stress Reduction.” Sounded like a good idea. All we did was write journal entries and talk about our feelings. Occasionally we’d fall asleep on the floor meditating. Don’t get me wrong, I like the stuff I learned, and I’m glad I got exposed to a lot of this stuff (tai chi, yoga, alternative medicine) but it was sorta stupid to take it as a class. I did the math, turned out it cost me $60 a class to take it. Almost a dollar a minute.

So what stupid college courses did the TM suffer through? Not necessarily bad courses (they deserve their own thread) but silly ones.

Oh, yeah. They’re giving me 3 whole credits for this waste of time, too! The same as for my shockingly difficult honors philosophy class, “Individual Freedom vs Authority.” Crazy.

Well not stupid but defintely odd…

European Intellectual History
International Studies - Terrorism

I honestly don’t find that stupid at all. Look at what stress does to people:

I attacked Santa for crying out loud! See, with better stress reduction and anger management I wouldn’t be like that!


I didn’t take the class, but one semester an honors class was offered in “The Mythology of the Loch Ness Monster”. Actually, to be honest, I wanted to take the thing, but couldn’t fit it in my schedule.

My freshman seminar was called “The Films of Ingmar Bergman and the Classical Tradition.” Here is a complete summary of what I learned:

  1. “Through a Glass Darkly,” “Winter Light,” and “The Silence” are a trilogy.

  2. The Oresteia is also a trilogy.

  3. There are journeys in several Bergman films.

  4. There is also a journey in the Odyssey.

  5. Bergman’s films are really depressing and hard to understand.

  6. Even if you don’t really understand something, you can still write a paper relating it to Shakespeare and get an A minus.

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I like English courses because the more creativity allow you the less you have to actually write about the novels discussed.

One of my favorite tricks is to write about old pulp fiction heroes; I just handed in a paper all about The Shadow; the topic assigned was Zora Neale Hurston. That instructor shares an office with my instructor from last semester, for whom I wrote a five page paper on the first four Tarzan novels.

I’m taking a comparative literature class this semester. We had to write an eleven page paper on the readings for the semester, but I never read them. In class I would bring my own books to read, just so I didn’t look like I was falling asleep. My paper was all about THOSE books, and I think at least one page discussed nothing but the T-shirt I was wearing.

I love English and Literature courses. It’s the math courses that are going to make me fail out of college. . . :frowning:

For some strange reason, my school makes Public Relation majors take two classes of accounting and two classes of economics. I really hate my accounting class–it has to be the absolute worst!

“If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster, and treat those two impostors just the same.”

I once took an elective course “Survey of Independent Films”. Basically it consisted of sitting in an auditorium, watching movies, and listening to the instructor complain about the evils of slickhollywoodcommercialism (it apparently was one word to her). At the end of the year we had a final that consisted of a couple of dozen multiple choice questions. Easiest course I ever took.

When I went to San Francisco State, there was a course called Math Without Fear - a prep course for those who (apparently) couldn’t meet the school’s math requirement otherwise. Given that the math requirement was a mere three credits, I always wondered how anyone who needed that course managed to graduate from high school to begin with.

At my college we have COMP 150, a required course that is supposed to teach us how to “join scholarly discourse groups.”

Don’t worry, I don’t understand what that means either. I think they wanted us to learn how to write professionally-- citing sources, supporting arguments, and so on. These are very valuable skills for college students to have.

I wound up getting a C- for the course because I didn’t “add anything important to the scholarly discussion of the course material,” or something along those lines. I think the real reason I got a C- was because I disagreed with the course material and wrote strong, well-researched papers refuting it. I was the only one in the class to do so and the only one who got a C or lower.

I confronted the professor about it and pointed out in the course description that the course was supposed to teach us to “think independently and take our own side in a professional manner.” I argued that they couldn’t expect everyone to agree with the course material, especially when it was so controversial (it concerned native american rights).

I got nowhere. When I left the professor’s office, I was convinced that I was supposed to learn how to think independently while agreeing with the course material on all points!

When I filled out the course evaluation form after finals, I wrote that “this course taught me that students are not supposed to question anything the professor tells them. It also taught me that no matter how professionally I write, I will never be taken seriously by a professor as long as I am a student. In short, it taught me everything that the course description said it would not teach me.” Everyone else in the class wrote glowing reviews.

– Sylence

I don’t have an evil side. Just a really, really apathetic one.

