Back when UJ used to write for this blog, he added a tag for “happiness” because he wrote a number of posts about it. I regret to admit that, since UJ stopped his scrivening, it’s probably the least-used tag on the blog. In fact, this post is likely the first one with a happiness tag in months, if not years. I consider myself a happy person, but I just don’t write much it.
Apparently, Yale students also need help with happiness. This semester Yale is offering Psych 157, a course called “Psychology and the Good Life.” It tries to instruct students on how to be happier — and it has quickly become the most popular undergraduate course Yale has ever offered. 1,200 students, which is about 25 percent of the entire undergraduate student population, is taking the course. The professor posits that Yale students are flocking to take the course because “they had to deprioritize their happiness to gain admission to the school” and in the process adopted “harmful life habits.” If you read the article linked above, you’ll conclude that Yalies are a pretty sad, stressed bunch.
When I was going to college, lack of happiness and “deprioritizing” personal happiness and fulfillment was not a problem. If anything, Ohio State students of the ’70s tended to overprioritize their dedicated, incessant, deep-seated, Frodo Baggins-like quest for happiness. The notion that fresh-faced students, still possessing the bloom of youth and newly freed from the constant supervision and irksome rules of Mom and Dad, need to take a college class to learn how to be happier would have been totally alien to the undergrads of my era. And it’s really kind of depressing to think that, in any era, college students would need to sit in a lecture hall to get tips on how to be happier. College must have become a grim, hellish place indeed!
But this is where UJ comes in. He’s always got a happy grin on his face, a positive outlook, and a firm belief that “life is good.” Sure, he’s retired, but his youthful attitude should allow him to connect with the legions of sad, beleaguered, put-upon Yalies who just don’t know where to find happiness in their soulless, barren college lives.
Hey, UJ! Time to call that Psych 157 prof and offer a few pointers!