Take advantage of fun classes

By Kimberly Ngoh, Columnist

As I revel in my final sprint to the finish line as a rising senior, I am also astonished — “shooketh,” if you will — at how fast the past three years have gone by. Each semester felt like a hustle in the moment, with barely enough time to thrive, only just enough to survive. However, I have always been a sentimental Susan, so each time I look back, I often forget the hard parts and instead retain the good stuff, from reckless nights out to two hours straight of karaoke when I had a pile of unfinished homework waiting.

That being said, the relief of having completed yet another semester often causes me to miscalculate my capabilities for the following semester. “I didn’t completely suffer this time…perhaps I could handle more,” I say to myself as I register for classes and thus, a chain reaction of heavy classes and complaints ensues, followed by relief and repeat. I have burnt myself out big time — just in time for senior year.

When it comes to picking classes, students often have to factor in other things aside from graduation requirements or time allowance. When can I fit in time for work? Will I have time to stay involved in “x” number of RSOs? Do I have time for networking events and job searching? Should I wait for another professor to teach this class?

While most of these concerns still apply to me, the limited time I have as an undergraduate student seems to weigh more on my choice of classes for the remaining two semesters.

Senior status means one receives priority in the selection of all the interesting classes that fill up fast. (But patient underclassmen who both have the space and the diligence to track open spots in these classes could get a spot too.) I know — silly me — I should be going for the classes with the least amount of writing or a guaranteed “A,” but I believe there is value in exploring options you would not be able to outside of these four years in college.

Get The Daily Illini in your inbox!

  • Catch the latest on University of Illinois news, sports, and more. Delivered every weekday.
  • Stay up to date on all things Illini sports. Delivered every Monday.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
Thank you for subscribing!

One of the ways to do that is incorporating classes that allow you to find a new hobby or dive deeper into skills you’ve been meaning to get into or improve on. Why not make use of the opportunity to both paint and learn how to sculpt alongside your degree in Economics? Taking classes now will save you the hassle of balancing your full-time career, family life and time for personal interests, all the while attempting to squeeze lessons in anthropology into your busy schedule.

Besides, classes like yoga or ice-skating can be therapeutic — both as a way to stay active and to de-stress between lab reports and essays. If creative writing is your thing, there a myriad of tutorials and workshops covering poetry, fiction, or non-fiction to delve into. If not that, gain global perspective by learning about a new culture by taking a class such as one on the Japanese tea ceremony. Kudos to those who would gladly take Data Structures as a filler class for fun; I’ll just stick to painting for non-majors.

I’ll admit I spent the majority of the past three years scouring for online, easy, general education classes to meet requirements. But luckily, I’d often find them interesting, which helped in getting me through the class. If we are investing this much time and money into education, it would suck to not learn at least something from these classes.

I say all this regretting not making use of these opportunities earlier, and in hopes that those who can afford it will find value in taking classes across different disciplines, or anything of interest — unfamiliar, even.

Kimberly is a junior in Engineering.

[email protected]