I took a couple of classes in the history of philosophy (required, as a PHIL major); as I recall, they were Classical Greek and Early Modern European. Both were taught by the same prof.

His style was this: he came in at the start of class and thought out loud in front of us. I skipped each class for over a month at a stretch. When I returned, NOTHING had happened. In both classes, I turned in all the required papers on the last day of class, over 2 months after they were due. Got Bs in both classes.

I’ve had some other strange classes, but those were probably the most useless.

In 1978 I took an upper division elective at UT Austin - The History of Rock’n’Roll. As you might imagine, this was a hugely popular course held in a large auditorium. Most of the course (conducted under the auspices of the Music Department; it wouldn’t have been anywhere near as enjoyable if the sociologists had been running it) was an oldies b.s. session, with audio homework assignment at the library (which served me well at oldies trivia contests in bars for a few years). The prof was a music prof who really did try and make it a meaningful examination of the development of a branch of musical style. It was a gas, an easy “A” (which many people flunked - that’s college) and our grade was based on oldies quizzes plus (60%) a term project. So I wrote and recorded a reggae-modern jazz-synthesizer fusion thing about the then current news of Jim Jones cyanide massacre called (amazing originality) Guyana that we recorded with my g/f (a music major) on one of those cheapo synthesizers about the size of your keyboard, my downstairs neighbor w/his 4 string guitar (both plugged into a Fender Princeton amp) and me on drums. My all-time favorite overnight term paper session. Recorded on a cassette player.

The following semester my roommate took the Home Ec course “Kitchen Equipment” which resulted in our living room being littered with a (to me) awesome amount of clipped toaster ads.

Comparative education. Phooey!

I enrolled in “humor” as my english class.

laugh if you wiil, but that course is on the theories of humor, that is like trying to explain the theories of dreams. it is way too elusive to discribe. sure there are theories on it, and i could list a list a mile long, but com’on, it is still difficult to understand why people laught at Rodney Dangerfield, that is tourture.

Just to add to this, it is no longer just an upper division course. All students at UT can take this course, yet now it always has open spots at the end of registration times. I can’t really explain why. I think just the fact that it sounds so easy makes the students paranoid about taking it. I’ve decided to wait till senior year to take it with a group of friends so we’ll have a dependable place to meet.

I took a grad-level course called, “The philosophy of space and time”, which was studies in the nature of space and time by philosophers instead of scientists.

Easy ‘A’, collossal waste of time. I wrote a bullshit final essay which I can’t remember and which scored through the roof because I quoted liberally from the professor’s own published book.

Who cares what a liberal arts grad thinks about the nature of space? He’s not a scientist, and his scholarly meanderings are completely irrelevant to what the nature of space really is.

Has anyone ever taken a course in Klingon language/culture? I’ve heard that some colleges offer such courses.

I know Georgia Tech used to have mandatory swimming classes for all students. The catch - it was in the nude. Needless to say, this was when it was an all-male school. Thankfully, that was well before my time, or I would have taken a scholarship elsewhere.

Well, shut my mouth. It’s also illegal to put squirrels down your pants for the purposes of gambling.

I think the worst idea for a class I can think of was Introductory English Composition. It was the third in a series of remedial classes for incoming students; you could get out of the first two with a sufficient score on your Test of Standard Written English. The problem is, this one should have been waive-able as well.

The class seemed a little more like reading comprehension than anything else. Almost all the writing projects were book reviews; I remember two exeptions.

One was to learn and right about the political views of a black public figure. The instructor warned us against choosing Bill Cosby as a public figure, since his political views are not easy to assess given very little political content in his interviews. I thought, c’mon, fella, we’re one of the most politically-oriented schools in the known universe; in spite of their big hair or baseball caps, these people are sophomores, and are going to known tons of black leader vastly more relevant to politics than Bill Freakin Cosby.

I was wrong. At least two students in the class chose Bill Cosby in spite of the teacher’s recommendations, and apparently had trouble assessing his political views.

The other exception was a paper about your personal views on a topic. Just expound upon your world-view, make a case for something or other. It doesn’t have to be a strict argument from a text or anything. So I made an argument that alcohol occupied far too large a position in American society, and that we dealt with the problem with denial and lashing out - sort of a case of mass alcoholism. The evaluation: the paper is too subjective, and reflects only your own world-view.

Any similarity in the above text to an English word or phrase is purely coincidental.

And using the word “right” wrong in the third paragraph wasn’t a typo. In fact it was my brave resistance against the despotic rule of English Composition. That’s the ticket.