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The Seven Most Useless Classes You’ll Ever Take

Communications 101: what did you expect?Here’s a collection of the seven most useless and excruciating general education classes you will encounter in your undergraduate education (which, by the way, costs on average 25 grand a year).

Communications 101: what did you expect?Pundits will tell you that a college education is not as rigorous as it used to be, and many classes are a waste of time. There is also a growing trend among colleges to steer students towards a more vocational-based education; however, not everyone has caved in, and many institutions of higher learning are still offering classes in such valuable subjects. Sure, a few will argue there is no such thing as a worthless degree, but try convincing your parents (or the bank) who pay for your classes the “educational merit” of some classes.

Here’s a collection of the seven most useless and excruciating general education classes you will encounter in your undergraduate education (which, by the way, costs on average 25 grand a year):

Introduction to Psychology: You’re probably not a psychology major, but your department insists you take Introduction to Psychology so you can be “more well-rounded”. Perhaps you can tolerate this class and satisfy that diversity requirement, but putting up with the newly minted freshmen psychology majors in the class who keep trying to psychoanalyze you after the first class session is a whole different story.

Communications: Communications might as well be officially confirmed as the major of most white Division 1A college athletes. Communication majors are the pun of most college jokes and a single class in this “discipline” will tell you why. You’ll probably be grouped with a few students who couldn’t decide on a major until their seventh year of college, and the only degree they could earn with such a random selection of classes was communications. Communications in itself isn’t half bad as a class; if there was ever an easy A, it’d be this class, but someone should point out to the overly enthusiastic majors in this field that if an employer wants to hire an expert on how humans communicate, they’d probably prefer someone with a Dr. before their name.

Gender, American, African, or Leisure Studies: These classes are also highly popular with Division 1 A college athletes, since for the most part they aren’t exactly banking on their education. Taking these classes can be a very enlightening experience – no doubt there. Unless, of course, you land a professor who spends the whole semester blaming you for every single bad thing that has happened to minorities and women. If you attend the University of Iowa, you can take classes in leisure studies, where you analyze, and analyze once again how people like to spend their free time.

Art History/Appreciation: Having the luxury of being able to muse over paintings from the eighth century sounds nice in theory, but in practicality, it’s a waste of most people’s time. Most of these classes are made up of well-off teenagers and your run of the mill hippies deliberating the meaning of Magritte’s drawings for three hour sessions, twice a week, for a full semester.

Learning from YouTube: Imagine a class where students watch YouTube videos and then discuss them. Such an option is available at Pitzer College in California, and if you think this class isn’t rigorous – you’re wrong! As part of the course requirement, students need to also leave comments on videos too.

1990s Popular Culture, Star Trek, or Legal Cinema: According to the University of Indiana ad George Washington University, Star Trek is worthy of its own course at reputable institutes of higher learning. We agree, can you come up with a better way to identify and critically discuss philosophy than watching all 79 episodes of Star Trek? Law students can learn more about their prospective career by taking a course on Legal Cinema; chances are the midterm will have plenty to do with Law and Order.

The Art of Walking and Learning to Golf: College needs to be accessible to everyone and should not discriminate against preschoolers; hence, Kentucky’s Centre College is offering this comprehensive course on walking. Learning to Golf is another class that will contribute to a very well-rounded and diverse Liberal Arts education and better prepare you to compete in the worldwide market, or it can be used as pretty damning evidence by those who thinks you don’t need a degree to become successful. Either way, sign us up.

Now, if you can’t manage to get into the above classes due to their popularity with the average college student, we have a few honorable mentions you could also consider: The American Vacation (perfect for Leisure Studies majors), Surfing Studies, Science of Harry Potter, and Medieval Studies.

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18 comments

  1. I’m sorry, but this article is completely off the mark. There’s a rich tradition of scholarship in some of these areas, and while that first course might not be the most exciting, you have to begin somewhere.

  2. LOL this is actually pretty funny. I’m an English turned biology major, and yes MANY MANY 1st year classes are a waste of time and money. Some people simply aren’t college material so they offer lame seminars like “poetry in cinema” to appease them.

    For the above poster, this article isn’t college advice, it’s just the privy about college life.

  3. The author sounds more upset about realizing that she couldn’t just study science stuff.

    Liberal arts are important too, but a person has to be mature enough to realize that some times things can be outside of their area of interest and still be useful. You don’t know what a waste of time most liberal arts’ majors find basic science courses too. Is that proof of anything? Not really.

