When Classes Are Fun
How often are college classes really fun? They might be, if they weren’t at 8:30 in the morning or if the professor didn’t lecture so much or (insert excuse here). I’m not the type to skip classes, but I know plenty of students who do, sometimes for no better reason than that they don’t want to be talked at for an hour and be bored to tears. I consider myself lucky, because I have had some great classes this year, and not infrequently, they’ve really been fun. My conception of the typical college course has changed a little as a result. I’ve found that I don’t mind waking up early or walking across campus against the wind when classes are fun
What does a fun class look like? A lot of classes stick out in my mind from this year. Unfortunately, a lot were spent sitting in a lecture hall, listening to a professor talk drily or reading off Power Points. In lecture halls, I always sit in the front, so that the class feels smaller and less impersonal. In one particularly dull class that I took last semester, though, I sat front and center just to stay awake. So what’s a fun class? I’ve had a lot of opportunities to find out. I’ve watched movies in French in an Ed Psych class, built balloon towers in Critical Thinking, studied McDonalds in Great Ideas, and just this afternoon, celebrated “honesty day” with my science class. Individually, these might not have been the most educational experiences, but they all came from classes that have taught me a lot. This says something about good classes and good professors: you can learn a lot from a class and enjoy it, too. This afternoon was the perfect example.
“Honesty day” is an opportunity for students to ask the professor questions: not course-related questions, but any questions. My science class has nine students all together. We pushed our tables together today, ate chips and cookie cake, and asked our professor every random question that we could conjure. This has not been an easy class, by any stretch. It was writing-intensive and sometimes a little hard to follow, but then, I didn’t sign up for an honors science course for an easy ‘A.’ And despite the challenge, class could be great, and today was one of those days. Everyone was a little stressed over the final paper that’s due here in a few days, so before we did anything else, our professor cleared up a few things and left us with some key points to think about. Once that was over, we broke into the chips and salsa, popcorn, and cookie cake—and the questions.
We spent the class asking my professor random, unusual questions, and although he’d warned us he could pass on any question, he never did. We talked about everything from tattoos and martial arts to siblings, relationships, and hometowns. We made our way through the pack of Red Bull that he’d brought us and a cake I picked up at Kroger and several varieties of chips (as well as the apples that one student kindly provided, so that we could tell ourselves this was a healthy meal). It was a good way to end the semester. I had looked forward to this party, and now I get to look forward to a party that I have coming up in a class next Thursday. My final in one of my classes is a long, exhaustive synthesis paper, so during the time allotted for our “final exam”, we’re going to relax, eat cookies from Cookie Jar, and watch a movie. Now, that is quality class time. Despite the bad image that dry, lecturing professors have created, the rest remind us that college classes can certainly be fun.