Mickey Mouse Classes

classroom
That’s what they called them when I was in college: Mickey Mouse classes.  You may have heard them referred to as bunny classes, or maybe just easy-As. I have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, but the program was re-vamped between my Sophomore and Junior years. If you’ve ever been midway through a course of study when it gets redesigned you understand that this translates to all students as, “You are SO screwed!” This was the first thing that came to mind when I read the “college” prompt for Mama Kat’s Witers’ Workshop.

So, as a girl with a four-year scholarship and summers that had to be filled with full-time work to pay for things like shampoo and toilet paper throughout the year I carried 18-21 credit hours a semester during my Junior and Senior year. As a Nursing major my Tuesdays and Thursdays were taken. I had clinicals from seven to three. Then I’d usually speed over to the UK med center, where I was a tech in the CCU. I’d work 4-12 there, and then get up in time to be ready for 8a.m. classes on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Somehow our clinical hours, which were spent actually doing things to real patients, didn’t count as much as class time. So 16 hours of clinical time would translate into maybe four hours of credit.

So my Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays were booked solid. And I had to choose my classes carefully to make sure they fulfilled the new requirements.  That’s when I discarded any hopes I had of getting a well-rounded education (Creative Writing, Art History, Anthropology, more Psych than just Intro to. . .) and started asking around for classes that either 1) I didn’t have to actually attend, 2) did not require a book, or 3) didn’t have tests. I found enough that I was actually able to get about four hours sleep a night and could afford to have two packets of saltine crackers for lunch every day (ten cents, 4 crackers total).  There were lots of people getting by on less sleep and no crackers.

A Brontosaurus was our shuttlebus when I enrolled at UK, so I suspect these classes no longer exist, or exist under a different name. From recent reports about the University of North Carolina you just have to look hard enough. I bet I could get my Master’s in something from UNC without ever leaving my little Kentucky home!

Anyway, this was the list back then:

Pharmacy 222: This was held in the largest classroom on campus, and there were still people sitting in the aisles. The Pharmacy professors took turns teaching it just for fun. It actually was very educational, no matter what your major. One day he compared aspirin, acetomenaphine (Tylenol), and ibuprofen (Advil).  Aspirin won’t bring down a fever. Tylenol won’t help with swelling/inflammation. We covered Spanish Fly (which just makes your genitals itch), and one of the questions on the final was, “What number is stamped on a qualude?” For those not familiar with the song Superfreak by Rick James. . . it’s 714. It was easy to tell when each person got to that question, because they’d bob their head or hum 🙂 Another favorite of mine was Medical Terminology from Greek and Latin. Sounds hard, right? Not so much. Super-cheap book that the professor had used for years. Class was him telling us which words would be on the test. We just highlighted them. After high school Latin I could have aced it in my sleep. The professor was retirement-age, and every day he showed up with his fly unzipped and a dirty shoestring tied around his neck like a bolo tie. His first announcement to the class was that he didn’t think student athletes should have to go to class, so if there were any student athletes present they just needed to come on up and give him their name and they’d get an A without ever showing up again. The line was long.

I took Military History. I know nothing about history or geography or the military, but if I showed up and said, “Present!” and then showed up for the Pershing Rifle demo I got an A. It worked for me. Greek and Roman Mythology was awesome. I’d had an awesome Latin teacher in high school, and I’d always found mythology fascinating. No book, I only showed up for tests, and I only got one question wrong the entire semester. And the professor (actually an administrator who gave tests in his office) gave me 1/2 credit for creativity 🙂 There was a class called Marriage, Family and Sexuality that didn’t require a book, and that one was great. The only awkward moment was when we were grading our tests ourselves and there was some question about the size of a penis. Another girl and I both raised our hands at the same time to ask why our answer was wrong. He laughed, then flushed beet-red under our serious stares and said, “Um, the correct answer can be either B or C on that question.” Philosophy was much harder than I’d expected. And Astronomy was also a bust since it was only offered at 1 p.m.  The lights were out for 50 minutes, I’d just had lunch, and I was sleep-deprived.

What were your Mickey-Mouse classes? Do you remember them fondly, or just as a waste of your time? I’m especially interested if you went to EKU or UK – those are the only in-state schools that offer the Major and Minor my youngest wants!

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14 thoughts on “Mickey Mouse Classes”

  1. I never managed to find any Mickey Mouse classes (we called them “micks”). People would tell me about an simple class that was a sure A, and that would be the quarter the class had a new instructor who made it infinitely harder…

    1. I recommended the Mythology course to a few friends, and evidently it got a lot harder by the next semester 🙁 My best friend STILL gripes about it now and then – LOL!

  2. Ha! I had forgotten that term. Mine was my very first semester–Fall 1979. Still a bit of the hippy dippy era left. The course was Human Potential. We would sit around and dream up some activity that might challenge us (e.g. repelling). The professor would take us out to try it. Then we would sit in a circle and offer feedback to each other about our feelings about the experience and how each classmate had managed it.

  3. I never heard those terms when going to college. I was older. A non-traditional student.. a mother juggling family and college life. I focused on core classes the first two years, took a secondary education entrance exam, and finished up the last two years in my major. Although I did feel like some classes required unnecessary busy work, I enjoyed my college experience and am happy for doing it. I wonder if Mickey Mouse classes have anything to do with the college itself?

  4. Hmm, mickey mouse classes? I never heard the term used. When I was college in the early 80’s they these were just called, “electives.” There were also “core courses,” that were essential to your degree area and “required courses,” such as a certain number of science, math & humanities course (like psych, English, etc). I was an art student. So my core courses were cool. As for everything else, if it wasn’t decided for me (like having to take English comp 1 & 2 or Earth Science), I tried to pick what I though I’d enjoy. Nursing IS a pretty intense major because of all the clinical practice and sounds like you did a good job finding low-requirement course fillers. 🙂

  5. I’ve never heard that term used before! I hated all classes equally though so I don’t think I would have enjoyed them. 😉

  6. Mine was actually bowling, which I took during a summer semester. The criteria for getting an A was simply to improve from day 1 to the last day of class. It was a fun course. My college had a small 5 lane bowling alley in the basement of the SUB and there were 10 of in the class. It was really easy to get better when you were bowling so regularly, so it was really just an hour of fun every couple of days.

    1. I love it! I could easily have gotten my A in that class (no way to get WORSE than my bowling score!), and actually had some FUN in a class for once!!

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