10 classes you should take this winter semester

Anna Wilson
Students use MyMap to register for classes for the upcoming semester. The Daily Universe compiled a list of 10 fun, insightful classes students can take at BYU. (Anna Wilson)

The time of year has come. The leaves are changing colors, the air is getting colder and BYU students are beginning to register for winter classes. Here are 10 suggested courses for students looking for some extra credits or fun and insightful learning opportunities:

STDEV 290 – Learning Through Service: Theory and Application of Service (one credit)

Anna Wilson
Y-Serve Director Chris Crippen teaches students about understanding those they serve in his class “Learning Through Service: Theory and Application of Service.” (Anna Wilson)

The main objective of this class is for students to learn to apply service and learning theories into their personal service. Students will explore various service opportunities in family, civic, career and church communities. 

“I love helping students change their paradigm of service from a project to a lifestyle,” course professor and Y-Serve director Chris Crippen said. “This is a relatively easy but very thought-provoking course which encourages self-reflection and the discovery and magnification of one’s own spiritual gifts and talents.”

PWS 112 – Floral Design (three credits)

Anna Wilson
Floral design students learn to tie bows for their floral arrangements. (Anna Wilson)

This unique offering — which fulfills the arts general credit requirement — teaches about the identification and care of floral arrangements. Students learn floral design techniques and create one design per week.

“This class is great because when you finish the class, you have a knowledge that can help you in your life,” floral design teaching assistant Sarah Hall said. “When you are walking down the street and can identify the flowers on the side of the road, or if you buy some flowers at the supermarket, you now have a knowledge of how to arrange and upkeep them.”

SOC 323 – Sociology of Race and Ethnicity (three credits)

Sophomore Erin Gibson highly recommends taking Sociology of Race and Ethnicity. “We tackle important historical things that a lot of people just don’t know. Having the knowledge is better than just ignoring it and pretending it didn’t happen.”

The course focuses on helping students understand race in ways that can be applied to everyday life. One principle outlined in the course syllabus is to “understand how race is a system of social relations that functions through all institutions in life.”

“The class, it’s just phenomenal. I’ve enjoyed every part of it,” Gibson said. “It’s not just for people who need to learn the history, it’s for everyone.”

SWELL 116 – Bowling, Beginning (half credit)

Anna Wilson
This student wellness bowling class gives students the opportunity to enhance their bowling skills. (Anna Wilson)

BYU’s beginning bowling class teaches students the principles and skills of bowling. Students learn rules, vocabulary, skills and technique through practice and competition. A fun class such as this helps students socialize and take a mental break from rigorous studies.

“Bowling is a sport. And, just like any sport, you can get better with knowledge and practice,” teacher Jeffrey Woodbury said. “The bowling class, and all student wellness classes, aim at promoting healthy lifestyles. Sometimes, that healthy lifestyle comes in the form of taking a mental break.”

STDEV 141R – Individual Development (two credits)

Each section of this course focuses on an important aspect of individual development. One section is mental health and well-being. “Understanding mental health as an important aspect of overall wellness, this course helps individuals to identify common mental health challenges in themselves or others,” the course syllabus reads.

This course helps students understand stress, anxiety and depression and will assist them in managing mental health. Being open, aware and engaged are important principles discussed throughout the course.

IS 303 – Introduction to Computer Programming (three credits)

Anna Wilson
Students learn to write code in JavaScript and other computer languages in this computer programming class. (Anna Wilson)

One course applicable to those in the business school is this Introduction to Computer Programming class. Students are able to learn essential programming skills. Knowledge is demonstrated by writing programs using JavaScript, Node.js, EXPRESS websites and other programming tools.

“My favorite part is how applicable it is,” junior student Andrew James said. “Everything uses JavaScript and it’s really useful.”

SWELL 120 – Indoor Rock Climbing (half credit)

Anna Wilson
Students climb at the Quarry, the local climbing gym in Provo for BYU’s indoor rock climbing class. (Anna Wilson)

Students enrolled in this class meet off campus at The Quarry, a climbing gym in Provo. Students learn the basics of sport climbing, bouldering, belaying and other safety techniques. They prepare for a written exam at the end of the course by learning vocabulary pertaining to rock climbing.

“Students will learn general principles of fitness and wellbeing that will encourage lifelong wellness and assist in the active pursuit of their best selves,” the course outcomes state.

PHSCS 127 – Descriptive Astronomy (three credits)

Anna Wilson
Students engage in learning about the universe in BYU’s descriptive astronomy class. (Anna Wilson)

“One of the key goals of this class is to help students begin to think like an astronomer,” said Benjamin Boizelle, professor of the course. “[Students] hone critical thinking skills as they view and interpret astronomical discoveries.”

For students who love space and need to fill their physical science general requirement, this descriptive astronomy class is a great option to consider.

“It’s incredible the discoveries we find out in this class about how little we are and how much there is out there,” freshman Kenny Orantes said. “I really recommend this class, everything is really interesting.”

STDEV 145 – Integrity for Life: Building Personal Character (one credit)

The focus of this student development class is to understand principles of integrity and character. Students study the book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey.

“I really love the readings that we have to do each week,” junior Amber Wilkin said. “I can take what I’m reading and apply it directly into my week and into interactions with people.”

This low-stress class can help students be introspective about their habits, time management and character. By the end of the semester, students will develop a personal mission statement to help strengthen their character.

SWELL 104 – Dance Aerobics (half credit)

Anna Wilson
Professor Paula Johnson teaches a rhythmic workout during her dance aerobics class. (Anna Wilson)

Taking this student wellness dance aerobics class will keep students’ heart rates up and their feet moving. Students learn dance workouts for an entire body workout. As with other student wellness classes, there is an exam at the end of the semester to test knowledge learned during the class.

“Dance aerobics is especially beneficial because we have to engage our brains, which are busy trying to remember and coordinate the next movement while our muscles demand all the precious oxygen needed to think,” professor Paula Johnson said. “Plus the uplifting music and positive social interaction add to the mental benefits.”

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