One of the great things about signing up for classes is being able to peruse the many interesting topics each department has to offer. Especially during your first and second years at UVa, you have the time to broaden your horizons by studying some subjects you might not have thought possible. Although general requirements and major requirements can sometimes leave you feeling bogged down with regimented schedules, it's important to make sure you're taking at least one "fun" class from time to time. These can be off-the-wall, nothing-to-do-with-my-major classes or maybe even ones that can count towards your degree requirements! Either way, make sure that during your time at UVa you search for those hidden gems that allow you to learn and have some fun while doing it. To get you thinking, here's a list of classes that represent just a few of the quirky and interesting subjects you can study during your college years here:
1. Salem Witch Trials (RELC 3150)
This class is one of the most interesting and engaging classes I have taken at UVa. It covers the history of the trials during 1692, paying careful attention to the origin stories and primary individuals involved in the whole debacle. From there, you move forward into modern day to explore literary and documentary interpretations of the Salem Witch Trials. You also get a close look at some of the primary documents that have been preserved throughout the years, reading for yourself the transcriptions of the court proceedings.
2. How Theatre Works (DRAM 1010)
This class is so incredibly fun. You get to read scripts from classic plays, watch plays that the UVa Drama Department puts on twice each semester, and work with a group to develop your own skit that is performed at the end of the year for the entire class. Not only is it fun and lighthearted, but you also learn about public speaking and how to work as a group to devise your own masterpiece. This class can bring you out of that proverbial shell and help you become more at ease with speaking up, speaking out, and being excited while doing so.
3. Unsolved Mysteries of the Universe (ASTR 1270)
For those of you more intrigued by matters of science, this is a class that gets great reviews from students who have taken it. You get to learn about black holes, extraterrestrial life, dark energy, the nature of time, and so forth. Who doesn't want to dabble their toes in learning about things like this? Whether you're a science or non-science major, this class could offer you some great excitement during the weeks when your other classes are feeling a little heavy to bear.
4. Dracula (SLAV 2360)
Yes, you read that title correctly. There is a class offered at UVa that is focused on the literature and folklore surrounding the figure Dracula. This class is another one that gets great reviews from students, with its discussion of slavic literature and the western misconceptions of vampires. The course is self-described as being interdisciplinary, meaning that it discusses a number of topics while exploring the subject of Dracula: religion, folklore, film, history, literature, and even disease.
5. Mass Media and American Politics (PLAP/MDST 3140)
This class explores the ways in which media and politics intersect over a broad range of issues: war, elections, political campaigns, and more. The lessons you learn from this course are both fun and useful to aid you in navigating the media/political realm of American society. You get to explore the nature of political advertisements, media ownership, and the effects media has on its viewers. You certainly learn a lot, and the professor always makes the lectures entertaining and engaging.
Obviously this list is not exhaustive. There are plenty of classes left untold by this blog post, but hopefully this will get the gears in your brains turning and thinking about the types of classes you would be interested in taking throughout your years as a student at the University. Whatever you decide to take, though, remember to have fun while you're learning something new. College is a chance to explore your interests, pursue your tastes, and learn a little bit of this and that along the way.