Completely Useless College Classes That We Can Live Without But Choose Not To…

21Jun11

Since I work at a college, I am obviously interested in all kinds of things college-related. So, when I found this Huffington Post article, I knew that, even though I was pretty busy, I just had to take the 5 minutes out of my day to read it. The article lists out the weirdest college courses that are offered, and I couldn’t help but think of all the money that is wasted from students who enroll in these courses:

The first class that is listed is offered at Hampshire College and is called “Historical Sewing Techniques for Practical Uses”. I think when you first read the course description, it can sound a little more impressive and academic than it really is. Basically, they teach you how to sew like your great-grandmother so that you can make quilts and curtains (or should I say “drapes”? Old people always call curtains “drapes”). I mean, they should have just called it “How to Age Yourself Beyond Your Years and Repel the Opposite Sex” because there is no way that any other student will be impressed with you if you tell them you’re taking that course.

Yeah, let's bring back these good ol' days...great idea.

The second class that the article lists is offered at Alfred University and is called “Maple Syrup: The Real Thing”. I can only assume that this class teaches you how distinguish between proper Maple Syrup and that Aunt Jemimah stuff. Honestly, you don’t need a class to do that; you just need to taste one and then taste the other. Bam! You will know the difference in 5 seconds flat. We Canadians love our Maple Syrup; we start learning about it before we can even walk. Perhaps this class should have been called “Maple Syrup: Maybe I Should Just Cross the Border to Learn About it and Save Myself $1,178”.

It'll cost you 4 months of your time and $1,178 of your hard-earned money to learn the difference between these types of Maple Syrup...definitely worth it.

The next class listed is offered at Montclaire State University called “How to Watch TV”. I’m sure that the university will tell you that they will teach you how to understand that The Simpsons is all about existentialism, and how Animaniacs was a cartoon that was really a comment on racial diversity and family dynamics, but let’s be honest here…they should just call the class “How to Do What I Do Every Saturday Morning”.

If that TV watching class can teach me how to program this universal remote control, then I'm in...

The fourth class listed in the article is offered at the University of Texas and is entitled, “Invented Languages: Klingon and Beyond”. Now, I’m certainly not a trekkie but I am definitely a Tolkien fan, so I somewhat get the fascination behind invented languages, but I can’t imagine actually taking a course on the subject. I mean, are they going to try to explain how Klingon and Elvish could replace Latin and Aramaic?? (Actually, if that were the case, I might take that class…). I can just see the class now filling up with Trekkies and Hobbits, utterly elated that they are finally justified in their obsessions. They should just call the class “Invented Languages: How to Use Them to Ensure That You Never Get a Girlfriend”.

Maybe I would appreciate Klingon more if I dressed like this on weekends...

Just over halfway through the list of weird classes we are treated to “Portable Fresco” offered at Colby College, where you can “learn the techniques of this age-old medium, as they make substrates of wood and lathe, grind pigments, and paint true ‘Buon Fresco’ on freshly laid wet plaster”. That sounds great. Always good to put something like that on your resume. They should call this class “Portable Desk-o” because you’ll be moving from one employer to another, begging for them to hire you with your highly narrowed skill set.

I'm sure he's got a desk hidden somewhere in that hobo bag...

The sixth class on the list brings us to Evergreen State College where they offer a course called “Looking At Animals”. I’m pretty sure I took that class in grade school; it was called “Going to the Zoo”.

The seventh installment on the list is called “The Joys of Garbage” which is offered at Santa Clara University. I wonder if they would still call it that title if they were in Toronto during our garbage strike in 2009 when people had to pile their garbage bags on top of their roofs because there wasn’t enough space on the sidewalks for it. I can’t imagine why anyone in their right mind would want to take this class…and you can’t help but wonder if there are any field trips. I think they should just entitle this course “The Joys of Going Through All of the Stuff That I Leave in a Pile at the End of My Driveway Every Tuesday Morning”. Ridiculous.

Christie Pits Park during the garbage strike. Ahhh...such a joy.

