Five lightweight courses you can afford to skip

Summer ended like a bad fling and you’ve found yourself back in the rigid seats of stale academia. You soon realize the whole bio-chem thing just isn’t working out for you. But don’t sweat it — you’ve got an option to quickly unravel yourself from the mess: the classic college blow-off course.

After all the post-secondary experience shouldn’t all be about astrophysics and linear algebra. Sure you want to impress a prospective employer with a glossy transcript wrapped in awards and accolades but if you’re all scholastic and zero social you’ll quickly be labelled as a management disaster and likely will never be a welcome part of the sacred water cooler chat.

That’s why there’s a trend among many academic institutions to offer classes that are off the beaten track; courses that draw themes from pop culture music or sports. They may even be a professor’s pet project to share their passions. There’s a place and a time for them and they certainly cover new academic ground.

Whether you’re looking for an easy A to polish that glowing GPA or you want to invigorate your timetable here are five lightweight courses from the University of Calgary (U of C) or Mount Royal College (MRC) you can’t help but ace no matter how many times you ignore your alarm clock or detour to the campus pub.

• Computer Science 203: Introduction to Computers (U of C)

Course description: Computer system fundamentals personal computer applications software and computer communications both on campus and using the Internet. Students will use personal computers to complete assignments in word processing spreadsheet analysis database management and other applications.

Bottom line: Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last 15-odd years the structure of modern society means any kid from the block has the wherewithal to turn on a computer and download illegal music to their iPod. Now then word processing and this peculiar thing you speak of “the Internet” shouldn’t be a problem. Heck you might even be reading this online right now.

• GEOL 2209: Introduction to Geology (MRC)

Course description: Basic concepts regarding the major features of the Earth: its rock and mineral composition; processes controlling erosion deposition and surface structures; formation of the landscape; the history of the Earth; plate tectonics and geological hazards and how it all relates to you.

Bottom line: Commonly referred to as “Rocks for Jocks” courses in this department are often overrun with students seeking breezer courses. Don’t completely slack as science will involve firing of the brain cells from time to time but high school science and social studies even if it’s been years since you were there will have your back here.

• Music History and Literature 309: Music and Popular Culture (U of C)

Course description: Survey and specific examination of popular music and culture ranging from classical styles to rock within a historical and sociological context. The course will examine the meaning and messages of popular music and its impact on present-day culture. Topics may include The Beatles and Rolling Stones rock and roll black music jazz music and media blues Sinatra Broadway and others.

Bottom line: For the music aficionados in particular this course will be more of a journey into the backgrounds of how some of your favourite artists’ repertoires fit into overall society. Sit back listen and walk away with an A.

• PHED 1215: Lifetime Leisure Activities (MRC)

Course description: This course provides an exposure to a variety of lifetime physical and leisure skills. It includes a variety of individual dual and team physical activities; cultural and social activities; managing and planning leisure time; and an introduction to personal health associated with lifetime leisure pursuits.

Bottom line: For the true slacker you’d have to try hard not to ace this class. Time off vacation relaxation — these are all synonymous with the term “leisure” so having it in the course title means only one thing: freedom. You’ll literally play tennis one week yoga the week after and billiards the next. Good times.

• University 301: The Poisoned Pen (U of C)

Course description: Consideration of poisons from two different perspectives: science and literature. Using a problem-based approach students will not only learn what makes a poison effective but also the essence of good storytelling.

Bottom line: Wow ’nuf said. This just screams filler.

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