Auburn Family

Three Electives You Never Knew You Should Take

Many say that college is about a lot more than what you learn in the classroom. However, with Auburn University's wide range of elective offerings, what you learn in the classroom may have more practical uses than you might expect.


1. Self Defense for Women - PHED 2200


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Self Defense for Women follows the Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) System, which, according to the course description, is a "comprehensive program of realistic self-defense tactics and techniques for women that promotes awareness, prevention, risk reduction and risk avoidance with a progression to hands-on training and simulation exercises."


The first few classes are comprised of lectures primarily from an Auburn University security officer. Periodically there are lectures from guest speakers, such as police officers and other safety officials. These speakers teach students the basics of general safety and awareness.


As the class progresses, focus strays away from basics and goes more in depth, teaching practical self defense knowledge and tactics. Students are taught how to identify various dangerous situations and what to do in each situation including situations of sexual assault, rape, abuse and etc.


According to Sammy Kelley, a freshman enrolled in the course for the Spring 2016 semester, "You learn all about [self defense], from what to do if someone is following you, to how to protect yourself and how to be smart when you are home alone." Kelley continued, "Once you finish the first month of lectures, you start doing hands-on stuff and learning actual physical ways to protect yourself."


In Self Defense for Women, you are taught from the bottom up various self defense moves, the appropriate situation to use each move and the proper way to execute each move so that you do not injure yourself.


Jessica Eidt, an Auburn University senior who took the course in the fall of 2012, urges students to take the course, saying, "I think young women should take the class, especially as incoming freshman as I did, because throughout your college career you hear all sorts of things in the news that happen to girls who were not able to defend themselves. This class helps prepare you for the unlikely event that you will get into a situation like that." Eidt continued, "I’m not saying it will make you kick the guy's ass but it gives you a little knowledge in your back pocket of things you can do to get out of or to avoid dangerous situations."



2. Performance Activities - PHED 1600


(Photo: K.Latham / Flickr) (Photo: K.Latham / Flickr)


According to the course description, Performance Activities teaches the "basic concepts and physical activities associated with a specific performance activity." While this may sound like a broad description, it is because Performance Activities can encompass a wide range of activities. Variations of the course include: fishing, stress reduction, gymnastics, Tae Kwondo, yoga and dance.


One of the most popular variations of this class is stress reduction. Every student has experienced the stress that school can put on an individual. Thankfully, Auburn University created a course to keep you sane throughout an inherently stressful semester.


Stress reduction focuses on how to reduce stress in your life in a healthy way. The course teaches students how various factors, such as nutrition, hydration and exercise, can positively or negatively influence stress levels.


Margo Kaestner, a senior enrolled in the course this semester, called Stress Reduction "one of the best classes I have ever taken at Auburn!" She elaborated, saying, "We are just now starting to focus on how exercising affects stress levels. We will do yoga occasionally in class and have five-minute 'sits' where we relax and meditate. It has helped a ton with my stress levels."



3. Team Sports - PHED 1400


auburnhandball (Photo: Mark Ortega / USATH)


Team Sports can be taken with a wide range of variations. Broadly, this course teaches students the basic concepts and activities associated with a particular team sport. A variety of sports are offered, including: volleyball, basketball, softball and handball. However, handball is the marginally the most popular option.


It is a little-known fact that Auburn University is home to USA's Men's and Women's National Handball Teams. The teams are currently practicing, working and attending school at Auburn University while they train for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.


Because this course is held in the same building that the Olympic Handball team trains in, the team will periodically stop by the class to help out the novices.


Senior Nicole Renner said, "Class was held in the old coliseum and we got help at practice from the Olympic team because they were training here." Renner continued," It was a good work out and I learned a lot about a sport that I never even knew existed until that class."


What better way to learn a new sport than from future-Olympians!


This class teaches students everything they need to know about handball, in addition to giving students hands-on experience playing the sport.


Senior Will Kinsley explains, "We pretty much learned the basics of team handball and then progressed into playing full games by the end of the semester. It is a great workout because you're running back and forth and it builds on teamwork skills. Also, it's different from playing a typical American sport!”


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