Consensus: Fitness and Wellness

For years, HPS 1040 has been the quintessential grin-and-bear-it class at Tech. While not a hard class, it is not particularly exciting or informative, either. With a committee looking at redoing its curriculum, it is important to keep in mind why it needs a revamp, the required nature of the class and what can be expected of the students taking it.

First, it should be noted that students only take the class because it is required. As such, the administration should expect a certain level of apathy from the students in the class. However, there are ways to address this, and, in fact, such a route has been taken to address this difficulty in two other classes in a similar boat: ENGL 1101 and 1102. Students at Tech only take these classes because they are required to, but faculty has made them more interesting to students by creating variety within the classes’ topics, then allowing students to pick which interests them the most.

The same idea can be applied to teaching wellness. While a few basics should be taught to everyone, allowing students to decide whether they want to learn more about psychological disorders versus how to cook healthy meals versus issues in sexual health would give them more reason to be vested in the topic and more likely to care about the material. This could be done as it has been in English, but it could also be done by splitting the class into two one-hour classes, a lecture and a special section.

This would also allow for elements of physical activity to be folded into the curriculum, as certain sections could offer regular sports or exercise as a ‘pick’ for the class. It should be noted, however, that this does not mean that physical fitness should be required. At this point in students’ lives, they think of themselves as in charge of what they want to do, so requiring them to exercise against their will is far more likely to build resentment toward exercise than foster an enjoyment of it. The goal of such an option should be to give students an excuse to get in shape, not try to force them to do it.