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The Quad: Sensible UCLA classes prepare students for post-college life

By Landon Goldberg

July 23, 2018 1:35 p.m.

Eventually, all of our college lives will come to an end. Just thinking about the mysterious abyss of post-UCLA life is a scary thought, but when college does end, you’ll want to have an arsenal of skills to help you in daily life and in the workforce.

Life after college doesn’t just mean an end to Bruin Plate’s froyo, 3 a.m. expeditions to Fat Sal’s and “required” lectures. Real life means a real job and the ability to utilize pertinent life skills.

Sure, “History of Electronic Dance Music” and Scandinavian 50 are fun classes that many UCLA students have taken and enjoyed. Listening to Daft Punk and reading fairytales are casual, entertaining activities that these classes and other fun classes offer – but are they the most useful for post-college life?

Not to be a buzzkill, but here’s a list of the classes that are relevant to daily life after college that every UCLA student might want to consider taking, along with opinions about the classes themselves from students who have taken them. Every class on this list has zero prerequisites and is open to students from all majors, and teaches skills that any student could benefit from regardless of their future career choice.

Communication 1: “Principles of Oral Communication”

In Communication 1, students are required to stand up in front of their classmates and give three speeches on various topics of their own choosing. The typically 30 to 40 person class not only aims to improve one’s public speaking skills but lends itself to working on social skills inherently helpful to living a happy life. Speaking so often in class breaks down barriers between students who are used to lectures, which strengthens students’ relationships.

“I really liked Communication 1 because it was unlike any other class I’ve taken,” said rising third-year communication student Michelle Stensby. “It was the most intimate class I’ve taken here and the first class where I really got to know my fellow students through the speeches we had to give in class.”

Gender Studies 10: “Introduction to Gender Studies”

Gender Studies 10 explores the influence of concepts like sex, gender, body image, sexuality, masculinity and women’s subordination in everyday societal interactions. Understanding how these topics play a role in interactions and relationships is helpful knowledge for anyone who wants to gain a broader understanding of the human race.

“Gender Studies 10 really allowed me to not only look at gender differently, but caused me to think about other societal aspects such as sexuality, religion, culture and politics in ways I never have before,” said rising third-year biology student Shaida Soroush.

Geography M153: “Past People and their Lessons for Our Own Future”

Geography M153 (also listed under Anthropology M148 and Honors Collegium M152), taught by world-renowned geologist Jared Diamond, tackles how past persons and countries successfully and unsuccessfully confronted problems and shocks to their identities. Everyone will come across significant challenges to their sense of selves at some point, and this class aims to teach students how to preserve and improve their own identities.

“I’ve been able to apply the strategies nations implement to respond to crises to the ways in which I respond to my own personal crises,” said rising fourth-year anthropology student Katie Farr.

Linguistics 9W: “Linguistic Humor: Amusing and Abusing with Language”

Humor is an essential part of the human experience. Whether it be with your friends, colleagues, romantic interests or stepbrothers, learning how to laugh and make others around you laugh is an important skill to living a happy and fulfilling life. This is what Linguistics 9W attempts to teach you as the class focuses on what exactly humor is and how to better integrate it into your daily interactions with others.

“The class is a study of what makes humor, humor,” said rising fourth-year musical theatre student Katie Powers-Faulk. “I think without knowing how to pitch and receive a joke, you can’t successfully communicate and connect with others, and that is what this class is all about.”

Management 1A: “Principles of Accounting”

Knowing how to manage money, make smart investment decisions and ultimately own your own sports team should be at the top of the list of priorities for any college graduate. Management 1A teaches you the practical money management skills everyone will need at one point or another in their lives.

“The class consists of basic and introductory managerial accounting that I think anyone who plans to own or invest in anything one day should learn,” said rising second-year business economics student Max Beinhacker.

Physiological Science 5: “Issues in Human Physiology: Diet and Exercise”

For years now, the U.S. has struggled with the widespread problem of obesity. Physiological Science 5 intends to fight obesity not only by teaching behaviors for leading a healthier lifestyle, but explaining why these behaviors contribute to a more fit and healthy you. The course explores concepts such as the short- and long-term effects of physical and dietary behavior, as well as scientific explanations of the processes behind them.

“It’s refreshing to have a science class that is applicable to any student regardless of major,” said rising second-year political science student Micah Moss. “It taught me a lot about how to live a healthy lifestyle and I would say I eat healthier and better now after having taken the class.”

Society and Genetics 134: “Food and Health in Global Perspective”

Hand in hand with the problem of obesity is the issue of how our food arrives to us and where it comes from. Society and Genetics 134 teaches students about the global production chain of food, and makes students more aware of exactly what they’re putting in their bodies when they eat 74 hotdogs in 10 minutes.

“The class debunked a lot of myths about food,” said rising third-year global studies student Kayla Jahangiri. “For instance, I’ve been eating organic food my entire life, but this class taught me there are more important things to consider than just whether or not the food is labeled ‘organic.’ The class also taught me a lot about the corruption in the food industry.”

Whether you’re just beginning your experience as a Bruin or you’re here in the fall for one more glorious victory lap, at some point your time at UCLA will come to an end. When that time does come, it is important that the #1 public university in the world prepares you not only for your chosen field of study, but also for leading a happy, healthy, social, positive and, ultimately, practical life.

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Landon Goldberg
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