Okay, we’ve all heard of underwater basket-weaving. And there’s actually schools that offer it in full scuba gear. But that’s just the tip of a crazy iceberg. Note to the conventional: from here on out, it gets weird.
The Philosophy of Star Trek, offered by Georgetown University
Trekkies, unite! Finally a course that seeks to answer the most potent philosophical questions posed by the only show that boldly took us where no man has gone before: Is time travel possible? Could you go back and kill your grandmother? Can persons survive death? Could a machine someday think? Is Data a person?
From the course catalog:
Star Trek is very philosophical. What better way, then, to do philosophy, but to watch Star Trek, read philosophy and hash it all out in class (and on Blackboard)?
The Science of Harry Potter, offered by Frostburg State
From the course description:
Fans of the phenomenally popular children’s book character, Harry Potter, turned to Frostburg State University this year when University offered the honors seminar “The Science of Harry Potter.” The course, which examines the magical events in J.K. Rowling’s books and explains them through the basic principles of physics, received international attention after an Associated Press writer picked up the story. From there, reports of the FSU class appeared in newspapers and magazines across the nation and throughout Europe, Australia, Indonesia and China. Harry Potter fansites on the Web posted announcements about FSU. Even the 24-hour news stations, such as CNN, FoxNews and MSNBC, ran information of the unusual class on their bottom-of-the-screen news crawls.
The Amazing World of Bubbles, offered by CalTech
While we wish this course was all about taking bubble baths and blowing the world’s most giant bubblegum bubble, it’s more scientific than that. From the course description:
Chris Brennen, Hayman Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Caltech, explained how bubbles manifest a range of physical effects through their ability to gather, focus, and radiate energy. In some contexts, that focusing of energy can lead to serious technological problems, but when harnessed carefully, it can be put to constructive use.
The Art of Walking, offered by Centre College
Learn philosophy while standing up. Plus get some “freelance-walking” assignments, whatever that means.
How to Watch Television, offered by Montclair State University
Apparently some students don’t know how to be lazy correctly.
- Stupidity, offered by Occidental College
- Zombies in Popular Media, offered by Columbia College Chicago
If you feel like your school’s given you the opportunity of a lifetime, then it’s about time to start thinking about how you can give a little back. The most effective way is to show your school pride, so here are five ways to do just that:
1. Become a Resident Assistant. If you want to lead your residence hall, and if you want to make some extra cash (most resident assistants receive compensation), then look no further: this is the opportunity for you. RAs are typically tasked with organizing community-driven activities and with fostering a sense of spirit, so this is a great way to wear your school colors on your sleeve.
2. Participate in orientation. Orientations are vital, as they’re incoming students’ first real-life experience on campus. To ease the transition to college life, and to show others what your school is all about, apply to be an Orientation Leader. Not only will you gain valuable leadership experience, but you’ll forge lasting friendships with fellow leaders.
3. Help organize campus activities. “All hands on deck” is as good a motto as any, and is usually the credo of organizational committees such as your school’s Campus Activities Board. They’re always for looking for help and good ideas, so if you regularly think of events, concerts, or social experiences you’d like to see on campus, then it might be about time to throw your hat into the ring.
4. Run for office. If you have any ideas for school-wide improvements, or if you’d like to be the face of your class, then consider running for student government, which will at once give you networking practice, organizational skills, and will allow you to represent your school.
5. Volunteer. Give your school a good name by lending a hand to the campus’ surrounding area, your greater community. Pitch in by dedicating just a small amount of your time to local shelters, wilderness areas, soup kitchens, or even help clean up a public park.