Class at Yale teaches students how to live healthy, fulfilled lives

Randi Dofat

Laurie Santos, a psychology professor at Yale University, recently has been teaching the class Psych 157, Psychology and the Good Life, a course on happiness.

This twice-weekly lecture class, enrolled in by over 1,000 students, teaches students how to live a happy and fulfilled life. The class focuses on positive psychology: an exploration of the characteristics that help people flourish and the habits and actions that lead to true happiness, according to Annie Reneau, a writer for UpWorthy.

“Students want to change, to be happier themselves, and to change the culture here on campus,” said Santos. “With one in four students showing more gratitude, procrastinating less, increasing social connections, we’re actually seeding change in the school’s culture.”

According to a study in 2013 by the Yale College Council, half of undergraduates attending Yale University sought mental health care from the college.

Students have reported back positive results from attending the class, and they have become less stressed and more focused, according to David Shimer, New York Times writer.

The course’s final is all about self-improvement, which Dr. Santos calls a “Hack Yo’Self Project,” according to Reneau.

However, students have taken this class in hopes that it’ll be an easy A. In reality, Santos calls her class the hardest class at Yale, according to Shimer.

“Success in the class means a real life change in habits, which requires a great deal of personal accountability,” said Santos.

Hearing about the course at Yale, some students at Washburn say that they would rather spend their tuition money on other classes instead.

“A class about happiness, I wouldn’t take it,” said Troy Russel, senior sociology major at Washburn. “I feel like they are trying to mix education and therapy at the same time. Seems a little bit inappropriate to a certain degree. If Washburn offered that class I would not take it. I think, for a psychology thing, it’s good to understand concepts and theories, that would be involved in why people wouldn’t be happy or what people could do to be happy, but I don’t think that having assignments about relaxing would be worth tuition money.”

Megan Kocher, senior psychology major at Washburn, also disagreed with the idea of having the class at Washburn.

“I think it just sounds like a class on self-care,” Kocher said. “Those are a lot of ideas that could be put in a newsletter that gets emailed out to all the students. I don’t think, especially with Yale prices, I probably would not pay to take a class on happiness. I agree that self-care is extremely important, especially in different roles, in the field of psychology, but to pay for it. You’re already paying for some self-care so, I don’t think I would.”

Every college student knows that stress is inevitable. However, if a class could possibly ease the weight off your shoulders, why not try it out?