During the majority of his tenure at Cal Poly, business senior Trenten Tso had spent a lot of his time learning the intricacies of how to calculate foreign exchange rates and corporate auditing procedures as a finance concentration.

It wasn’t until he entered his beginner guitar class that he began tackling more humbling skills, like learning how to quickly switch his left hand from a G chord to a C chord.

There’s an endless number of resources Cal Poly provides their students to gain hands-on experience in fields of study. However, there are also many opportunities at the university to explore interests that don’t directly pertain to their academic field. As spring registration approaches, students have opportunities to enroll in highly-unique classes such as pickleball, guitar and bowling. 

Tso and his classmates rehearse a series of chords in the MU-155 course. Emily Brower | Courtesy

Departments across campus offer a variety of one-or-two unit classes that allow students to top off their schedule with courses that will teach them about all sorts of unique and less-traditionally academic topics.

“Overall I’d say I’m glad I enrolled. I thought it just looked like a really good opportunity to learn a new instrument,” Tso said.

While Tso has not played guitar before the start of winter quarter, he has always had an affinity for making music since he has a background playing the piano and mixing music electronically on his computer. Tso saw guitar as an ideal opportunity to expand his musical horizons.

“Guitar’s been a little bit tougher than I thought,” Tso said. “Everything from like pressing the strings down to my hand positioning to making sure my hand doesn’t cramp up when I play. Those are all things I have to take into account.”

Currently, Tso is learning how to master the positioning of the G chord as he prepares for his midterm, which will require him to strum out the song ‘Riptide’ by Vance Joy in front of his classmates. 

Guitar isn’t the only class Tso’s taking this quarter outside of his typical area of study. The senior student also jumped at the opportunity to enroll in pickleball after it was recommended to him by a friend.

“Pickleball is a lot less structured. It kind of feels like P.E. class where the teacher just says ‘go’ and you just start messing around.” Tso said. “Each day’s a little bit different.”

Students practice pickleball in a tournament-style format on pickleball courts set up in the Recreation Center. Hailey Belcher | Courtesy

In pickleball class, also known as KINE-134, students gather into teams of two and play in tournament-style matches during the one-hour class period. .

Kinesiology Professor Adam Seal teaches a separate section of pickleball, but also positively attested to the “ready, set, go” nature of the course.

“I think it’s getting away from my desk and being able to move around a little bit, I think that’s the best part,” Seal said, ” I think that’s the best part for people in my class as well.”

Seal spent time studying kinesiology and public health when he earned his postdoctoral degree and admires the impact he believes the class has on student’s performance in the classroom.

“A lot of studies show [physical activity] can really help you cognitively,” Seal said. “Like before a test, it just helps out. It’s really good for students.”

YouTube video
Emily Brower | Mustang News

Business administration senior Chris Cornell said he finds a similar escape from his day-to-day routine in class when he attends his bowling class, KINE-109

“You don’t even get to bowl on the first day. It’s very explanatory –– they told us about the proper techniques and also the rules about going up to the actual bowling area as well as handling the center console that holds the bowling balls,” Cornell said.

As he learns about the intricacies of bowling, Cornell said he values the opportunity to take a class that doesn’t stress him out very much. He also believes the class have a lasting impact on his bowling skills. 

“I don’t know when else I’d consistently be going bowling this much, like any other time in my life ever,” Cornell said. 

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