You aced the ACT. You survived the college application process and the long, breathless wait for acceptance letters. Now that you know where you’re going, you can take a deep breath, relax and look through the course catalog. Should be pretty standard stuff, right?
You find the usual language, math and science classes, but what’s this? You can take a Vinyl DJ Workshop? You can learn to spin vinyl, create your own mixes and be the life of the party? That’s different. The Vinyl DJ Workshop, held by Oberlin College is just one of the unusual and strange classes and workshops offered by colleges and universities throughout the United States. Even the most prestigious schools offer classes that are more than just a little offbeat.
If you have ever thought of joining the circus, the Circus Arts class at Triton College might be the right choice. Learn magic tricks, polish up on your unicycle riding skills and, best of all, learn to be a clown. If speaking is more your style, you can learn Elvish, the language of Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” books, at the University of Wisconsin. Temple University explores America’s reaction to UFOs. The course covers everything from the military response to UFOs to cult followers.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) offers a plethora of unusual classes. Furniture making follows the history of furniture making and gives students a hands-on experience using woodworking techniques. Another unusual MIT class is the Street Fighting Mathematics course, designed for students who just have to know how to mathematically measure the velocity of a punch to the face. Students interested in comparative media learn all about American pro wrestling, explore its cultural history and delve into the media industry that surrounds it. Home Economics gets an upgrade in MIT’s Kitchen Chemistry class. Hands-on cooking experiments demonstrate chemical principles, including phase changes, denaturation and extraction.
Alfred University, a private school in Alfred, New York, asks the question, “Superior beings: if they exist, how would we know?” Students apply gaming theory to find the answers. Another Alfred University offering is the course on the art of being a tightwad. Students learn how to be frugal and spot the trappings of capitalism. If you have a sweet tooth, you can learn all about maple syrup and its history in Alfred’s Maple Syrup: The Real Thing class.
Philosophers tackle the toughest question of all in the Rhode Island School of Design’s The Meaning of Life class. For a different approach, sign up for The Anthropology of Magic, Witchcraft and Religion class at Moorpark College. If golf is your game, the Golf Course Management class at Tarleton State University might be for you. Students who like to get their hands dirty do that and more in Santa Clara University’s Joy of Garbage class. The course is a pungent in-depth study of odors and decomposition. Last but not least, Columbia College in Chicago offers a Zombies in Popular Media class designed to keep you up at night.