Introduction to Happiness

25 Nov

So, you may recall that I decided to take a class this quarter–even though I’m totally done with all my official OT pre-reqs and should, by rights, just enjoy the freedom that comes from that success. But, as I explained when I confessed my academic addiction to you:

How could I NOT take a class called “Happiness: Theory, Research, and Application in Positive Psychology“ — especially when the (alleged) “main” text for the course was touted as being Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning (which chronicles his experiences as a Concentration Camp inmate during WWII and describes his theory of logotherapy, which involves identifying, and immersing oneself in, a purpose in life that enables you to feel positive)?

Using the Holocaust (i.e., my job) to teach happiness? Damn, why didn’t *I* think of that?! Maybe I could purloin some ideas and develop yet another new career if the whole OT thing doesn’t work out (UPDATE ON THAT: Yesterday USC confirmed that it has received and processed all of my information and a decision may be forthcoming as soon as three weeks from now. Gulp).


The (alleged) part of that set-up is key. We are 9 weeks into the 12-week course and we have yet to touch the Frankl text. <sadface> Instead, we’ve read a veritable boat-load of PDFs from various psychology and science journals (43 and counting!) — all very, very interesting and generally elucidating, but man-alive, it’s been a LOT of work!

PLUS we are required to participate in weekly “discussion” groups at least 3x per week via the web. This activity requires a fair amount of thoughtful writing, and way more thinking than I’d like, mainly because it’s often quite hard to decipher just what my classmates mean with their less-than-clear prose. (SIDEBAR: You can’t imagine the joy, but also face-palming, it brings me when classmates respond to my submissions with statements like: “I think you absolutely nailed it Z” or “It seems like you could teach this class, Z.” Word! The “Plan-D” backup career is off to a good start!)

AND, thus far we’ve had to write 6 “reflection papers.” These are actually quite fun for me because, honestly, they’re almost like writing a blog post. I just have to bake-in a few references to the research/readings that we’ve tackled during a given week. No problem there. Still, these things take time. Blog posts don’t just magically manifest themselves, you know!

To sum up, the course has been W-A-Y more work than I planned for. In fact, this (alleged) course on Happiness reliably serves as the greatest source of angst in my life. Gah.

As we all know, however, I’m a champion of transforming angst into an advantage. My most recent reflection paper perfectly exemplifies that paradigm. It’s also closely aligned with the serious answer I shared with you earlier this week.

I want to wait until my professor has a chance to review/comment on it before I share it with you, but tune in later today (or maybe early tomorrow) to find out how I turned angst into advantage, and failure into fun, and suck into super.


6 Responses to “Introduction to Happiness”

  1. monochromejunkie December 15, 2014 at 5:12 pm #

    Hi. it’s great to meet you. :0) I stumbled upon your blog just now (from “out there somewhere”) and I too have been addicted to school. Ugh. I can’t stand it! I haven’t had an academic break in 4 & 1/2 years. My finals just ended this semester and I’ve sworn to myself that I’m taking 2 years down to work on my art and photography. (That’s yet to be seen.) I keep trying to take a year off but keep going back the following semester. It sucks. Completely. All of this psychology is melting my brain, I swear it is. Anyway, love your sense of humour and I think it’s great that you’ve been involved in Pro Bono work for Holocaust survivors. You rock. :0)

    • justadventures December 15, 2014 at 5:46 pm #

      Lovely to “meet” you! That Happiness class was actually sucking the life out of me, so I elected to take it on a “not for credit” basis, which means I don’t have to do any of the assignments (which had become increasingly nonsensical) to me and instead just enjoy interacting with the materials in my own way. This has turned out to be a great transition into the next ~6 months when I will be “just” road tripping around the U.S. without any real structure. I’ll still be an eager sponge for new knowledge, but I very much look forward to learning things at my own pace for the next few months. Maybe that can work for you, too, as you explore your art and photography? I wish you all the best with your journey!

      • monochromejunkie December 15, 2014 at 6:27 pm #

        Oh definitely. I’m saving up for a trip to Puerto Rico. ($200 per month until April.) Most people want to go there to shoot the beaches, etc. but the sociologist in me wants to go straight to the slums. 🙂 (Ok, and the rain forest…heheh.) Maybe you might consider documenting your travels. People love that sort of thing- female out alone “facing the world” on a solo trip. You know? If at any point in the future you want to compile a project, you’ll have the materials needed. Something tells me you already do. ;0)

        • justadventures December 15, 2014 at 6:31 pm #

          Yup, I’m right there with ya, sistah–both on the “let’s go to the heart of things” type of travel and on the “document and let’s see what happens” blog experience. Stay tuned!


  1. Happiness: Reflection on Novelty | JustAdventures - November 25, 2014

    […] So, my professor was able to review my Reflection Paper (referenced in this morning’s blog post) more quickly than anticipated! And her comments validate my instict that the paper is worth […]

  2. Happiness = Embracing the Suck | JustAdventures - November 26, 2014

    […] then told you that I’m taking class on Happiness that often makes me feel […]

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