What Was Your Most Ridiculous College Class?

Illustration for article titled What Was Your Most Ridiculous College Class?

It's finals season for some college students, and I personally know one who is busy studying ... for Wine Tasting. You know you're jealous. And if you were lucky, you maybe once took a class like that yourself.

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A quick poll of the Jezebel staff resulted in a course catalog of the easy and the ridiculous. Dodai took Sex in Ancient Rome, "which meant reading long poems about penii" (yes, for you Latin sticklers, it's technically penes, which I think is even grosser). Katy's first-year seminar involved "'classical symposiums,' in which we would watch a movie and drink a ton of wine (because that's what the Greeks did, or something)." She adds, "Since we were all underage, I'm pretty sure that was illegal." Margaret's Shakespeare in Performance class "involved two classmates standing on a conference table and fighting each other with fake knives," while Intern Maura's Organizational Communication "turned into 'listen to the professor ponder his life experiences while I drink boxed wine and eat cookies.'" And Jessica enjoyed Beat Lit, in which the "professor burned incense while everyone just talked about drugs."

But we've bet you've got better tales to tell. Did you take a silly or bizarre course in college (perhaps, say, a "blow-off class") or enroll in something that turned out to be much weirder than you expected? We want to hear about it.

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Tell us your tales of higher education (either in the comments or to annanorth@jezebel.com, subject line "College Classes"), and we'll catalog the absurdity. Three key points that we need to know: a) the official course title and school; b) what you thought the class would be about; and c) what it actually entailed. Your personal anonymity will remain protected.

The best classes will be highlighted next week. Until then, happy studying!

Image via Picsfive/Shutterstock.com.

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DISCUSSION

ProfessorPink
Professor Pink

Two undergraduate classes come to mind that were wildly different than I expected. Both were honors seminars (honors students had to take three over the course of their college studies): Ethical issues in molecular biology, and Policing the pregnant body.

Ethical issues in molecular biology was taught by a med school professor, so I expected it to be highly scientific and very difficult. Although we did read several scientific articles on molecular biology at the beginning of the semester, they were only for background information, and we were never tested on the material. The only grade in the class was a presentation—basically a pair of students was required to take over the seminar each week, explain the background of an issue, and then engage in an interesting discussion about the ethics involved. My partner and I did DNA testing in legal issues—we talked a lot about O.J., to give you an idea of when this took place. :) The class was a snap, and pretty much everyone got an A just for showing up.

Lulled into complacency from this first seminar experience, the next one I signed up for had the (so I thought) "fluffy" title of "Policing the pregnant body." On the first day of class we each had to choose a week that we would lead the class discussion. I hadn't purchased the books yet and looking at the stack on the table, I spied a slender volume by someone named Foucault with the unassuming title, "The History of Sexuality, Vol. 1." It was the smallest reading on the syllabus, and also one of the first books we'd cover—I like to get things out of the way. Sooo, yeah. With basically no background in feminist theory, poststructuralism, or, really, ANYTHING that might have prepared me for Foucault, I volunteered to teach the class about The History of Sexuality. Two weeks later, I sat before my classmates staring at the book in my hands, saying, "It was... it was about... um... power? And pleasure? Umm.... spiraling?" Boy, did I need a life preserver that day! I'm still amazed I survived.

The contrast between those two courses definitely taught me not to judge a class by its title! I teach in a women's studies department now and have taught about such "fluffy" topics as bodies, sexuality, or Buffy Studies—and often those classes involve the most difficult and sophisticated texts/topics that I use. Whenever I hear politicians bemoaning things like "Madonna Studies," I want to tell them they wouldn't last a day in a class like that.