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Freshman 101: Picking Classes That Don’t Suck

Oh, general education courses. Can’t live with them, can’t graduate without them. Since most of the freshman population will be scheduling within the next few days, we asked some upperclassmen for suggestions of the best gen eds they’ve taken in their time at Penn State. Take a look at your new and improved list of options for crossing these suckers off your degree audit.

THEA 100: The Art of the Theatre

This class was both incredibly easy and fun to attend, the utopian gen ed combination. It has a different teacher now than when I took it years ago, but Rate My Professor shows me it’s more or less the same. I recommend attending class, because actors will perform every day to provide quite a unique learning experience. As far as the grading goes, assignments were mostly online and a piece of cake when I was a freshman. I highly recommend this to fill up three of those GA credits. I should point out that both sections are currently full, but with more than 700 people between the two of them, that watch list will be blowing up your phone. — Tim Gilbert

KINES 072: Fitness Walking 

Although this class is only 1.5 credits, the life lessons you learn during your time walking throughout campus are invaluable. You must, I repeat you MUST take this class with Mike Morse, one of the best, if not the best professor on campus. We’ve already covered some of his stories, but the fact that Coach Morse really invests in his students makes him stand out amongst his peers. I could go on and on about Coach Morse, but the title of the class says it all: You literally walk around campus. Although you can’t “mosey,” this class is for just about everyone. From Troll Walks to Freaky Friday, this was by far the best class I’ve taken at Penn State. — Ted Hozza

RPTM 297G: Interpreting Maple Sugaring to Families

This two-credit course is perfect for freshmen who need to improve their GPA after a rough first semester. The class meets six times in total and culminates at the end of March with the annual Maple Harvest Festival at Shaver’s Creek. The course teaches students how to tap sugar maple trees and shows them how sap is turned into maple syrup. The students then tell members of the community who come to the festival about the process of producing maple syrup. As an added incentive, there’s all-you-can-eat pancakes and maple syrup available to students who take the class during the festival. — Jessica Tully

A&A 100: Introduction to International Arts

This class was one of the most enjoyable academic experiences I’ve had as a student at Penn State, and not just because it spirited lecturer, turning what is otherwise a “boring” topic into a fun experience. The class only runs 50 minutes, and each lesson is intellectually stimulating. Upon enrolling in this class, I knew next to nothing about international cultures, so learning about the history of classic arts like opera, literature, mosaics, and dance in various countries was incredibly interesting. It sounds cliché, but I learned something new every class. Ploog has unsurpassed knowledge in the field, and his tangents about his international traveling experiences are always worth a laugh. Not to mention, if you’re the type of student that hates taking notes and paying attention to detail, the quizzes (one per week, and that’s it!) can be easily answered with the help of your old pal Google. Bonus: You can earn extra credit for attending awesome shows on campus that you might not have given thought to otherwise, like the African tribal/hip hop dance fusion I saw during my semester. — CJ Doon

Freshmen, you’re welcome. Upperclassmen, if you have any other easy gen ed suggestions, tell us in the comments.

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Posts from the all-student staff of Onward State.


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