10 Courses to Help You Kick 2016 to the Curb

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Let’s face it— 2016 sucked the life out of all of us. From Harambe and Carrie Fisher to our political well-being, we lost a lot. No more. This year, things will turn around. Armed with our New Years’ resolutions, 2017 will be ours. Of course, a little back-up never hurt nobody. Why not turn to your university to help you kick ass (both literally and metaphorically) in the new year?

1. Surviving the Coming Zombie Apocalypse—Disasters, Catastrophes, and Human Behavior

Look, it never hurts to be prepared. Michigan State University wants to help you fight the zombies. Whether you’re an MSU student or not, this online course lies at your fingertips. The best part about it being online? If you’re a procrastinator, you can wait to enroll once the zombie apocalypse has already started and you’re hiding out in your bunker…if you have internet in said bunker. Go into 2017 ready to defend yourself against whatever shit the year may throw at you.

2. Buddhist Mindful Meditation

Start the new year off by focusing on you. The best way to do that? A meditation course like the one offered by DePaul University. “Learning to practice and think critically about some form of meditation or contemplative practice can not only transform students’ lives, it can also change their whole approach to education and career,” said DePaul University professor Michael Skelley. By the time the semester ends, your constant stress and anxiety will be long gone.

3. Retro P.E.

Sure, 2017 may finally be the year to grow up and take no bullshit, but we gotta kick back and relax a little, too. Kick it old school with Reed College and enroll in a retro P.E. class. From dodge ball to capture the flag, you’ll feel temporarily freed of the stress and turmoil that comes with adult life. Plus, this time you’ll be emotionally secure enough not to cry if you get picked last for teams. Well, maybe not, but that’s okay.

4. The Financially Savvy Student

Tired of constantly only finding $10.57 in your bank account? Yeah, us too. No one should enter the real world without learning how to stick to a budget. “Regardless of the size of your budget, being savvy is knowing how to leverage your resources to achieve as many of your goals as possible while minimizing waste of your money,” said University of Michigan professor Kristin Bhaumik. “[Budgeting] takes practice and work, but may be one of the most rewarding things a person can do for themselves and their future.” Even if you plan on marrying rich (don’t we all?), you should know how to look after your own money in case your cash-cow spouse ever calls it quits.

5. Backcountry Cooking

You don’t have to pitch a tent in under 30 seconds in order to benefit from this class at Cornell University. Let’s be honest, your kitchen is a wilderness all on its own. Chinese delivery gets expensive af, but that mysterious container in the back of your fridge doesn’t look safe either. Soup? Plaster? Who knows? Whatever the substance might be, it sure wouldn’t pass a health inspection. What you learn in this class may not secure you a job at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, but you will learn how to eat actual edible food on a budget.

6. Couch to 5K

No. More. Excuses. This year will finally be the year you get in shape. And no, not to look good (because you already do), but to be able to walk up a flight of stairs without feeling like you just climbed Everest. “I honestly can’t remember the last time I was able to run for longer than five minutes without feeling like I was dying,” said Oregon State University sophomore McKenna Roth. “Getting in better shape has been my New Years’ resolution for years, so a class that could teach me how would be amazing.” Hit up your course guide and get running (or walking at a very speedy pace).

7. Performing Stand-Up Comedy

Stop sweating the small stuff and learn how to laugh out the stress. “Perhaps the most wonderful aspect of a class like ‘Performing Stand Up Comedy’ is how it encourages students to be observers, taking life lightly and searching for ‘the funny,’” said UC San Diego professor Camille Forbes. “Ambitious college students are often intense and stressed; ‘Performing Stand Up Comedy’ offers a place where they can not only be silly and creative, but also prove to themselves how gutsy they can be, while checking off a very impressive ‘bucket list’ item.”

8. The Rhetoric of Online Dating

You see “wyd?” in your Tinder messages before you immediately lose hope. Is romance really dead? Figure out what you’re doing wrong with University of Michigan’s crash course on online dating. Or, learn how to spot the no good, only-gonna-play-you boys and never waste a right-swipe again. You may not meet your one and only soul-mate, but who cares? At least you can stop the influx of unsolicited “below-the-waist” pics from taking over your inbox.

9. A U.S. History Course—Any U.S. History Course

You just… you gotta. Don’t perpetuate the dumb-American stereotype. And no, taking AP U.S. History in high school won’t cut it (neither will watching Hamilton). Honestly, how much of that material do you really remember anyway? “I signed up for a course on post-Civil War America my freshman year. I thought it would be a breeze, but I was amazed by how much I had actually forgotten,” said University of Maryland senior Jack Collins.

10. Exploring Wine

If all else fails, drink. You will have those days where you spill your mocha frap on your new Adidas, your car breaks down and your mom calls to tell you your childhood cat died. That’s just life. So do yourself a favor and learn about wine at San Diego State University. That way, when the shit hits the fan, you know which bottle to reach for before sitting back and watching The Notebook.

Natalie is a senior English major at the University of Michigan. She loves listening to terrible pop-punk music and complaining about inclement weather.

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