I would love to take advantage of Fordham’s resources for physical activity, but I simply do not have time. Pressure to build your resume is on high by junior year, and for many, including myself, working out takes the back burner compared to schoolwork, clubs, internships and jobs. The only way I could justify a better fitness routine was if it was being integrated into my school curriculum (or if I somehow got paid to do yoga).
Physical education was a requirement at 97 percent of four-year colleges in the 1920s, but fell to just 39 percent by 2010, according to USA Today. That is pretty bad considering the epidemic of obesity in the country today, and considering that college is supposed to prepare us to live enriched, successful, complete lives, which necessarily includes physical activity.
Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, requires each freshman to take one three-credit physical education course and offers classes on everything from nutrition to women’s self-defense to roller skating. And P.E. requirements are not limited to smaller, lesser known schools — Notre Dame and MIT both require physical education for graduation, and Dartmouth offers equestrian and sailing for credit. If that does not sound like a cool, low-key break from your stressful major classes and your intolerable core classes, I do not know what does.
Another solution is to offer credit incentives to students who find time outside of class to work out. If you prefer doing your own thing, or do not have the same time management problem that I do, you could and should still be rewarded for staying healthy and active. We already have to sign in to the RamFit Center — why not put that puzzling bureaucratic non-necessity to some good use? Or, instead of regular classes, students could attend weekly seminars with discussion facilitated by a professor (like the ridiculous internship class that makes you pay to have an unpaid internship).
Exercise is its own reward, and many Fordham students are workout fiends without any credit value (try getting a treadmill at the Ram Fit Center around 5:00 p.m.). But if we could be rewarded for the workouts that we already do, or be offered an incentive to be even more physically fit while exploring new hobbies, it seems like the thing to do.
Unfortunately, P.E. does take a lower priority to academic pursuits at an institution of higher learning. I would rather have Fordham Nightly News back than a newly offered class on weight lifting. But if Fordham ever gets the budget, a P.E. requirement, or some other incentive for students to stay physically active is not a bad idea. Until then, you can probably find me sitting on my bed with my laptop.