Break your schedule

Lighten the heavy course load with a fun elective

Blow glass in Chico State’s Hot Shop glass studio …

Blow glass in Chico State’s Hot Shop glass studio …

Photo By matt siracusa

Academic Advising Programs Student Services Center 220 898-5712
free advice: Join. Get involved in some type of campus organization or activity. You may not imagine it now, but you’ll meet some of your best friends in campus groups. Join a club, a volunteer group, DJ at the campus radio station or write for the student newspaper.

You are dreading the class load that awaits you at Chico State. Your mind numbs at the thought of having to plow through the required 48 units of general-education classes, another 48-78 units for your major, and if you chose a minor, another 18-30 units.

You are probably asking, “Can I get a little break here?” Absolutely.

There is actually a selection of “I need a break” courses at Chico State that are so fun, or are just quirky enough, that you might actually feel guilty for taking them. You’ve probably already spied a few in the catalog that have piqued your curiosity, but be sure to look into whether they match any of your requirements. If you can stray from the chosen path and get credit toward your degree, all the better. The main campus sources to check with are the course catalog, the Academic Advising Programs office, and the “Degree Progress” section of your online portal account.

Kaitlyn Baumgartner, from Academic Advising, says taking unexpected courses can not only keep you enthusiastic about school, but can also even lead to the changing of your major. She recommends that newer students, those who are undeclared or just unsure about their majors, take GE classes that not only seem fun but might also hold a potential career interest.

For those with more experience, there is also the university’s built-in depature from the norm—the required upper-division themes, which can be taken only after you have 45 GE units under your belt. These themes are like general-interest mini minors consisting of three GE classes under headings like “Minds, Brains and Machines” or “Wealth, Power and Inequality.”

Below are a few possibilities, mostly GE courses, to keep your head from drooping onto your desk. Oh, a tip: Your class experience may vary widely with these depending on your instructor. A good resource for finding what other students think about professors is

American Sports in Film (KINE 296) with Don Scott

… or golf balls with Happy Gilmore and get credits.

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Ah yes, hang out in “class” while watching ESPN. Professor Scott’s class features films and documentaries on sports legends like Jackie Robinson, Joe Louis and Muhammad Ali. It also covers issues such as the 1936 Berlin Olympics in Nazi Germany, and the struggle of women and minorities to gain equal competition rights.

But don’t be fooled, warns Scott, many students wait until late in the semester to look at the course outline and find they actually have to do some work to get a decent grade.

Sociology of Deviant Behavior (SOCI 380) with Andrew Dick

This sounds like a wild one. Dick says students often tell him this was their favorite of all their college courses. Some of the topics covered are social norms versus deviance in the areas of religion, sex, drugs, booze, prostitution and homosexuality. It challenges students to ask what they consider normal and why deviants behave the way they do. As Dick puts it, this is not simply a class that points fingers at “nuts, sluts and perverts.”

Sociology of Sexuality (SOCI 133) with Liahna Gordon

This class explores and encourages discussion on many sexual topics such as hooking up, pornography, homosexuality and transgender issues. Students enjoy talking openly about sex with classmates and learning to look at sexual behaviors from different social angles. Gordon stresses this is not a typical sex-education class on topics such as birth control and pregnancy.

Introduction to Glass Art (ARTS 276) with Robert Herhusky

Learn to make impressive works of glass art like pipes, vases and beads. Some of the skills taught are glass blowing, sandblasting and working with lead crystal. Herhusky says the class can satisfy a humanities elective, but many take it just for fun. There is no prerequisite, but faculty permission is required.

Art History Survey (ARTH 101) with Asa Mittman

Mittman says the class covers nothing less than “the greatest creations in the history of humanity!” Here you’ll study prehistoric cave paintings, King Tut’s tomb, the ancient Greek Parthenon and the Roman Coliseum. Even go behind the scenes to learn about how Nero killed his mother and what historic figure married his own daughter. Mittman explains that students really enjoy the stories surrounding these subjects, and not just the usual dates, times and places that most classes and textbooks teach.