Ever wonder how you could be happy? Or. what makes us happy? Positive psychology is more than just the study of happiness; it is the study of what is right in life and what makes our lives worth living. I took Positive Psych this past fall semester; I thought it would be an elective I could take and an easy 8 a.m. to get through. This class exceeded all of my expectations; it was so much more than just positivity. Gratitude, optimism, and character strengths are all topics addressed throughout the semester, along with assignments that better grasp the lecture. The semester concludes with “P1” project, which is going out into the world (or the West Chester Borough) and applying these lessons. You may have noticed fellow peers giving out hugs, handing out candy with inspirational quotes on them, or entertaining puppies in the academic quad, or even covering campus bathrooms and hallways with post-it notes reminding you to have a great day. These are all products of P1 done with the genuine intention of brightening someone’s day because “other people matter.”
This semester it was no question as to which senior seminar class I was going to take. Applied positive psychology is a course devoted to putting into action all the of the lectures that were presented. The assignments were relatively familiar but with some adjustment. The semester project for the class was to raise money for a fundraiser of our choosing. There we were 20 acquaintances with five months until graduation, all trying to make it through one last semester. We agreed on the charity, “For Pete’s Sake,” a non-profit organization that assists adult cancer patients and their loved ones, allowing them to take a break from their illness and enjoy a weeklong expense-paid vacation. The question was then presented, how could we make a difference?
Twenty strangers came together and created something much bigger than just a school assignment. We created a fundraising event that will take place at Alibis to support these families, on April 5 beginning at 2 p.m. A ticket includes open bar and food until 5 p.m. with raffle prizes, entertainment provided by a DJ, and side games with more opportunities to donate. All are invited to purchase tickets in Sykes Student Union.
This project began as a small assignment written on a syllabus; however, 20 people, people who never really knew one another from the start, came together and created this amazing event. No matter how much or how little money is raised, this event will greatly impact someone’s life. We were enlightened, shown, and taught that other people matter. Our happiness depends not only on ourselves but is reflective of the happiness of those around us. Both of the positive psychology courses I have taken have made a huge impact in my life, but more importantly the results of these courses have helped make a difference in other people’s lives. In the words of Ghandi, “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”
Angelica Russet is a fourth-year student majoring in psychology. She can be reached at AR747812@wcupa.edu.