Yale University is a prestigious Ivy League school. And to attend this university, young students work long and hard hours, often to the point of feeling stressed, anxious, worried and unhappy. And maybe that’s why a brand new course on happiness is Yale’s most popular class in its 300+ year history.
Psyc 157, or “Psychology and the Good Life”, is a new course taught by Yale psychology professor, Laurie Santos. The record-high enrollment (1,182 undergraduate students) forced the class to move to the Woolsey Hall in order to accommodate the entire class.
What does “Psychology and the Good Life” focus on? According to Dr. Santos, the twice-a-week class covers positive psychology and behavioral change. And Santos believes so many students are interested in her course because they’re interested in changing their lives and becoming happier.
This may be true considering that the Yale College Council published a report in 2013, stating that over 50 percent of undergraduates seek mental health care during their studies there.
However, the course requirements are pretty light (quizzes, a midterm exam and a self-improvement project). And some fear that students aren’t looking to improve their lives, as much as they’re looking for an easy way to earn credits.
But Santos isn’t worried. In fact, she believes her course on happiness is the “hardest class at Yale”, not because of it’s content and homework, but because to really learn something from this class, each student must change their habits and change their lifestyle.
And to drive her point home, Santo’s course is a pass or fail class. She chose this approach because she wants students to realize that true happiness and personal satisfaction don’t come from outside achievements, like high grades and lucrative careers.