August 3, 2014

"Take a class outside your major just because you’re interested in it. (Gender and Women’s Studies 103 is highly recommended — if you can make it past the waitlist.)"

#45 on the "Bucky List" — a list of 50 things a University of Wisconsin student newspaper tells undergraduates to do before they leave. I wasn't going to blog this because #1 is something you should not do and too many slots are given to encouraging young people to drink or just naming typical things that are always suggested as something anybody — of any age — ought to do if they come to Madison, most notoriously — guess what? you can buy vegetables in Madison — the Farmers' Market. But the parenthetical on #45 made me laugh. Ruefully. And I thought it would be useful to rewrite it:

Take a class outside your major just because [...]. ([...] is highly recommended — if [...].)

ADDED: Here's pretty similar list from a year ago, somewhat edgier and dirtier, but somehow still including the tired nudging to go to the damned Farmers' Market. I need to make my own list of UW tips:

1. Come up with a stock line to utter when you're told – as you will be — that you must go to the Farmers' Market. Examples: I prefer vegetables from South America, I'm phobic about extremely slow-moving crowds, Does walking counter-clockwise turn back time?

53 comments:

sydney said...

That list suggests a culture that is overly sexualized and too tolerant of the irresponsible use of alcohol. Better watch out. They are firing university staffers in Ohio for tolerating that culture.

Michael said...

Wait list? WTF! UW makes women wait in line to take a course about women? Figures. Women and minorities. Get in line. Wait your turn.

Big Mike said...

I got a 404 error from your link to last year's list.

Oh, and my class outside my major was creative writing (I was majoring in engineering at the time). I aced it by writing a full length play while the English majors were sweating blood for their B and C grades.

Ann Althouse said...

Link fixed.

Sorry.

Michael K said...

Taking "Women's Studies" will knock a few points off your IQ. Just be warned.

When I was applying to medical school, the only way I could get a student loan was by naming something other than "pre-med" as my major. Since I had been an engineer, I chose "English Literature" and enjoyed it thoroughly. All As as I recall. I still have a couple of the textbooks 60 years later. I don't know that I would choose that now.

steve said...

Um, aren't you forced to take classes outside of your major? You can't just take 120 credits of poli sci courses if you're a poli sci major. You gotta have a certain number of science credits as well. And why is a conservative paper like the Badger Herald (at least it was when I was at UW) imploring kids to "have sex in the Memorial Library stacks" or take a women's studies course?

David said...

"What wait list? My male privilege will take me to the top."

David said...

"sydney said...
That list suggests a culture that is overly sexualized and too tolerant of the irresponsible use of alcohol. Better watch out. They are firing university staffers in Ohio for tolerating that culture."

There will be thousands of jobs lost at hundreds of schools if that becomes a trend. It will not become a trend. What you describe was a ritual human sacrifice.

Alex said...

This has to be a joke right? I'd expect the course in Robotic 101 to be the one with the waiting list. Oh wait, U of Wisconsin doesn't do engineering.

Freeman Hunt said...

Both lists assert that college marks the best four years of one's life. That's only true if one has a terrible life.

Related: Note how insufferable and obnoxious people are when it hits the college years in Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.

m stone said...

Creative writing instructors are notorious for granting A's to non-majors (I was an engineering undergraduate) who work exceptionally hard to prove themselves. It drives the major both wild and also to their own limits of creativity.

(Journalism post grad, taught university English for 8 years, published a novel.)

David said...

Number 50 of 50:

"Spend a summer in Madison. You get to experience all the greatness the city has to offer without the stress that accompanies perpetual coursework during the school year. Spending day after day on the Terrace makes winter completely worth it."

The last entry is the first mention of actual studying, and it's accompanied by a way to avoid the "stress" of actual work.

Work is indeed stressful if play is your main occupation.

Bob said...

Althouse, do you teach only in the law school, or have you also taught in the general UW undergrad program? Just wondered if your daily contact is only with law students, or with undergrads too.

Ann Althouse said...

" a conservative paper like the Badger Herald (at least it was when I was at UW) "

That adjective no longer applies.

David said...

You gotta love the list from the previous year. Nearly 50 photos and every person pictured is white. All praise diversity (and sound like you mean it, people!)

They solved that problem in the 2014 list by not having photos.

Wilbur said...

#5A from last year's list: Learn the difference between a Ferris Wheel and a Merry-Go-Round.

