OPINION: Top 8 electives for the lazy college student

Students in Hale Library gather around computer modules to work on various assignments on May 8, 2013. (Archive photo by Evert Nelson | Collegian Media Group)

There are few things that can ruin a perfect undergraduate semester more than the K-State 8.

The K-State 8 program requires every student enrolled at Kansas State to complete a certain number of credits in eight general areas of study, presumably to create a more enlightened student body or whatever.

Since you probably aren’t majoring in something that covers all eight requirements, that means electing to take courses outside your department if you want a diploma.

But what are the best elective classes to take if you just want to graduate and don’t care how you do it? I’m glad you asked.

1. Natural Disasters – GEOL 125

K-State 8 quotas: Natural and Physical Sciences, Social Sciences

This lecture-style class is absolutely ideal if you’re feeling lazy. You’re not required to meet or talk to anyone else, the course material is elementary and the exams are as easy as they get in college — if you study, at least.

Oh, and if you miss a lecture? No problem. All the lecture slides are available online at all times, making catching up a breeze. You probably won’t fall asleep while you’re learning about tornadoes and volcanoes, but if you do, all is not lost.

2. Mass Communication in Society – MC 110

K-State 8 quota: Historical Perspectives

For easygoing lectures, it doesn’t get better than this. This introduction to the school of journalism and mass communications will show you how we got from telegrams to social media without ever boring you or giving your brain a stress fracture.

The class is another impersonal lecture with no required socializing (like most popular electives), but you’ll definitely get to know the professor’s personality if it’s the legendary Steven Smethers behind the podium. My only recommendation is to pay attention to the due dates for the online quizzes — I got a B because I slept through two of them. Oops.

3. History of Rock and Roll – MUSIC 170

K-State 8 quotas: Aesthetic Interpretation, Historical Perspectives

In my experience, this class is a paradox. It’s easy and informative, but you’re probably not going to like it.

The material and the quizzes are totally doable for any student in any major, and the seats in the lecture hall are comfortable enough. Unfortunately, you’ll also have to deal with having your eyes and ears assaulted by poor audio and video equipment on a daily basis.

If you can get past the sudden spikes in volume that make you jump out of your seat and the music videos that look and sound like they’re being played inside a fish tank, it’s not bad. It’s still better than taking a drawing class, at least.

4. Introduction to Philosophical Problems – PHILO 100

K-State 8 quota: Ethical Reasoning and Responsibility

Have you ever wanted to argue with strangers about the existence of God and get graded on it? Gosh, have I got the class for you.

I can’t guarantee that this intro class will turn you into a heavenly super-person full of philosophical wisdom, but it will at least teach you how to explain your morals and personal values without losing your cool — a valuable skill in any traffic jam.

The course is intriguing without being too challenging, and the philosophical essays are surprisingly easy to write. You might even get your mind blown once or twice when the professor starts asking questions that sound like lyrics from a Pink Floyd album. Not bad.

5. General Psychology – PSYCH 110

K-State 8 quotas: Empirical and Quantitative Reasoning, Social Sciences

Sitting in a lecture hall and teaching your brain about itself is the epitome of what college is all about. This class is a little more costly than others since you need to buy a remote control for quiz participation (yes, really), but it’s pretty easy throughout the semester.

You’ll learn about Sigmund Freud, Ivan Pavlov, Carl Jung and why they were all horribly mistaken about human psychology due to their limited understanding at the time. It’s a great time if you like proving old people wrong.

6. Introduction to Music of the World – MUSIC 249

K-State 8 quotas: Aesthetic Interpretation, Global Perspectives

I hate to be dramatic, but this class will convince you that everything is music. Off-beat drum pounding is music. Passing gas through your mouth is music. Even country radio is music.

Although this class is probably the toughest one on this list, it’s definitely worth the effort to study and take daily quizzes so you can learn what music means to people around the world. You’ll listen to mariachi, jazz, reggae and even an obscure style of Indonesian percussion that takes up an entire chapter of the textbook.

7 and 8. Archery and Beginning Fencing – RRES 200

K-State 8 quotas: None, but you’ll learn how to kill people

Do you need to stab someone from far away? Take archery. Do you need to stab someone up close? Take fencing.

Learning to be an elite medieval warrior might seem like a waste of time in the 21st century, but these classes will provide you with a surprisingly good workout, especially fencing. You’ll meet plenty of new friends and practice murdering them soon after, making these two courses a perfect addition to any college experience.

Kyle Hampel is the opinion editor for the Collegian and a senior in English. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to opinion@kstatecollegian.com.

Those words you just read were written by me, Kyle Hampel. I am a 2019 graduate in English. I have strong feelings about barbeque pizza and the Oxford comma. I am a former copy chief, community editor, feature editor, designer and deputy multimedia editor. Beloit, Kansas, is proud to call me their own, along with several other towns I've lived in that aren't as special to me.