    Also, the crack about division 1 athletes taking these basic courses was pretty silly, especially since the author herself doesn’t seem to take these classes as seriously as she should. Not to mention that most athletes are not in any way good enough to play professional sports after. For many of these people, sports is a way of affording study. Plenty of their time is taken up in practice, but they need to maintain decent GPAs too. Of course they know they have four years and have to make the most of it. Somehow I doubt Huda actually knows anything about how difficult it is to be a student athlete.

  4. Wow, people need to lighten up. The author didn’t even list their major. I doubled majored in liberal arts and general studies and yup, the author makes me a compelling case. Many classes are useless, especially freshmen writing comp classes.

  5. I’m not sure if this article was supposed to be funny or was serious. It certainly seems to have a point like the “Hijabis we see” article. I don’t see what’s so amusing about listing a bunch of classes. People have all sorts of goals. Most of the courses above are not core courses, they’re electives you take to round out your experience.

    As a person who actually majored in communications, I would like to point out that most jobs in the field don’t have anything to do with having a “doctor” title. Getting a PhD in communications is almost always for teaching in university only. It’s possible to go very far in corporate communications with just a BA or, if a person wants an edge, an MA. What matters most though is practical experience, not degrees. A person will get hired if they can prove that they have experience. I know several people considered experts in human communication and none of them have PhDs

  6. ^ I meant to say, the article certainly DOESN’T seem to have a point like the hijabis we see article

  7. Haha, i suppose most people didn’t even read the full article…guess it’s true what they say about some majors ;-).

    Actually found this article to be pretty funny, and yes, some classes are pointless unless they are for their majors (in which case those people have useless majors).

    Sister Huda, can we please know what your major is? I have a feeling it’s not medicine, but it shouldn’t matter, some people are TOO sensitive.

  8. Ayatollah Khomeini on the signs of arrogance (Chapter 3 from 40 ahadith, taken from http://www.al-islam.org/fortyhadith/)

    “Among philosophers, too, there are such persons who consider themselves to be in possession of the proofs and knowledge of certain truth. They class themselves among men of certain knowledge of God who possess confirmed belief in angels and scriptures; yet they look down on others in disdain. They dismiss all other sciences as fiction and all human beings as defective in faith and knowledge, viewing them with haughty contempt in their hearts as well as their arrogant demeanour, whereas the knowledge of the majesty of the Lord and the utter destitution of the ephemeral creature (that he is), necessitates an opposite behaviour. The truly wise (hukama’) are those whose knowledge of the secrets of human origin and end makes them modest and humble.

    “God Almighty had bestowed upon Luqman the gift of wisdom; yet the Quran reports of him as saying to his son:

    [i]Turn not thy cheek in scorn toward people, nor walk with pertness on the earth. Verily, God loveth not any braggart boaster. (31:18)[/i] …

    “A spiritual guide of people must himself be free from all kinds of mortal and destructive sins and qualities; one who claims the capacity to guide the astray should have transcended the narrowness of mundane existence and its attachments, being absorbed in the beatific vision of His Glory. He should not be haughty and disdainful towards the creatures of God.

    “Also among the class of fuqaha’, scholars of fiqh and hadith and the students of these sciences sometimes such people are seen who view other people with scorn and treat them high-handedly, considering themselves to be worthy of every praise and appreciation. They think that everybody should obey their commands without any hesitation, and apply the following criterion to themselves.

    [i]He (i.e. God) will not be questioned as to that which He does, but they will be questioned. (21:23)[/i] …

    “Whenever something is spoken about other field of learning, they dismiss it with scorn. They unhesitatingly reject every other discipline except their own field- of which they possess very little knowledge-considering it not only unworthy of study but destructive. They denounce the scholars of other sciences due to their own ignorance. They present their own views as if their religiosity necessitates such a contempt, whereas knowledge and religion are free from such prejudices. The Shari’ah forbids men from speaking about anything without having its proper knowledge, and considers it obligatory to respect every Muslim. This wretched fellow without possessing enough knowledge of religion or sciences is sinful of doing something which is against the scripture of God and the teachings of His Prophet (S). Yet he moulds his ideas into the form of religion; though the conduct and behaviour of all the great scholars of every generation was unlike this. Each one of the branches of religious sciences demands the scholars who are associated with it to be humble, and requires them to obliterate all signs of pride from their hearts. None of the sciences gives rise to pride and none of them is against humility. Later I will explain the causes behind this sharp contrast between their knowledge and behaviour.