Freeman Hunt said...

I go to the farmer's market that's air conditioned. Some people call it the produce section of the grocery store.

Freeman Hunt said...

I'm concerned about the rape culture at the farmer's market.

Freeman Hunt said...

Refusing to purchase foreign vegetables strikes me as xenophobic.

Freeman Hunt said...

Due to their greater sun exposure, I find the solar energies of South American fruits more invigorating than those domestically grown.

Sorun said...

Spending day after day on the Terrace makes winter completely worth it.

What people do on the terrace day after day is drink.

madAsHell said...

Both lists assert that college marks the best four years of one's life. That's only true if one has a terrible life.

I don't think it is the "best four years of one's life", but it certainly is the most irresponsible years of one's life, and I think this list encourages one to pursue irresponsibility.

Freeman Hunt said...

Try a new food just because you’re curious about its taste. (Roasted quinoa is highly recommended — if you can find any left in the organic section.)""

Go someplace you've never been just because you want to see it. (Cape Town, South Africa is highly recommended — if you can manage a coveted hotel reservation.)""

Read a book outside your usual genres just because you’re free to read anything you want. (Elizabeth Warren's A Fighting Chance is highly recommended — if you can make it past the library waitlist.)""

NotquiteunBuckley said...

"What people do on the terrace day after day is drink."

Sorry but I was told Madison has hundreds of thousands of sober residents.

So my truth is Madison doesn't have an exceptional degree of weekly brandy drinkers compared to the rest of the world.

Nor beer, whiskey, or wine drinkers.

Madison is sober.

NotquiteunBuckley said...

"Make love (yeah!)
With a sheep, or cow or a goose
I know your wondering what it feels like
So take off your pants and get loose
Get crazy! (yeah!)
Rob a bank or hijack a plane
We got nothin' (yeah!)
We got nothin' to lose
So get balls out retarded insane, yeah!

Time is runnin' out you say
You gotta try the stuff you wanna try
Bungee-jump from a 747
Poke a silverback gorilla in the eye
Yeah!"

Steel Panther knows just a little tiny small minuscule unlarge thing about things you should do while you got the time.

Matt said...

I took Women Studies 103 as an undergrad at UW. The discussion session had two men, including me. The other guy would say all the right stuff to gain approval of the feminists in the room. I kept my mouth shut.

I enjoyed summers in Madison. It is quite laid back with almost all the students gone. However, returning as a father, my attitude changed about State Street. I kept thinking, "I don't want all these weirdos near my kids."

Fen said...

One of those soft classes where you just parrot back whatever the idiot professor just said. Easy A.

Fred Drinkwater said...

When I was at Berkeley back in (garbled in transcript), I used to say (and do) that I would take anything that started with an F: Physics, French, Philosophy, ...

SJ said...

Why is it that no one recommends an intro-level course in the hard sciences (or even in logic/algorithms/statistics) as a "broaden your horizons" type course?

How many language majors take such a course?

It would certainly broaden the horizons of their mind to study rigorous logic. Or to study methods of measurement/analysis of statistics. Or be exposed to the intellectual rigor necessary to understand and apply Newton's laws of motion.

Quaestor said...

Superman orbited the Earth anti-clockwise at superluminal speed and turned back time. Yes, walking counter-clockwise reverses the Arrow of Time, but only if you don't dawdle.

Carol said...

What I would do is go find the class's assigned reading at the UC book store, and buy the ones that looked interesting.

Anonymous said...

Freeman,

Me and the lady walked through the Capitol Hill Farmer's market in Seattle today.

I learned that the war on Gluten is advancing nicely, and that corn grown locally is more expensive.

It was a veritable Diego Rivera mural of hipsters, mostly, a marketplace that felt more like a village, free of moral judgment and corporate commerce, as we became two humans being in a socially just representative activist democracy of produce and procedure.

There were canvas bags, a lot of hippie jewelry and local wood carvings.

***I stopped by Left Bank books later as I'm a glutton for punishment. Sometimes you've got to go upriver to the headwaters. Race, gender, class, solidarity, activism and revolution were on offer.

Anonymous said...

Legal Studies of Imperial China. Enjoyed it. Good at it. Had nothing to do with anything. Death by slicing. IIRC, if your high-expectations-having imperial chinese dad asked you to kill someone, you were screwed. You'd either go down for murder or for disobeying your father.

lol @FreemanHunt's Farmer's Market zingers.

