10 UW Gen-Eds You Won’t Skip

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Besides the parties, the other reason you go to college is to take all sorts of interesting classes. Almost forgot, huh? Let’s be real: 99.9 percent of your major requirements sort of suck. Imagine what it feels like to sign up for something you don’t totally hate. Break up the monotony of snooze-worthy classes with these must-take general education electives. We guarantee you’ll love them so much, you’ll actually look forward to class—or at the very least, you won’t dread it.

1. PSYCH 101: Introduction to Psychology

Psych 101 comes to mind as the stereotypical college class, but don’t avoid it only because you don’t want to look #basic. You’ll explore topics you probably always wondered about, such as nature vs. nurture or how a psychopath really thinks. “Some of my favorite topics in Psych 101 are human social behavior, development and psychological disorders. This class not only taught me about how the brain works but it was also good for my GPA [because] most of it was just memorization. I would definitely recommend taking this class,” said UW sophomore business major Rama Bankesly. If you need a break from your nonstop lineup of bio classes, sign up for Psych 101.

2. GWSS 200: Introduction to Women Studies

Maybe Emma Watson’s epic #heforshe campaign made you all psyched to become a feminist…only you have no idea what that means. That’s where this class comes in. “GWSS is worth taking because it provides people with a broad view of what feminism is and how it plays into our society,” recent UW grad and political science major Sandina Antoine said. “You get to reinforce what you know and also learn about other people’s experiences and how it has shaped who they are.” After one quarter of reading the work of kick-ass feminists, and you’ll feel inspired to go out and fight for women’s rights. Plus, you’ll wonder how you could’ve never known what the “F-word” means. Take that, meninists.

3. ESS 100: Dinosaurs

If you’re a Ross Geller wannabe or you really loved Jurassic Park, you need this class on your schedule. You’ll learn more than you ever need to know about when dinosaurs lived, what they looked like and even about the Bone Wars, A.K.A. two scientists trying to out-nerd each other. “It was kind of an applied biology class that focuses on the Mesozoic era. [Professor Ruth Martin] talks about the cladistics similarities between dinosaurs and their descendants,” said UW freshman sociology major Molly Carbary. Professor Martin even brings dinosaur figurines to class, according to Carbary. Do you remember the last time you could say playing with toys was academic? Maybe you’ll take this class and learn enough to build your own real-life version of Jurassic World. “Very fun and easy class, I would definitely recommend taking Dinosaurs,” said Carbary.

4. SOC 287: Introduction of The Sociology of Sexuality

What is human sexuality? Sounds pretty simple, but it’s one of those things that only seems that way. If you ever wondered why the subject seems so common yet also very taboo in society, sign up for this class STAT. Sociology 287 explores the way social norms influence sexuality, gender, race and other big questions like what gender identity really means. Knock out some of those general education requirements and learn things that actually apply to real life with this class.

5. NUTR 200: Nutrition For Today

As a college student, your diet inevitably consists of ramen, pizza and beer. After all, now that you live on your own, your mom can’t cook you a nice plate of steamed broccoli. If you want to learn more about your horribly lazy diet or feel curious about why your parents forced you to choke down your veggies, enroll in Nutrition 200. “I learned how my eating habits affect my life which is better than most classes you will take where you learn useless facts like the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell,” UW junior art major Andrea Tiffany said. You’ll learn that not all fats are bad (gasp!) and that you don’t always need to eat like a bunny to stay healthy. Yes, French fries are totally ok…sometimes. Sign us up!

6. ENGL 242: Reading Prose Fiction

You know those English classes where you read nothing but boring sob stories written by old dead guys? This isn’t one of them. As the course description says, you’ll read prose fiction by authors like Don DeLillo or Alison Bechdel, basically stuff you can’t quickly look up on Sparknotes before class. Graphic novels, science fiction or short stories? Looks like English classes don’t always suck. Face it: How often would you gather around and discuss a stuffy classic in real life anyway, except maybe those snooze-worthy cocktail parties where you discuss the stock market? Reading fun things like the graphic novel Fun Home by Alison Bechdel that you can discuss with the hottie in the cubicle across from yours at your future grown up job makes for the most epic conversations. You’ll get all that and more in this class.

7. ASTR 150: The Planets

Besides the whole “My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas” mnemonic you learned in elementary school, what else do you know about the other planets? Chances are, not very much. For instance, who knows if they still think of Pluto as a planet? Even if you’re not jockeying to become an astronaut, take a break from your usual lineup of chem labs or stuffy English lit classes to learn about black holes, the Crab Nebula and Jupiter’s moons. After a quarter of this class, The Big Bang Theory will probably stop feeling like just a TV show in your mind. Feel smarter yet?

8. HSTEU 234: History of Nazi Germany

Ever wanted to know what living under Hitler’s reign of terror was really like? In this class, you get to take a close look. Experience Nazi Germany through German citizens, Nazi soldiers and Hitler himself through letters, eyewitness accounts and gut-wrenching photos. Although the workload can be quite heavy (think lots of reading and writing), the interesting material makes up for it. Bonus: It helps you take care of some of those pesky W credits.

9. ART 253: Introduction to 3D4M: Ceramics

If that wheel-throwing scene in Ghost made you want to learn all about the (pun intended ) behind ceramics, why not sign up for this class? Unlike art classes in high school, you actually get to make what you want, within reason. Take a break from boring lectures and long readings, and use your hands for something other than fiddling with your phone. With activities like hand building (A.K.A. playing with clay), you’ll feel like a kindergartener messing around with Play Doh again. Except this time you won’t feel tempted to eat it.

10. AES 150: In-Justice for All: Intersection of Race, Ethnicity, Class and Gender in the United States

Everyone knows from the #oscarssowhite movement that the Oscars misrepresent non-whites. But believe it or not, misrepresentation happens everywhere. Think about it: Most history classes focus on the Europeans’ point of view. It’s time to break down that norm, starting with American Ethnic Studies 150. You’ll learn all about how race, gender and class affected everyone from around the 15th century to the 1970s. “Because we get such a diluted, white-washed history in class, it’s important to know the fuller body of our history,” said UW junior art major Michala Quince. “The material expands on prior knowledge and is always mind-blowing. I learn something new every day.” Maybe if more people took this class, proper representation wouldn’t be such an issue.

Valerie is a senior at the University of Washington, studying English/Creative Writing and History. She loves anything caffeinated, Netflix and long road trips. She'll always be obsessed with Once Upon a Time, Scandal, Private Practice and Agents of Shield.

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