    “[b]Also among the experts of other sciences, like medicine, mathematics, physics, engineering, industrial crafts, etc., the instances of pride and arrogance are seen. They underestimate all other sciences however important they may be, and scorn the scientists belonging to them. Each one of them believes that whatever he knows is the real knowledge. They scorn people in their hearts, as well as manifest it in their demeanour; whereas their knowledge does not require this.[/b]

    wa salaam.

  9. I didn’t put a smiley in the middle of the above. the HTML coding was rendered that way when the verse was entered. The verse is chapter 31, verse 1 8.

  10. liberal arts major

    umm…. DOT commenter, while i do agree with some of your points about the article, please don’t get personal about the author. one of the things i learned as an arts major was to analyze writing/artwork as a piece in itself, discarding the Author in a sense (no offense sister Huda!) and their background, and just looking at the work alone. how about we do that here? 🙂

    while i understand that general education courses are seen as a waste of time by some, more often than not they are the only chance for students to brush up and expand their horizons before submersing themselves in their own field, especially when the field is a non-arts one.

    speech and communications intro classes are necessary, because there is nothing worse than sitting through student-led seminars where the basics of giving a presentation are not being done. sitting for half an hour while someone mumbles in monotone, makes no eye contact, and reads directly off the powerpoint slides is excruciating. they haven’t learned it or cared about it in high school and are now in college. they need to perfect their presentation skills at the very least, and if you already know how to present well, you can still improve. It will only help you. Don’t tell me you’re already a fantastic public speaker. If you think you are, then most colleges will also give the option to opt of such a course by taking an exam/making a presentation to faculty.

    same goes for math and other basic courses, if you know the stuff, you just take the equivilency exam and you’re set. If you can’t pass, then you have to take the course. a college student needs to be well-rounded.

    the youtube, art of walking and golf classes were thrown in for humour, i understand that of course. it is amusing. But they [i]are[/i] extreme examples.

    classes on pop culture, cinema, the media, african, native american and gender studies are all important. again, if you already know how to analyse such things, if you already know the history of minority struggles in the US, then that’s great and you’ll ace the course, but you will learn new things too. and you will learn things that can be applied to MUSLIMS!

    if we don’t study how African Americans set their presence here, how they established their identity, how will we learn what to do and what not to do? If we don’t see how Native American youth today are losing their identity (and it’s not their fault), how will we know how to save ours for future generations?

    if we don’t know how to properly, objectively and intelligently dissect shows, comics, pop culture, and how to “talk the talk”, then how will we SUCCESSFULLY combat the negative portrayals of Islam and Muslims in the media and western culture? we have to at least generally know how these things are analysed, so we can apply them to our specific situation and pull off the criticisms of anti-Islam media successfully so they get the right attention from pop culture, instead of screaming emotionally and burning places down like some Muslims do.

    if we don’t even look at Gender studies in an introductory course, how will we know how to defend the Muslim woman and Hijab in their lingo? How will we know who the gender studies’ “gurus” are so we can thwart their ideas which are anti-Islamic, especially when our sisters are coming across their ideas in university?

    not all of us can afford to be majors in such topics, but at least introductory courses like these will provide a basis for us to delve further when we need to, instead of grabbing blindly on our own.

    And for those who have never thought about such topics, it’s good they will learn about the injustices done to minorities, because believe it or not, much of the general American population is very ignorant about what has taken place exactly in the racism against Native Americans and African-Americans. Not everyone lives in big cities, where they’ve had exposure to such topics. Courses like these will open their eyes. There is a lot of ignorance out there.

    And that’s why I believe that general education courses, for the most part, are an excellent mandatory requirement. I grumbled about them too, when I was forced to take such courses. And I opted out when I could prove I had the knowledge of that level, in math for example (and I didn’t always pass–I had to take a French course for example since I had forgotten my high school French and failed the opt-out exam).

    But again, when I saw how many classmates in such intro courses lacked basic knowledge on topics like American government, I was appalled. And realized that if they don’t study it now, they never will. And that’s a scary thought.

