As registration approaches, students will join waitlists for classes such as Quantum Mechanics and Calculus. But they will also fight for spots in classes such as social dance, a one-credit physical education class at UT.
According to Michael Sanders, director of the physical education division, over 3,000 students enroll in PED classes every semester. Students can take classes such as weight training, taekwondo and handball.
Each class meets twice a week but counts for one credit hour. Students receive a letter grade based mainly on participation, which means the classes often positively affect students’ GPAs.
Sanders said these classes serve as much more than a GPA boost, as the classes give students the opportunity to meet others with similar interests.
Anna Remlinger, an anthropology senior who has taken multiple PED courses, said she saw herself and others benefit physically and mentally from participating in the classes.
“One of my friends (in my running class) said she took a semester off of running,” Remlinger said. “She didn’t exercise, she didn’t take a physical education class, and she said it was the worst semester she had at UT.”
Remlinger said she took the Beginning Running course to prepare for her first 10k race, which is about six miles long.
“Before I would actually put myself down while running, like telling myself I couldn’t finish the run,” Remlinger said. “But now I realize I can, and I was able to run the Cap 10k a lot better this year.”
Ariana Rodriguez, public health junior, said it was difficult to wake up “at the crack of dawn” to go run for the class, but the friends she found in the class encouraged her to keep going.
“When you run with other people, it’s a whole lot more encouraging,” Rodriguez said. “You get placed into pace groups, so you’re running with people who are on the same level as you are. It’s not like you’re running with people who are completely out of your league. It was a really good way to make you work out.”
Sanders said the courses inspire students to maintain active lifestyles even after college.
“Once you structure an activity, you’re much more likely to go to that activity,” Sanders said. “(The class) becomes an incentive for people to keep exercising and make lifelong changes in their overall behavior.”