Interesting Fall Classes You Might Wanna Check Out…Maybe

by Matt Benoit

With school back in session, it’s just one more signal that all the traditional signs of autumn are upon us: Leaves are turning color, Halloween displays are overtaking grocery and department stores even though it’s still freaking September, political advertisements are dominating the media landscape, and Brett Favre has finally made up his mind (we think).

The scent of fall lingers in the cooling air, and with it comes the all-too familiar feeling that soon, everything will die and the darkness will once again creep in. But enough about the Seahawks’ playoff chances.

Whether you’re new to Whatcom or have been here longer than several of the on-campus structures, you might be wondering if there’s any new or interesting classes you can take this quarter.

Well, the good news is this: You can live without an appendix.

Whoops, wrong good news. What I meant to say was: Despite wide-ranging budget cuts for many colleges and universities across the country, new and interesting classes are still being introduced.

For instance, at Stanford University, you can take “The Psychology of Facebook,” which can help you understand such things as why that cute chick from physics won’t friend you (hint: it’s because you’re annoying!). But perhaps the most riveting of all is “Sex, Beer, and Chocolate: Fact and fiction about the things you love,” a course offering from the University of South Florida.

Other universities across the country offer classes about UFOs, zombies, vampires, Harry Potter, maple syrup, stupidity, and even the Beatles.

All of these courses, of course, can translate into immensely usable majors.

For instance, did you know that you can earn a degree in bagpiping from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh? That is obviously a great thing, when you consider the amazingly large number of things you can do with a bagpiping degree:

PROSPECTIVE EMPLOYER: Look, being an airline pilot is a very difficult job. We really don’t feel that your bagpiping qualifications are enough to suggest you’d be competent in piloting a 747.

YOU: Oh, but they are! Here, let me play you “Johnny Boy”!  

After all, nothing says “qualified professional” more than being able to play an instrument that sounds like a sped-up recording of a Canadian goose being mutilated.

Anyway, as a public service to you, the student, let’s take a look at a few of the more interesting fall courses being offered at Whatcom:


Pyrotechnics (PYRO100)—Part of the “Finding Things Out Series,” explore the world of blowing things up. The instructor will demonstrate the evolution of pyrotechnics using Jerry Bruckheimer films and the leftover Fourth of July fireworks he’s been collecting in his garage for the last 27 years. Mandatory life insurance policy required to take class.

Interpersonal Communication (CMST&210)—taught by a new instructor, Mel Gibson. You f***ing b****!

New language course! “Aramaic I” (ARA&121)—Learn the increasingly endangered languages of many Middle Eastern tribes. NOT taught by Mel Gibson.

Intro to Cardcounting (GAMBLE♠♣♥♦)—A new math-based course taught by Freddie “Fast Fingers (Except for the End of One Thumb That was Cut Off by a Bladed Power Tool During a Money Dispute)” Francisco. Learn the basics of counting cards and how to slip around those pesky “lifetime” bans from certain casinos on the Las Vegas strip.

Intro to Inception (PSYC2010)—Taught by Leonardo DiCaprio, this advanced course will explore the ways one can enter another’s dreams and steal vital information, and how all unresolved endings suggest that sequels will probably be made. Male student that scores highest on final wins a date with Ellen Page.

New Business Advertising course! “Sexual Harassment in the Workplace: What’s the problem?” (BUSAD69)—Now taught by Mad Men’s Don Draper, who insists that, if you’re not doing anything later tonight, he’d like some help “grading papers,” if you get our drift.

Intro to the Drug Trade (BUS420)—This riveting course outlines the basic nature of the drug trade. Topics of study include how to claim turf, intimidation and blackmail tactics (with an emphasis on severe beatings and “gettin’ capped”), the changing popularity of street drugs (with emphasis on marijuana, cocaine, and crystal meth), and how to avoid the DEA. Taught by former chemistry instructor Walter White from AMC’s Breaking Bad.

Students of Anarchy (HISTNNN) —This class examines the popular FX show Sons of Anarchy and its relation to the history of biker gangs such as the Banditos and the Hells Angels. A leather jacket, menacing sneer, and at least one tattoo are required to take the class.

Intro to Leaf Raking (PE923)—Rake up all the fall leaves on campus into big piles and then jump into them. Taught by Whatcom’s grounds crew.   

History of Halloween (HIST666)—Learn the history of the favorite holiday of little children and the most revered by dentists. Topics include animal sacrifices, witch burning, cavities, those annoying people that try to give you apples instead of candy, and learning the Thriller dance.

Includes field trips to Value Village and that near-campus Halloween specialty store to look for a costume for the final, which consists of trick or treating on Oct. 31. NOTE: Grade of final will be determined by weight of candy in your bag.

Watching the World Series (PE106)—Class consists of watching and analyzing each game of Major League Baseball’s annual “Fall Classic.” Will meet a minimum of four times.* (*and five, six, or seven times, if necessary.)

Survey of Thanksgiving (HIST11/25)—Learn all about the history of the Thanksgiving holiday. The final consists of falling asleep watching football on the coach after eating massive quantities of turkey.

Survey of Black Friday (SALE$$$)—Learn how to wake up at an ungodly hour the day after being thankful for the right things in life and then, in a frenzy of materialistic greed, trample department store employees in order to reach that 75% off laptop before that other ***hole does!

Community Education:

“How to Stop an Oil Spill…in roughly four months,” taught by employees of British Petroleum.

How to get your life back, taught by former B.P. CEO Tony Hayward. Learn how to become the biggest corporate douchebag on the planet, and then resign only to be given a multi-million dollar severance package!

How to drive through a round-about: This class examines the history of traffic rotaries, and aims to teach people how to freaking drive through the ***damn roundabouts near campus! When will people learn? It’s not that difficult!

Student Help Seminars:

Fun Fashion Sense, with Whatcom math instructor Jim Hollingsworth. Simply put, this man’s home closet likely has more colors than a jumbo box of Crayolas. Finally, he’s sharing his fashion secrets with the student body, and showing them how to dress for success. Or at least, how to dress like a crayon.

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