  11. liberal arts major

    finderskeepers, please see the beginning of my previous post, that’s also for you…i wasn’t only addressing the other poster.

    regardless, i understand the intention of this article, and like you mentioned, basic science courses can also be irritating.

    next time maybe the list could be more balanced in the choice of courses?

  12. Very well written sister Huda. I agree with you…some of these undergrad classes can be very useless- when it comes to time and money.

    You always put a little sense of humor in your articles and that always grabs readers. Good Job..Keep it coming 🙂

  13. The arrogance of some scientists towards arts people is breathtaking. Especially when they have hardly studied anything.

    Why are there no math classes or science classes listed above? And how on earth can a person put classes like intro to psych, communications, and African studies on the same level as that stupid walking class? Doesn’t this stance violate the whole point of this website, to understand these artsy things but bring the discussion under the framework of Quran and Ahlul Bait?! And now here we have a writer saying even gender studies, American studies, and African studies are a waste of time! 🙁

    I remember taking an intro to physics. We had to drop wads of paper and pennies. The point was to show that they fall at the same rate barring wind resistance. We dropped these things repeatedly for 15 minutes. Then the teacher spoke about it for 5 minutes and asked people their impressions for 5 minutes (no right or wrong answer). Something that could have been explained in less than 1 minute (“all things fall at the same rate”) was made into a 25 minute lesson!

    Based on the above, I can say it was not very useful for me personally, but for other people it was a powerful experience. It just didn’t fit into what I personally was trying to accomplish. That doesn’t become a reason to knock physics or the people who study it, especially since that was one of the very few classes I took in physics.

  14. It’s clear as day that some comments are made by the same people in an effort to make it look like they have a majority view, Also, what happens if the author turns out to not be a science student? The comment on arrogance was hilarious lol, do you know that technically accusing someone of arrogance is depicting you having it too?

  15. All right, that’s quite enough of that. I have exactly one other alias that I’ve started trying out, the “finderskeepers” one. I’m tired of this one. If there is a rule against that, I have no problem sticking with the dot alias. You could do us all a favor and not use my alias too.

    Imam Ali (as) says look at what is being said, not who is saying it. I stand by all my comments on this thread. I have the right to my views.

    Second, I was not the only one commenting on this thread. A sister went through all the classes Sister Huda pointed out and came up with her own analysis. That’s being ignored by everyone.

    Third, I actually don’t really care if the author turns out to not be a science student or is simply biased in favor of it, which is what I meant. What I have a problem with is people who look down upon certain types of knowledge simply because they have other interests. The fact that all the classes are under liberal arts, and include important classes like communications and American studies is appalling. Right when we need more people to go into these fields, this kind of thing is thrown out there.

    But more interestingly, it’s clear that the author actually has two issues going on. One is that she looks down on students interested in what she does not find worthy of her time. The other is that she finds certain classes a waste of time. The first is clearly arrogance. Imam Khomeini says that ‘ujb is internal arrogance while takabbur is arrogance that is manifested towards others. He adds that when a person is arrogant, then it becomes apparent to everyone.

    Here is what Sister Huda said:

    1. “Communication majors are the pun of most college jokes and a single class in this “discipline” will tell you why.”

    2. “putting up with the newly minted freshmen psychology majors in the class who keep trying to psychoanalyze you after the first class session is a whole different story.”

    3. “[Regarding US, African, and gender studies] these classes are also highly popular with Division 1 A college athletes, since for the most part they aren’t exactly banking on their education.”

    4. “Most of these classes are made up of well-off teenagers and your run of the mill hippies deliberating the meaning of Magritte’s drawings for three hour sessions, twice a week, for a full semester.”

    Forgive [i]me [/i]for pointing out the obvious, but this is not funny so much as incredibly condescending.

    Your claim by the way that saying someone is arrogant is a sign of arrogance is completely false. What is your source for this? If you are going to start saying something is or isn’t part of Islam, lets see some proof for it. I quoted Imam Khomeini, the least you can do is come up with something Islamic that supports your point. Otherwise it’s all red herrings.

  16. Sheeesh dude, it was meant to be a funny article! Seriously, get a life!

  17. I understand that this was meant to be a funny post, but I found much of the author’s “jokes” to be offensive rather than a well thought out, meaningful satire. Perhaps the Islamic Insights editorial board could do a better job of vetting articles in the future.

  18. Introduction to Rock and Roll.
    Priceless.

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