The basic advice that you will be receiving from this blog post is: take HPER classes. If that statement is enough to make you go sign up for judo or ballroom dancing, then you don't necessarily need to read on. But if you need a little convincing, I'm about to drop some knowledge on you about why HPER classes are awesome.
The first HPER class I ever took was Introduction to Scientific SCUBA the first semester of my freshman year. I thought I had a pretty "collegiate" schedule that year with things like Anthropology, some class about chimpanzees, and an Eastern Religions course. SCUBA seemed like foolproof way to solidify my perception of my self as a college student who took cool classes. Anyway, SCUBA was 2 credits (a rare thing for an exercise-based HPER class), and had a lecture component and a "lab" component. On Mondays we would sit there and listen to all the things that could go wrong when scuba-diving in an actual ocean, and on Tuesdays we would sit at the bottom of the pool for 50 minutes with our gear on. It was awesome. Plus, if you take it in conjunction with the certification course, you can end the semester by diving in the quarries and end up with your SCUBA certification AND it all counts as credits.
I didn't take any more HPER classes for a while after that because I thought of myself as too busy (I wasn't), so the next thing I had was yoga first semester senior year. I had never taken a single yoga class in my life and the only experience I had with it was playing around with the Wii Fit in my parents' basement. So, needless to say, I fancied myself a bit of an expert. But this class actually exceeded all of my expectations because I had always been under the impression that Pilates was actually yoga's more fun and exciting older sister and I was stuck with yoga for lack of a better alternative. My instructor -- Jacki -- taught active yoga and every class was engaging and just challenging enough. The whole class progressed a lot through the semester and I found myself looking forward to it every week.
This primed me for my final semester as a college student, AKA right now. I have nine credits of actual classes and three separate one-credit HPER courses, leaving me at a healthy twelve credit semester. I'm currently taking yoga II, which, with this particular instructor, is a more traditional take on it than I had had last semester. The best part is yoga-nidra, which is when we all lay down on our yoga mats for 50 minutes while our instructor reads to us from this book and basically lulls us into this weird sleep/trance-like state, and you wake up feeling both weird and refreshed. It's really interesting and a cool way to spend a class period.
I'm also in racquetball, which I had previously had very little experience with as well, but I thought it sounded like fun. And it is, even though I kind of suck at it. But I've definitely improved upon my skills from the beginning of the semester (which included standing there dumbly and getting hit by the ball), and I even play outside of class with some of my friends.
My last HPER credit this semester is whitewater rafting, also known as pure awesomeness. All we had were three class meetings and then we went on a weekend trip to North Carolina and rafted for two days and voila! One whole credit. I went with six of my friends and basically we just hung out the entire time while getting participation credit. We also learned to guide the raft down the river ourselves, with my only guiding mishap being that I made the raft hit a rock and bounced myself into the water. But that's what our helmets and wetsuits were for. Did I mention that it was also possibly the most attractive I've ever been two days in a row?
Anyway, the point of this whole thing was to show that I learned a lot of random skills from the HPER classes that I've taken that have all ended up serving me later on. The experiences were cool, and now I have a better idea of what kinds of physical activities I'll want to pursue later on. And I got to try them all out for free! (Kind of.) So what I'll say to you, reader, is that if you can, try to take one HPER class a semester the whole time you're at IU and by the time you graduate, you'll have learned many awesome skills that most people don't get a lot of hands-on experience with. Plus, you get credit, and most likely an A.