The last useless course that the article lists is offered at Columbia College, where they encourage students to make a connection between “student disciplines and the figure of the zombie” in a class entitled “Zombies in Popular Media”. Can’t they just call the class “Nick Nolte on Celebrity Rehab”? I mean, it’s pretty much the same thing…

Obviously, these are all college classes that we can live without but, for some reason, we keep them around. My Alma Mater used to have a course just as useless as all of the ones that I’ve just listed; it was entitled “The Art of Bird Watching”. All you needed was one “textbook” that had nothing but pictures of birds in it, and the professor would just show you slide after slide of different kinds of birds. On the final exam, there were several photographs of birds and you just needed to name all of them. It was actually impossible to get below an A- in that class…it was, quite literally, a bird class.

So, for those of you entering college in the fall, please don’t make the mistake of wondering into one of these classes, agreeing to pay thousands of dollars to learn about something that will in no way affect your future in a positive way. Make sure that you take something actually relevant to the line of work that you are hoping to get into. If not, you may be destined to wander the earth for all eternity with your resume in hand, trying to convince someone out there to hire you for your mad 19th Century sewing skills.

And, FYI, just because you speak Klingon doesn’t mean that you can state on your resume that you’re bilingual…

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11 Responses to “Completely Useless College Classes That We Can Live Without But Choose Not To…”

  1. My Klingon does too make me bilingual! Really funny take on those crazy courses. Although I could totally teach zombies in pop culture. Don’t judge me. Also you should start an official correspondence course on syrup. You can be a maple syrup mentor.

    • Honestly, I have no doubt that you could teach zombies and TV watching in one of your classes and it would actually be good. I would still make fun of it, though. πŸ˜‰

      As for my maple syrup course, I’ve already started building the curriculum. Tuition will be $1,098 plus the cost of books and waffles…

      Thanks for reading, Clay!

  2. Portable Desk-o = hilarious.

    A million points for mentioning Animaniacs. It was pretty postmodern.

    • Animaniacs was one of the best cartoons that has ever existed and everyone in our generation knows it. That’s why we still go around saying, “Hellooooo Nurse!”

      Thanks for stopping by and for the kind words, Chris. Coming from you, it is very high praise, indeed. πŸ™‚

  3. That’s really nice of you to say. Thank you!

    In Eighth grade, we had to carry a bag of flour wrapped in duct tape all around school for a few weeks to learn about how fragile babies are. (yes.) I named my flour child Wakko Cocca and drew a Wakko face on him. I also had the soundtrack! Animaniacs = pure greatness. I had a t shirt with the Brain…what other cartoon shirt could a kid get away with wearing to jr. high in 1994? Exactly.

    • Haha! Wakko Cocca!! Brilliant.

      I can one-up you on the T-shirt, though. I have every episode of Pinky and The Brain on DVD. I would like to say that I bought the set soon after the show went off the air because then I’d be about 13 or so, but I didn’t. Just bought it 2 years ago.

      You have just been one-upped. Narf.

  4. 7 ltoome1

    I love your posts and blog and so I just nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award. If you choose to accept my nomination, the strings that come attached are well worth the recognition. Do you accept my nomination?
    Here are the rules:
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    4. Notify each blogger that you nominated them and ask them if they want to accept the award. If they do, just share the rules with them.
    Keep up the excellent work. You have a loyal follower and I hope you get many more from this gesture.
    All the best,
    Linh

  5. Those are pretty useless classes. However, I’ve been told Klingon is used to test some translation software because it’s a created language and that some psyc hospitals need an interpreter every so often. That said, the last is the best reason not to learn Klingon. I’m a trekkie, but you’ve got to draw the line somewhere.

    • Hmm…maybe Klingon is more useful than I thought! I’m in no way a trekkie (I’ve never seen a full episode), so my only real exposure to Klingon is what I saw in the documentary film called “Trekkies”. There was a class that people took to specifically learn Klingon, and I learned that even some of Shakespeare’s works were translated into Klingon. I don’t get that. I just don’t see the need for a class like that. Ridiculous.

      I am sure, however, that you are nowhere near as fanatical as those people in that film were! (….are you…?) πŸ˜‰

      Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting!


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