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Weirdest Classes To Spice Up Your Schedule

With 40,000 kids here in State College, the university offers plenty of different classes and experimentation with them is seemingly endless.

From weird interests to way-too-specific major classes, and the just plain strange, here are a few of the oddest and funniest classes you can find on Penn State’s course bulletin:

ANTH 403 — Evolution of Human Walking

Chapter 1: Left Foot and It’s History. Chapter 2: Right Foot and It’s History. Chapter 3: Standing Up is Harder than It Looks. Chapter 4: Are We Walking Yet? When are We Going to Get to the Good Stuff?

ANTH 441 — From Stone Ax to Uzi: Tradition and Change in the New Guinea Highlands

Ah yes, the great land of New Guinea. Can’t get enough of it. Apparently the people you’ll be studying in this course were exposed to modern technology in the early 1900s and these poor, poor people were forced to use oppressive imperialistic inventions like electricity and the wheel. But they were able to keep their native culture through it all, which is pretty sick. I wish we could bring back shamans and stuff like that. I can also appreciate a cool course title, so good job ANTH.

WILDL 204 — Wildlife Mensuration

To be honest, this course is only on here because I saw “Menstruation” instead of “Mensuration” the first time I read it, leading to an immediate sense of wonderment at the possibility that there were people studying about menstruating deer in an actual classroom environment. So here’s to you, WILDL 204, for your easily misread title.

OILS 404 — Urban Soils

Is this the equivalent to the “urban market” that demographic statistics always reference? “Boy oh boy, we sure are reaching those loam and clay markets, but why aren’t we making headway in the urban market?” And the Grammy for Best Urban Soil Album goes to…

NUTR 421 — Food Culture and Health Trends

I find the thought of a couple of kale-head hipsters sitting in a lecture hall arguing over whether stuffing your face with quinoa or sticking to a straight paleo diet is better for you quite hilarious. I bet the textbook is a free subscription to one of those health magazines with all the cluttered text on the cover.

INART 410 — Early Pennsylvania Decorative Arts and Furniture

Where’s my Late and Middle Era Pennsylvania Arts and Furniture? You can’t tease me like that, Department of Integrative Arts! Sure, you got Nineteenth Century Pennsylvania Architecture and Restoration, and I’ll gobble that up like a pint from the Creamery, but it’s not the same. Don’t take me for a fool — either give me the whole history of Pennsylvania Decorative Arts and Furniture or none at all.

HIST 203Y — History of Monsters, Aliens & The Supernatural

Is this like that Ancient Aliens show or those million “Searching for Bigfoot” documentaries? I hope the professor is one of those Ghostbuster types, on the edge of getting thrown out but SOOOO close to a big break. Hair is all messy, tie is crooked, suit is a size too big or just 50 years old. Hasn’t heard of dry cleaning. His office is a closet and covered in those X-Files “I Want to Believe” posters, except he put them up there unironically. I’m so into aliens and stuff (of course they’re out there), but I don’t want them messing with our planet. They’re probably going to have lasers and new diseases and I’m not sure if that’s my cup of tea.

HIST 189 (ASIA 189) — Illicit Asia: An Alternative Introduction to Asia

The underground. The real deal. Not that fake Asia you see on the news. Not those cool looking markets in Bangkok with the sick street food, not all those awesome temples and Buddhist shrines, not the Great Wall or Mt. Fuji. Taj Mahal? You have to be kidding me. No kid, you’re getting the real Asia. Alt nation. No tourists around, straight yakuza stuff going on. Ever witness a bribery go down in the Chinese Communist Party headquarters? Or get mugged in a Burmese bathhouse? Bet you’d rather see that than the Forbidden City or other boring stuff like that. Get real, man.

AN SC 225 — Introduction to Dairy Judging

I wonder if half this class involves looking at slide shows full of buckets of milk and comparing them. You must get numb at some point, every cow mixing together in your mind until you dream of them at night. Someone has to work those county fairs.

ANTH 478 — Cannibalism

The description of this one makes it: “Explores the cultural institution of cannibalism, uses of the ‘cannibal’ label, and cannibalism’s meaning among those who practiced it.” Oh yes, we must make sure to give cannibals their due respect. Don’t go throwing around that cannibal word — be sure to respect those who think it’s okay to eat Uncle Mark in order to satisfy their pagan blood god. I wonder what a cannibal Thanksgiving is like. Do they still eat other meats and sides or is it all people all the time? Do they pull a tofurky and just pretend what they’re eating is the real thing? Maybe we just need to understand cannibals and their apparent institutional importance. If they start eyeing you up and complimenting you on your fine-looking rump, don’t take it as a compliment.

What weird classes have you taken? Let us know in the comments!

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About the Author

Matt Paolizzi

Since graduating from Penn State in 2021, Matt is (hopefully) manning a successful job and (hopefully) living a happy life by now. In a past life, he was a writer for Onward State and remains a proud alumnus of the best student publication in the country. Check out Podward State too, Onward State's official podcast, that he co-founded alongside Matt Ogden and Mitch Stewart in 2019. It's his baby, give it a wave and make sure it's doing okay. Thanks to da king Sam Brungo and everyone who follows, it most definitely is.

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