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OP-ED: Penn Should Replace the Living World Sector With the FitnessGram PACER Test


As a Penn student who did not place out of any of the college requirements, I am constantly sent into a downward spiral when I wonder how I will have time to take all of my classes. Must I take summer courses? Must I take 7 classes a semester? I’m not an M&T student. I shouldn’t need to do that. Naturally, the sector requirements make me mad. Sectors were just established to make us take tenured professors’ unpopular classes. I honestly couldn’t even tell you how many sectors there are. And why are there also foundational approaches? And why can’t everything double count??? I am in despair! 

One sector in particular makes me mad: The living world sector. You’re telling me I need to take a course on Darwin's legacy, Paleontology, or Sex and Human Nature? Here’s my take on the Living World Sector. We are living. We are in the world. If we wanna live longer in the world, let's do some running! And like I always say, liberal arts isn’t liberal arts without physical education. That’s why I think Penn should replace the living world sector with the fitness gram pacer test! 

Yea, the pacer test. The one you did in elementary school. For those of you who did not participate in the pacer test, this is what it entails: Students run back and forth as many times as they can, each lap is signaled by a beeping noise, and the beeps progressively get closer together. Although the pacer test was recently banned for child cruelty, I admire the pacer test because it drives the competitive spirit of the University of Pennsylvania and humbles the unathletic.  

Furthermore, maybe the pacer test will encourage students to end their nicotine addictions. Maybe it can increase the average lung strength of the entire undergraduate population. Maybe it can reverse the effects of climate change. We’ll never know until we try. 

I know what you’re thinking: if the college does the pacer test what will Wharton students have to do? To compensate for their easy course load, I propose that they all must participate in a more high-stakes competition. Like the hunger games or the family wizard competition in Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie. The possibilities are endless.