Taking Classes Outside Your Major

At the University of Illinois, it is easy to get caught up and overwhelmed in all the required classes for your declared major. And at times, it may even seem impossible to take any classes that simply explore your interests.

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Today, I’m here to tell you that you CAN and SHOULD take classes outside of your major. Let me tell you about my experience in what has been my favorite class at the University of Illinois so far: ENGL 266.

I took Grimms’ Fairy Tales in Context because I needed a 200-level English class for me Middle Grades Education endorsement. So while this class was technically for my major, it certainly had nothing to do with the educational content I usually deal with. As a kid, I never really read a lot of fairy tales or watched a lot of Disney movies, so I thought the class would not interest me.


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Boy, was I wrong.

ENGL 266 ended up being my favorite class at Illinois thus far, and here’s why:

  1. The Professor
    First and foremost, Professor Laurie Johnson is the sweetest and quirkiest professor I have ever met. Her spunk makes the class so much more enjoyable than a typical 2oo-level English course. Moreover, Professor Johnson is truly intimate with the course material, as she is always thinking through and creating her own theories on the material. This active thinking style makes for great discussions and a real connection to the class. Overall, Professor Johnson is simply a down-to-earth individual who understands the stressors of college life and is incredibly accommodating to every student.
  2. The Class Material
    When I registered for this course, I thought that I would not be engaged in the material given that I want never a huge Disney fan. In fact, though, the opposite occurred. Because I was never engaged with Disney movies, I was able to analyze and critique from an outside perspective. The material for this course not only improves English and writing skills, but also involves critical thinking, analyzing, and psychological reasoning.
  3. The Lecture Was NOT a Lecture
    My favorite part about Grimms’s Fairy Tales in Context was that it was structured as a lecture/discussion class, but it did not feel that way. Again, this is thanks to such an amazing professor. On Monday’s and Wednesday’s (lecture days), we still engaged in active discussions and open conversations. This made the 50-minute class fly by while enhancing every student’s experience and understanding of the assigned readings.
Cinderella and Prince Charming

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So, what exactly is my point (other than HIGHLY encouraging everyone to take this course)? Step outside of your comfort zone and take classes that you are unsure about or curious about. You never know which class will really be the one that changes you as both a student and an individual.


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June 1, 2017, 5:49 am

This has been the most helpful article I can find on majors! I’ve always loved learning in general.At the same time, I want to experience what it would be like studying the degree, and to see if, with a little work, my passion for it will grow as you said in this post.