College is a time of exploration. In the years you spend at your university, you’ll develop a unique set of skills and knowledge as well as a new perspective. While it’s required for students to declare a course of study that they wish to follow, there tends to be some room for extra courses you can take for your own personal growth rather than the growth of your resume. Here are some great elective courses to shape your mind (and your GPA) at the University of Florida.
1. AML 4282: Queer Life/Writing
It seems like everyone’s interested in issues surrounding the LGBTQ community lately, making this class both timely and informative for students. The Center for Women’s Studies and Gender Research prepares the course. “[It offers] different perspectives. It’s fun,” said UF sophomore Pedmy Dieujuste. “[The professor] has us read a lot of books written by minorities because they aren’t really read anywhere else.” Queer Life/Writing helps students broaden their perspectives surrounding contemporary social issues.
2. DAA 1000: Fundamentals of Dance
We’re not all #blessed with a ballerina’s grace. If you’re anything like me, your two left feet are the bane of your existence. Provided through the UF School of Theatre and Dance, Fundamentals of Dance can help you out if you consider yourself rhythmically challenged. “The teacher was really zany. It’s a great way to break up your day,” said UF junior Cheyenne Henckel. The class is open to both professionals and newbies alike. “Anyone [should sign up]. Movement is just good,” said Henckel.
3. ASL 1110: Sign Language
Sign language can help you understand a different way of life. “[The course is] teaching me another language, another way to communicate. It allows me to communicate with people who wouldn’t think I would want to talk to them,” said UF junior Kaitlin Lyttle. Just imagine the interesting people you could meet with an exciting new language to let you express yourself.
4. ORH 1030: Plants, Gardening and You
UF’s Horticultural Sciences department offers the course Plants, Gardening and You for all the Neville Longbottoms out there. It’s a non-major course though: No aptitude for herbology required. All you need is an interest in plants. “The professor is really nice and easygoing. It’s an easy class and you get free plants at the end of almost every class,” said UF junior Ana Oliveira. “[The professor] tries to connect it to all the majors and different career paths.”
5. AFH 3342: History of West Africa
If you too envy the citizens of the world who seem so smart and cultured, you should enroll in the History of West Africa. Designed to both give historical knowledge and shape new perspectives, cultural explorers will love delving into the African world and history. “[It provides] interesting new perspectives on a subject I’m not familiar with at all. We explored African terrorism which was interesting because everyone thinks terrorism only comes from the Middle East,” said UF junior Chris Moulton.
6. ART 2750C: Ceramics for Non-Majors
A lot of people don’t realize it, but using a creative form of expression helps you center yourself and have fun. “It’s not a fine arts class, just an extra thing. You can be really creative with it. It’s really fun, really destress,” said UF junior David Campo III. The art and art history department offers ceramics for non-majors to let students whose lives aren’t consumed with creating artwork experience the joy of art through hand forming.
7. MUH 2012: Music Appreciation
If you’re #obsessed with Queen Bey then chances are you have an interest in music. Music appreciation focuses on the diverse history of music and its different periods. “[It’s] just a different experience compared to the music we listen to now. It really gives you an understanding of that time,” said UF junior Dwayne Cole. “[It’s great for] anyone looking to relate to the old world through something simple.”
8. PHI 2010: Intro to Philosophy
Philosophy might seem cliché on the surface, probably because it’s been around forever. However, college is a time of intellectual exploration. Go ahead—pick up some Plato and wax poetic about the nature of humanity. “It opened my mind to a different way of thinking, premature thinking, before we actually knew how things happened [scientifically],” UF junior Dwayne Cole said.
9. HBR 1130: Hebrew
Some majors don’t leave a lot of room for cultural exploration. If you’re looking for a chance to broaden your horizons, give Hebrew a shot. “[The class is great for] someone that’s Jewish or has experience with that [faith] or going to Temple, or someone who wants to learn about foreign cultures,” said UF senior Sarah Miller. You’ll get the opportunity to learn about a language and a culture to which might not have otherwise been exposed.
10. AEC 3414: Leadership Development
Are you the world’s next Steve Jobs? If you’re looking to be a leader in your future field then it wouldn’t hurt to pick up some knowledge in that area. Leadership development might not necessarily sound like a course you want to take in your free time, but it’s useful and another point to add on your resume. “We got to learn about different leadership styles. [The professor] incorporated movies that helped us learn about different types of leadership,” said UF senior Daniela Picoli.