The Best and Worst GE Classes

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Illustration by Alyssa Long | Staff Illustrator

Addison Morris
Arts & Entertainment Editor

As a graduating junior who has recently completed her general education (GE) requirements, I feel prepared to share my favorite and least favorite classes. My hope is that students registering for spring courses find this advice useful while other students who might have already taken some of the classes find it relatable, funny, and hopefully not too PTSD-inducing.

Best 5

5. Sociology 152A: Sociology of Human Sexuality

No doubt about it: sex, nudity, and porn are alluring — and those are major components of this class. However, the less seductive topics of the course include STI and STDs, female genital cutting, and childbirth in all their gory detail. Of course, every topic taught, regardless of the appeal, is extremely important, relevant, and eye-opening. Balancing fun and informative, SOC152A takes spot #5 on my list.

4. Classics 40: Greek Mythology

Even if reading and writing are your Achilles’ heel, take CLASS 40 because the fascinating subject matter makes all the difference. Greek Mythology is a storytelling class. Show up to lecture to hear epic tales, glorious myths, and tragic stories; read the accompanied texts to learn more and I promise you won’t be sorry.

3. East Asian Languages and Cultural Studies 5: Introduction to Buddhism

While Professor Hillis is hands-down one of the coolest professors at UCSB, the course has merit in its own right. If going into the class you think that Buddhism is all zen, meditation, yoga, and good karma, be prepared to have a philosophical and possibly existential crisis, as EACS 5 will make you question everything you thought you knew.

2. Anthropology 5: Introductory Biological Anthropology

I’m not just plugging this class because I’m a bio-anth major — Anthropology 5 is the class that converted me. Presented as “an introduction to evolutionary biology,” Anthropology 5 will change the way you think about every creature around you. The class format includes video lectures to watch when you so choose, a fully discussion-based class, and an easy-to-follow textbook written by the professor himself.

1. English 15: Shakespeare

With another outstanding professor, English 15 is a no-brainer. After all, William Shakespeare has influenced so much of contemporary language, literature, and popular culture that a basic course in his works ought to be a general education requirement on its own. To take the class or not to take the class? That is a foolish question.

Bottom 5

5. Mathematics 8: Transition to Higher Mathematics

Transition to Higher Mathematics is about as fun as it sounds. If you didn’t think math could get any harder than calculus or linear algebra, think again. This class starts to get into recreational mathematics — which is an oxymoron if I’ve ever heard one — where it stops being applicable to real-life situations and starts reaching levels of complexity beyond mere fruitlessness.

4. Anthropology 2: Introductory Cultural Anthropology

Boring, intuitive, and repetitive, Anthropology 2 may have been more of a disappointment to me than to other students because it was a let-down compared to my other anthropology classes in the biological realm. On the other hand, if the class had simply taught me something I didn’t already know about some diverse world cultures, I would have counted it a success.

3. Asian American Studies 5: Introduction to Asian American Literature

More than 200 pages of reading per week, quizzes every section, two close reading papers — have I said enough yet to convince you? If not, let me add that the professor tries to get to know every single student’s name in the 200-person lecture hall — a noble endeavor, but a tragic catastrophe.

2. Art History 6A: Art Survey I: Ancient-Medieval Art

Be prepared to learn no art and all history. The class focuses on prehistoric and ancient art — meaning rock piles, settlements, and archaeological artifacts. I hardly considered these things art when I was expecting to learn about famous drawings and paintings, and, thus, I was extremely dissatisfied.

1. Anthropology 3: Introductory Archeology

If you want to hear an old male professor talk about his favorite fantasies of young actresses in skimpy caveman outfits three days a week, take ANTH 3. If this repels and disgusts you, avoid the class altogether.

Addison Morris
Addison Morris is a third-year honors student majoring in biological anthropology and minoring in mathematics and English. She is originally from Salt Lake City, Utah, but most recently from Redding, California. She loves attending concerts, comedy shows, and art galleries in her free time (or to write articles about her section).

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