Happiness at College Prep
Freshmen share a laugh at break. Photography by Cady Kurtz-Miott ’18
If you go into any bookstore nowadays you will probably find a selection of books about one of life’s biggest mysteries: how to be happy. How happy are you? How happy do you think the College Prep community is? Does a positive attitude affect someone’s happiness? These are all questions that The Radar asked you, and now we’re revealing your answers.
58 % of you claimed that you generally considered yourselves happy people, 31% of you said that you sometimes considered yourselves happy people and 11% of you said you didn’t consider yourselves happy people.
That’s not too bad, but aren’t we always aiming for 100% happiness? The real question “What needs to change in order for you to reach a ten on the happiness scale?” The words “homework,” “work,” “pressure,” “tests,” “more time,” and “more sleep” were overwhelmingly abundant in response to this question. It’s pretty clear that our community feels overworked, so what can we do on campus to change that?
We asked for your opinions and many of you said you would like CPS to embrace a less stressful environment. It seems that many of us feel like CPS has the propensity to become too serious and that we would prefer to have more fun activities on campus. Some of you suggested that we start school later on Mondays, have more outdoor classes, tell more jokes at assembly, and here comes a popular one…have more FREE FOOD. There were also a few funny ideas like providing bacon at school, bringing in hammocks, and integrating golden retriever puppies into our community. Even though those last few might have been written as jokes, that kind of light-hearted mentality is what seems to be missing from our community at times.
Another way we might be able to raise happiness levels is to participate in more random acts of kindness and selflessness. In 2005, Sonja Lyubomirsky (professor at UC Riverside), Kennon M. Sheldon (professor at the University of Missouri—Columbia), and David Schkade (Professor at UC San Diego) conducted a study that asked: How can we not only attain, but also sustain happiness? One experiment they conducted involved two groups of subjects who were asked to perform five deliberate acts of kindness per week either all in one day, or spread over the course of a week. The subjects who performed all of their selfless acts over the course of a week received short-term increases in happiness levels, while people who performed all five acts in one day received long-term benefits. Either way, it was clear that helping someone other than yourself would inevitably raise your level of happiness. Simply opening the door for your teacher, picking up trash, or complimenting someone can really make a difference in your level of happiness.
All in all, we have the power to change our happiness levels. Working to incorporate more fun activities and making conscious efforts to serve others on campus can boost everyone’s level of happiness. The next time you’re feeling down, make a change, even if it’s a small one.
If you want to check out the study, here is the link: http://sonjalyubomirsky.com/wp-content/themes/sonjalyubomirsky/papers/LSS2005.pdf