Sonia Ruiz

Dear Fellow Yalies,

If you’re not enrolled in professor Laurie Santos’ 1,200-person therapy session, “Psychology and the Good Life,” you certainly know someone who is. The course is designed to provide students with “scientifically-validated strategies for becoming happier.” Yale’s administration responded quickly to this obvious cry for help from the student body, increasing funding and accessibility to mental health services. This, in Yale Administrationese, translates roughly to, “We will send you from Battell Chapel to Sheffield-Sterling-Strathcona Hall, where you are welcome to watch the exact same lecture on a projector.”

I’m here to tell you there’s an alternative.

My name is Herbert A. Reynolds. If you read my open letter to Ikea in WKND’s Jan. 26 issue, I regret to inform you that I didn’t get the sales associate position. Thankfully, I’ve moved on and applied for a job as a UUYGP (Unpaid, Unaffiliated Yale Guest Professor). Does this position officially exist? Technically, no. Am I still living with my mother until I can find a steady source of income? Maybe. Am I doing that thing where I ask myself questions to appear in control of an embarrassing situation? Honestly, fuck you for even suggesting that.

Anyway, enough about me — back to your class, “Psychology and the Good Life.” What does “the good life” mean anyway? This course title is more subjective than my mom when she says, “You’re using up all the Wi-Fi with Xbox Live, I need to fill out my TurboTax.”

Does “the good life” mean having healthy relationships? Does it mean eating well and exercising regularly? Does it mean NOT living in your mom’s basement with your three cats, 67 percent of which are still alive? There’s really no way of knowing.

Everyone on Yale’s campus must be wondering the same thing: Will Santos’ course be enough to address the issues revealed by its own popularity? Oh, I don’t know, will half a bottle of DayQuil be enough to save the life of one of your three cats who apparently contracted fungal pneumonia from sniffing around in the trash behind Toad’s? The answer is no, it will not be enough.

This brings me to my alternative solution. I have submitted a formal petition to the Yale Board of Trustees to teach my very own course, titled, “Psychology and the Okay Life.” The course will highlight specific, anecdotally-proven strategies to help you overcome the dark forces of the universe that infect your cats and destroy your dreams of working at Ikea, your favorite Swedish-founded furniture department store.

If you have any interest in my course, please read the following excerpt from the syllabus.

UNIT 1: Having Self-Confidence — Just because your mom tells you it’s time to move out doesn’t mean she’s right. “You’re 42,” she says. “You have no prospects, you’re always watching ‘American Ninja Warrior’ when I want the TV, and you’re slowly filling my house with taxidermied cats.” Don’t listen to her — just trust your instincts and believe in yourself.

UNIT 2: Practicing Decisiveness — Always pour the cereal before the milk. Or the milk before the cereal. It actually doesn’t matter. Just never pour both at the same time. Trust me, I’ve tried.

UNIT 3: Stepping out of your Comfort Zone — Are you a Pepsi drinker? Grab a Coke. Do you prefer cutting your sandwiches diagonally? Try horizontally. Do you usually cry yourself to sleep? Try crying yourself awake.

I think you’ll find that although the course was designed by one person (me, guest professor Herbert A. Reynolds) there’s something in “Psych and the Okay Life” for us all. If you’re interested in making this course a reality, message me on Xbox Live at XViking$layerX. My mom can probably give us a ride after work.


Herbert A. Reynolds