Do we need P.E.

Although the physical education requirement can be tedious and frustrating, mandated P.E. courses can have dramatic benefits.


Melanie Kim/THE CHIMES

Although the physical education requirement can be tedious and frustrating, mandated P.E. courses can have dramatic benefits.

Catherine Streng, Writer

Although the physical education requirement can be tedious and frustrating, mandated P.E. courses can have dramatic benefits. | Melanie Kim/THE CHIMES


“I seriously do not understand why they require us to take four PE requirements,” I uttered just a few short weeks ago as I frustratedly planned my schedule for next semester. I did not want to give up any time better spent studying working for a physical education credit. Not only that, I could not even get into any courses that fit my schedule, despite getting a decent registration time. So I decided to channel my frustration and use my power of writing for the Chimes to my benefit.


At first, I convinced myself to write an article about why we should not be required to take any P.E. courses. After all, we attend a university. We busy ourselves enough as it is, constantly balancing between classes and work. Not only that, we go to college to study our interests. We choose a major and we should only focus on those courses, right? I thought that too. However, after doing more research, I changed my mind.

Most people know the benefits of physical activities, such as reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and type two diabetes. Most of my fellow students and I do not necessarily think about becoming sick at our age. Sure we get the flu or common cold sometimes, but for the most part we do not have to worry about heart disease or arthritis at the moment. We do battle stress, though.

I cannot count the amount of times I have cried frustrated tears because of the amount of work I needed to do. Thinking and planning the future while balancing two jobs and seven courses will bring anyone’s stress levels up. This semester I have noticed a change. Although I am still stressed all the time, I have not gotten as sick or even as depressed as I usually do. I realized that because I run and do resistance training twice a week thanks to my health and wellness class, I have felt better all around, emotionally and physically. So although I hate that it is a requirement, I definitely benefit from the class.


Hoping to find some answers for the questions I still carried, I met with Jim Larson, assistant men’s basketball coach and director of physical education. I described the complication of upperclassmen having to take two or more PE classes at once, often because classes close so quickly, finding the ones you need proves difficult. This cycle has caused frustration, annoyance and an overall negative reaction towards the requirement.

I asked him if something could be implemented, perhaps an upperclassmen only course, to help alleviate the strain of registering. He said, “It’s certainly open for discussion. I don’t want to leave you with the idea that it’s a necessarily easy thing to do because it has to do with facilities. We could run a lot more classes. But at a certain time of the day, the sports teams have the facilities and chapels too. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t look at it. We want to be open to help.”

As a transfer, I ended up disappointed when they told me if I had been 21 years old I would not have to have taken these courses. When I brought that up to Larson, he told me the department has requested to take this exception away. However, nothing is official and it has not gone through yet. “As a department, we feel that’s an outdated requirement from way long ago from maybe we weren’t aware of how important it was for everyone to have physical activity, not just at a certain age,” Larson said.


As college students, I know we do not necessarily eat healthy all the time or take great care of our bodies. I too, am guilty of eating too much pizza in the Caf and then laying in my bed all day. But, these courses require us to keep active and to get into the habit of taking better care of ourselves. Having the problem of not being able to get into courses caused my biggest annoyance with the requirement. But my conversion with Larson has convinced me to remain optimistic. Sure, taking a one credit course will feel tedious, but definitely worth it in the end.

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