Normally I talk about myself and the stuff I did in class, but this week it’s time to tackle a bigger issue. The whole Exercise and Sports Studies program, including the classes and the minor, were cut after the school dropped $45 million from its budget at the end of the 2009 fiscal year.

I don’t proclaim to have any idea how funding for such a program really works, but if the result is no more exercise courses will be available to UCSB students, then it’s an awful way to spend money.

UCSB has some really nice facilities available to everyone, a wonderful staff and a lot of kids who need to start going to the gym. People should expect their university environment to come with a whole range of ways to improve themselves, and that includes the physical side too.

There exists a certain stereotypical image of an intelligent, successful person a school like ours churns out. He or she can rattle off equations or quote classics and has poured over textbooks in the library for four solid years. That model works for a lot of people, but not everyone.

Education should not be confined to the mind. A big part of a happy or successful existence for many of us includes physical activity. While we’re here, the goal is to evolve a bit into more responsible, ready-for-real-life adults, and that’s why it is UCSB’s responsibility to provide physical education for all of us in addition to the classrooms and exams.

Going back to my personal experience (I had to talk about myself at some point, right?), I have been a much happier person while leading a somewhat active lifestyle. Of course, many other factors in my life contribute to that happiness, but ESS, when I go, is basically a guarantee of a pretty good day.

After exercising, I go home, shower, eat something and feel like I’m ready to get things done. Even if my muscles are a little sore and I’m physically tired, it never affects schoolwork, when I do it of course. In fact, it’s just the opposite. Playing a few sets of tennis or anything else stimulates my mind and improves my mood a ton. Something about endorphins, or something.

I challenge you to ask yourself what class you went to last that made you feel better rather than exhausted. If the response is your 14-hour chem lab every Thursday night, then maybe the academics-driven lifestyle I talked about earlier is for you. That’s wonderful. We need people in those great white lab coats anyway.

But if your answer is the same “umm… nothing” that I would have given last quarter, maybe it’s time to look somewhere else, and ESS is a great place to start. They offer a fucking sailing class for God’s sake! I know you have your second pass time coming up soon, so take up another half unit. It’s pass/no pass and, in my experience, they’re easy to crash.

After four years of college, I’m starting to see why older people are always telling me to enjoy my time in college, to do every activity I can sign up for. It goes by fast, and I highly suggest you find room in between booty calls and film screenings to pick up a sport or two, even if you suck. ESS is going to be gone very soon so find a class now, because it’s the last chance you’re going to get, and that’s a shame. It’s the perfect way to guarantee a good day, and if you ask me, that’s pretty special.