My favorite advice that I’ve received about college is to focus less about perfect grades and take more time to participate in classes that interest and challenge you.
There is an insane amount of cool and fascinating FSU classes and this list only begins to scratch the surface.
1. Hollywood Cinema
It almost seems like a rite of passage for a college student to take at least one film class, and Hollywood Cinema encapsulates everything you want in one. It includes really thoughtful film analysis of the iconic movies that we grew up knowing and loving, like Fight Club or Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. “We watched both of the Blade Runner movies and it was really interesting to study how the style and themes in Blade Runner 2049 involved from the original film that came out in the early 80s,” junior Bethany Geltner said. “I would recommend this class for anyone who is interested in spending 16 weeks watching films about death.” The class included some mandatory screenings but mostly students watched the films on their own time.
2. Modern Popular Music
Everyone enjoys music, but how did we transition from one music era to another? How did disco music become so popular? How did the music of James Brown influence important musicians today like Kanye West and Kendrick Lamar? This class answers these questions, starting with covering music from the early 20th century until now. Modern Popular Music gives us a socioeconomic and technological context of the time and how that influenced that kind of music we’ve come to love. It will cover artists you’ve heard of, but even big music nerds can learn something from this class.
3. Ancient Mythology, East and West
This class covers mythological beliefs all around the world. It discusses the ideas centered around the mythology and how they reflect a society’s culture, like how it can explain where seasons come from. “We had to write our own myth and I wrote about two goddesses named Romy and Michelle. I got an A,” junior Ben Mayhew said. The class interestingly delves into history in the context of storytelling, and how cultures used stories to reflect their beliefs. Sounds like perfect party talk.
4. Critics of Religion
Another class that goes deeper into cultural beliefs, Critics of Religion studies different critics and philosophers like Feurbach, Marx and Freud, and what they said about religions. It focuses heavily on discussion and critically looks at the flaws and virtues of the critics’ thought. Senior Madison Stuart said, “My favorite part of the class was professor David Kafka. He made the class modern and relevant to our lives. We talk about religion and analyzed its philosophical significance throughout history, but we also discuss how it is related to important social issues today like racism and police brutality.” Good classes should challenge our worldview and this one does just that.
5. Sociology of Marriage and Families
Ever wonder why people actually get married? This class focuses on how the way we were socialized impacts the way we view relationships and familial life. Senior Adrian Fernandez said, “What I found the most interesting was the large focus on intimate partner violence and how we are taught from an early age that men are the only aggressors to look out for. Now more than ever, we need to be talking about intimate partner violence amongst same sex couples and bring that into light.” You can take a sociology course on any social cultures but institutions like marriage and family are so engrained in us and could inspire particular interest.
6. Multicultural Dimensions of Film and 20th Century Culture
This acts as a perfect entry level film class with an array of accessible recent films that we all love. It examines each popular film, like Wonder Woman or Love, Simon and delves into how it reflects cultural representation in America. You can understand how social issues both reflect and influence the American cinema landscape. Students love how it takes the films we already understand in some capacity and allow us to re–examine it with more meaning and cultural context.
7. Through an Arabic Lens: The Intersection of Film and Culture
A film class that plays a more challenging yet rewarding role includes Arabic Cinema. You can refreshingly study a completely different cultural identity through its important films. You can learn about the history, politics and religion of Arab societies through this lens and widen you cultural understanding. “I love that the professor was able to break us out of a typical class and make us have more of a conversation. I think it’s one of the classes where I learned the most from discussion with students. Also, the professor was able to show use so much about Arabic culture, whether it was with dance moves or dessert food,” senior Jeff Van-Cleve said. “I think the class reignited my love for movies and analysis of them as well.” Classes that are rooted in discussion can be so important for appreciating the subject topic as a whole.
8. Apocalypse: The End of The World in Art
Our pop culture atmosphere obsesses over how the world will end, and that only begins to explain apocalyptic thought. In this class, you examine all kinds of art forms that speculate the end of the world. You analyze the thought from the Bible and the Middle Ages through films, paintings or other illustrative art and texts. You learn about how traditional apocalyptic thought influences our understanding of nuclear threats or environmental disaster. You have the opportunity to see how movies that address the end of the world are heavily influenced by Biblical readings, in ways that are hard to catch at first.
9. Confronting Human Rights Violations
This class dissects various case studies in human rights violations. It covers famous cases around the world, like the communist regime in Cambodia called Khmer Rouge, and gives you an important worldview about issues relating to the oppressive forces that dominate many social environments. “For the assignments I focused on Cambodia and the Central African Republic. It was such an interesting topic and it was the first time I felt like the entire class was engaged in what we were learning. It was also the first time I took a class that impacted what type of career I wanted to pursue after graduation,” senior Eddy Denfield said. The class doesn’t imply anything fun or easy, but being aware of what goes on in the world always carries significant importance.
10. Religion and 20th Century Fantasy Literature
Revisit your childhood as you dial in on the religious influences in some of the most important and imaginative stories. From Lord of The Rings to Harry Potter, this class takes a look at Christian themes (or lack thereof) in fantasy literature. “I got to return to the books I read as kid but see them in a new light with a more mature perspective. Fantasy definitely isn’t just for kids—I really think it allows people of all ages to escape reality and hold on to a certain sense of hope,” senior Brooke Warnkee said. A class that allows that child-like escapism seems incredibly worth it.