Eric said...

"Take a class outside your major" Great suggestion.

"But choose one that is utterly predictable" Lousy follow-up.

caplight45 said...

The first time I was in Madison on the morning of the farmers' market I was only there to meet someone for coffee. I was halfway around the square, walking against the flow of people, before it dawned on me that I was walking against the traffic and I was the only one moving in that direction. There was a certain post apocalyptic movie stuperous quality to the slow moving tide of humanity. But then, that is consistent with my general view of liberals.

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

Take lessons in a sport or skill you have not considered before, because it will bring diversity and understanding into your life. The Zen of .22 pistol target shooting is highly recommended - if you can make it past the revulsion.

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

Oh - and if you can find the ammunition. .22LR is near impossible to find these days.

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

#42. Take advantage of medical services/safe sex resources at UHS and Sex Out Loud.

#41. Get a dose of the clap from having sex in the Library stacks.

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

#40. Scream a curse word in the quiet section of Helen C. White.

#41. Yell "SHUT UP, YOU WATER BUFFALOES" out your 3rd floor dorm window at 10:30 PM.

traditionalguy said...

Win the prize for being the first student to take a picture of the rare Africanus Americanus on or near campus.

Dave in Tucson said...

The saddest part about this list is it calls your college "the best four years of your life".

I wouldn't go back to the way I was at 18 on a bet.

B said...

College is an investment in human capital. Audit a class outside your major and save yourself thousands of dollars.

Freeman Hunt said...

You know I've always had high class taste. Naturally, I prefer all my vegetables imported.

Freeman Hunt said...

My actual stock answer is that it is crowded and inconvenient.

AlanKH said...

#45 is an unintentional ad for The Higher Education Bubble.

Tibore said...

Forgive me for not responding tongue-in-cheek, but: I'd say that any class teaching rationality, logic, and evidence based thinking is far more important a course for college graduates than any other recommendation. And I say it because it's all too often a skillset that's missing in college graduates.

LarryK said...

When one is implored to go to the Farmers' Market, just say you refuse to eat vegetables that are not genetically modified.

MadisonMan said...

I say *drive* to the Farmers' Market at the DOT Building. Easy in, easy out, no annoying crowds, no strollers.

I took a News Writing class as a double-major in two sciences as an undergrad. I was amazed at how poorly my classmates wrote. Their grammar was terrible.

Bruce Hayden said...

I got my STEM kid to take an Econ class. That or business is a lot more practical and useful than a feminism, or whatever, class. Be great if kids had to take some reality based classes to graduate. Ain't gonna happen, of course. Schools are moving in the opposite direction, from requiring the study of great lit and real history, to requiring grievance type classes.

RonF said...

"Gender and Women’s Studies 103 is highly recommended"

If I was in college these days I probably would take such a course - and set a record for how quickly I'd get thrown out.

RonF said...

MIT required every student to take two humanities courses before they could graduate - "humanities course" being defined as "uses textbooks with no equations in them". I took "Fantasy and Science Fiction". Read a book, write 2 or 3 pages, debate in class, repeat for the semester. Week 2, our professor walks in to class. "I have your papers here from last week." And heaves them across the room. "You all go to the finest school on the planet and not one of you can write worth a damn. You all think that the longer a sentence you write and the bigger the words you use the better your writing is. I'm turning the next 6 weeks of this course into a writing class. You are all going to learn to write a simple declarative sentence." She did. One of the most useful classes I ever took.

Mike said...

I recall two of our "enrichment" courses as undergrads had to be outside our major and one of them had to come from the list of feminist-centric courses. I chose Fiction and Feminism and excelled at the writing portion of the class measured by the A I got, but my writing was sloppy and should have netted down to a B at best.

The reason Is cored an A from the hirsute and rather mannish lecturer was because I included a lot of the buzzwords she liked to drop in class. My term paper was titled "Fighting Ontological Engulfment" because "she" has a theory about all the authors we read that semester, and that was that they were weak women who were ruled over by men, losing their own individual identities to the patriarchy. My premise was the same but presented so that only a dyed-in-the-wool feminazi could overlook how I made fun of these authors and their fears (as projected by Ms. Lecturer).

Fen said...

Heh. I did a similar paper. It was "A Monopoly of Thought", a study of media groupthink and bias. The prof was a socialist, so I framed it as anti-corporation (when GE owned NBC) and got an easy A off it.