Remember those courses? Yes, those. The ones that required triple or quad-shots of espresso just to get you through three pages of the textbook, and at the end of your binge study session, you have no clue what you’ve just read or how it contributes to your life. Also, you look down to find your notes are encrypted. You know you wrote them, but…you may as well have written them in Greek.
Aren’t those courses the best? They make you question the meaning of life, your life purpose statement, our higher education system, your degree, and more. These are also the courses our friends have to hear a little too much about over messaging:
who the heck decided 120 credits was the magic number? Why not like….60? or 45…ok, like 50 idk, just not 120
^ that’s gonna be my age by the time I finish this decree
some insane person
maybe you’ll get a senior discount by the time you graduate
hardy harI’ll take the discount now
…this course is going to kill me, which is funny because this is a nutrition class….
What if we ditched school and lived in a van down by the river? that’s hip now
Can you make sure there’s hot coco at my funeral?
with little marshmallows
I hate school.
Why don’t we just watch the 5-minute university
and get the rest of our degree from TED talks?
…LET’S DO IT.
We joke about these things, but… we’re not really joking, are we? We expect college and the courses we take to help us launch into adulthood and our careers, and it’s frustrating when we have to spend our time studying information that seems frankly useless. For those of you who have thought this, wondered this, or daydreamed about better options, here are five course college classes that aren’t offered, but should be–because they’re life courses.
1) Principles of Rest:
Description: In this course, students will learn how to effectively master the art of resting , specifically in an American culture which praises ceaseless productivity, encourages busyness, and claims it is a necessity to a prosperous life. This is an advanced level course, and students are encouraged not to be fooled by the meekness of the title and to allot a significant amount of time for mastery of the material. Prerequisites: The Fundamentals of Napping 112 Required resources: Pillows, blankets, ear buds, and other devices that encourage relaxation for the individual. No highlighters, day planners, or other stress-inducing items are permitted (likely will vary by student). Recommended Resources: Tea, chocolate, cookies, markers, paint, Frisbees, and music. Credits: 6 *If course cannot be taken, here are some supplementary resources: • The Bible: study God’s design and purpose for the Sabbath. Is it a recommended practice or a commanded practice? How would that affect you keeping it? • Margin by Richard Swenson: a book on the need for rest and how to implement it practically. • Make a list of fun, replenishing activities (or lack thereof) that you can save for your Sabbath day and do them only on that day. You can do other fun stuff throughout the week, but have a few special things set aside. • If you’re an extreme workaholic, consider how to be intentionally “useless” one day. You don’t have to morph into a slug, but take a serious step back from trying to save the world. Be useless. Relive the bliss of finger painting.
2) Social Media Management:
Description: In this course, students will learn personal management of their social media accounts and how to implement healthy boundaries that make their relationship with social media sustainable and stress-reduced. NOTE: ”Stress-free” is not something that can be guaranteed. Prerequisites: Instagram Filters 101, Emojis: the Modern Medium of Communication 223, How to Meme 111, and Principles of Tweeting 203. Required resources: At least one social media site that has been maintained for a month, at minimum. An electronic device which you can access your social media account(s) on. Recommended resources: At least two social media accounts (Facebook and either Twitter or Instagram). Credits: 3 *If course cannot be taken, here are some supplementary resources: • Make a list of your social media accounts. Figure out which ones drain you the most. For those that do, figure out how to limit your exposure, and depending on the degree of stress they induce, consider deactivating them altogether. • Once you have your problematic social media accounts figured out and a rough idea of how to better manage them, explain to friends and other people that could get worried or offended by you fading away, or taking a step back on the platform why you are doing so. • If you feel really stuck, consider treating this like an addiction. Look up resources along those lines and don’t be afraid to take bold steps. Your sanity is worth more than 300 likes.
3) Home/Car Repair and Maintenance
Description: In this course, students will learn how the basic skills required to maintain their home and vehicles. This will be a heavily hands-on course, and students should be aware that grease stains, spraying water, and loud noises are likely to be encountered. Enroll at your own risk. Prerequisites: The Anatomy of a Hammer 101 Required Resources: The Fire Extinguisher: A Comprehensive Guide 11th ed.; ice packs; bandaids; ratty t-shirts; Interior Design: How to Make Holes in Your Wall Look Fab; and Duct Tape and WD40: All You Need To Fix the World, 6th ed. Additional Recommended Resources: Insurance. Credits: 4 *If course cannot be taken, here are some supplementary resources: • Youtube: Every problem that ever existed someone decided to film themselves fixing. Ok, not every problem…but most problems for sure. PLEASE NOTE: if you find yourself beginning a project and feel stumped or discover the wall is hissing and/or vibrating, please call a professional. • For car maintenance, call a local mechanic and see if you can come hang out and learn from them for a few days. You’ll probably end up working for free, but those hours spent will be well worth if you can change the oil in your car yourself. • If you need to get inspired about fixing car problems, listen to a few episodes of Car Talk. • Blog posts: There’s all kinds of fixer-upper types who like to blog about their projects. Google is your friend.
4) The Nuances of the English Langue: How to Converse in a Diverse Culture
Description: While many students assume that the key to communication is knowledge of the language itself, every language has subcategories and nuances that distinguish regions and the people who use it. English on Wall Street is different than English in the hood, or at a bar, or in a Kindergarten room. In this course, students will interact from English speakers that represent these subcategories and learn how to converse. Prerequisites: None. Required Resources: English: It’s More Complicated than You Think 4th ed. Recommended Resources: A willingness to be clueless. Credits: 3 *If course cannot be taken, here are some supplementary resources: • Find people whether in coffee shops, at school, when you go to the gym, or when you’re running errands that are different than you and start getting to know them. Listen to how they speak English • See if there’s an international student program at your local college, figure out if they have a small group, and go hang around the students there! Chances are you’ll learn a mixture of their native language and how that translates into how they speak English. • Read books and watch movies and TV shows about other cultures.
5) Reality Check: You’ll Never Have Life Figured Out
Description: In this course, students will learn that the panic they feel about the unknown, rather than being temporary, is a chronic human condition. It will not diminish with age, and the sooner students are aware of this, the sooner they’ll learn how to manage it. In the words on one student who completed this course: “Woot.” Prerequisites: At least one panic session spent contemplating this reality. Required Resources: An assortment of memes to express your emotions. Recommended Resources: Playlist of featuring “Let It Go” from Frozen. Credits: 6 *If course cannot be taken, here are some supplementary resources: • Find some mentors (ideally people older than you) who have been through more and can offer better perspective. • Take a look at your anxiety. Where does it stem from? What are your specific fears about the future? Why are those fears there? Pray and ask God for how you can tackle them together. • Get a friend on the phone and laugh. Seriously. Laughing about your lack of control can be so helpful in you learning how to deal with it. • If panic sessions get really bad, just remember: hot chocolate is better than beer, margaritas, or cigarettes. Written by Sarah Shaw