BYU students recommend their favorite electives

Students relieve stress through stretching in Yoga, STAC 109. Yoga is one of several elective courses students can take at BYU. (Gianluca Cuestas)

As registration for winter semester quickly approaches, students are deciding how to best fill their class schedules.

Each BYU student must complete 120 credits to graduate. All credits that don’t count toward the student’s major or minor count as elective credits.

Here are a few of BYU students’ favorite electives:

Electives for your mind and relationships

BYU student Jenny Lestarge said HLTH 403R, a special topics class with a focus on positive psychology, taught her principles that helped her feel happier.

“I really just learned the way to a happy life through expressing gratitude, getting adequate sleep and exercise and savoring the small things in life,” Lestarge said.

Several classes teach these techniques. Intro to Positive Psychology, PSYCH 349, is worth three credits. Individual Development, STDEV 141R, also includes sections with an emphasis in positive living. These sections are each worth two credit hours.

Savannah Kroff, a graduate student in the marriage, family and human development program, took Healthy Sexuality in Marriage, SFL 376, worth three credits.

Kroff said the class atmosphere was “wonderful” because it was an open environment. She learned about healthy sexuality before and after marriage.

“I know it sounds crazy and might put some people off, but it really was the best class I have ever taken and allowed me to develop a more holistic view of sexuality as a single individual and now as a married individual,” Kroff said.

Pre-nursing major Amanda Landon recommends taking Human Development, SFL 210, which is worth three credit hours, from Larry Nelson.

“It gave me a whole new perspective on parenting and myself as a person mentally, emotionally and spiritually,” Landon said.

BYU graduate student Ashley LeBaron took Preparation for Marriage, SFL 223, which is three credit hours.

“It was so helpful and applicable,” LeBaron said. “I learned so much, and it wasn’t too difficult or time consuming.”

Students in yoga class take a pose. Leah Bryan said this elective class helped her manage stress. (Gianluca Cuestas)

Electives to keep you active

Between classes, work and other responsibilities, it may be hard for students to find time to exercise — other than the hike up the stairs to campus.

BYU alumna Leah Bryan took Yoga, STAC 109, as a requirement for her theater major. She said she recommends the class as an elective for any student.

“They took relieving stress seriously. I mean, our final was to get a deep tissue massage,” Bryan said. “Instead of paying money for a book, we were supposed to pay for a glorious time of relaxation — best book money I ever spent in my entire college career.”

Bryan said she learned how to take care of her body, including how to properly stand, how to break down bad habits, where she physically holds her stress and how to stretch that part of the body out.

“We came to understand how to respect our bodies and to use it as an instrument,” Bryan said.

The half-credit yoga class has sections exclusively for Helaman or Heritage Halls residents.

Beginning Tennis, STAC 181, is sometimes taught by current or former members of the BYU tennis team, according to statistics major Brittney Warner.

“It’s great to be able to meet a bunch of new people who all love the same sport as you and to keep up and learn new skills at the same time,” Warner said about the half-credit class.

Public health major Laura Galvao took Beginning Contemporary Modern DanceDANCE 140, as a freshman. She said the class was “the best thing ever,” and she made great friends she still talks to five years later.

“It was a great place for everyone to come and feel confident in expressing ourselves through movement,” Galvao said. “The ambiance of the class was very conducive to forming friendships.”

Manufacturing engineering technology student Ryan Davis said the half-credit class Beginning Racquetball, STAC 146, is a great way to get in some exercise.

“It’s a fun class for a hobby that’s cheap and easy to pick up,” Davis said.

Electives that teach fun skills and information

Students practice playing the guitar in the Basic Guitar Skill class. Ashley LeBaron said she enjoyed the skills she learned from this class. (Maddi Driggs)

Landscape design major Mickelle Farnsworth said she suggests students take Field Botany, BIO 235, because she learned about many different plants. She now notices so much more of the world around her when she walks places.

Farnsworth also took World Religions, REL C 351, which is worth two credits.

“It opens your eyes to love and appreciate other faiths and realize God speaks to everyone in different ways,” Farnsworth said.

BYU graduate Ruth Call said she recommends students take University Chorale, MUSIC 311R. The class is worth one credit, and there are different sections for men and women.

“It’s important to feel a part of something bigger than yourself, especially in a place as big as BYU,” Call said about the class.

Call said she liked the class because it’s creative, and participants don’t need to be able to sing well.

LeBaron also took Basic Guitar Skill, MUSIC 117, and said playing guitar is now one of her favorite hobbies. She said the class was really easy. Basic Guitar Skill is a two-credit class.

“If you want to learn and are willing to practice, you’ll come out with basic guitar skills,” LeBaron said.

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