Yale's most popular class ever is all about happiness — and you can take it for free.

When I think of classes at Yale University, I imagine things like organic chemistry and 19th-century literature. I don’t picture Happiness 101.

As it turns out, the class Psychology and the Good Life, colloquially dubbed Happiness 101, is Yale’s most popular course offering — ever. Approximately 1 in 4 undergrads enrolled in the class for spring semester. That’s nearly 1,200 students — the largest enrollment reported for a single class in Yale’s 317-year history.

Spring on the Yale campus. Photo via Christopher Capozzielo/Getty Images.


Psychology professor Laurie Santos offers the twice-weekly lecture to teach students how to live more fulfilling, satisfying lives. The class focuses on positive psychology, exploring the characteristics that help people flourish. It also taps into behavior — the habits and actions that lead to real happiness.

Students take quizzes on all of this, including a midterm exam. As a final assessment, they have to complete a self-improvement project, that Santos refers to as a “Hack Yo’Self Project.”

It may sound simple, and some students undoubtedly take the class because they think it’ll be easy credits. But according to The New York Times, Santos calls her course the “hardest class at Yale.” Success in the class means a real life change in habits, which requires a great deal of personal accountability, she says.

Santos even encourages students to take the class as a pass-fail to avoid the tendency to place too much importance on grades, which she says is not conducive to happiness.

Students at prestigious schools often put their personal happiness on hold. Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images.

College students report struggling with mental health at unprecedented rates.

One might assume that kids in the prime of their lives, who've been accepted into one of the world’s most prestigious colleges wouldn’t struggle so much with happiness. But Santos says many driven, successful students put their personal happiness on hold, often adopting habits that are detrimental to their mental well-being in the long run.

College students in general are reporting record levels of anxiety and depression. And a 2013 report from the Yale College Council found that half of undergraduate students at Yale seek help with mental health.

Those numbers are actually good, if you ask me. Far too many people suffer in silence, so I'm happy to see that students at Yale aren’t afraid to ask for help.  

Photo via Maddie Meyer/Getty Images.

The popularity of a college class on happiness speaks to a larger quest most of us find ourselves on at some point.

It’s the eternal human question, isn’t it? How do we live a happy and fulfilled life? For decades, self-help gurus have written book after book about the subject, but somehow a class at Yale feels way more legit, doesn’t it? We’re talking actual scientific research and evidence-based recommendations.

I mean, if Yale can’t teach us to be happy, who can? (Harvard, maybe... )

The best news is that we can all access this course online — for free. The course is called "The Science of Well-Being" on Coursera, which anyone with internet can access. Here’s a description of the course:

“The purpose of the course is to not only learn what psychological research says about what makes us happy but also to put those strategies into practice. The first half of the course reveals misconceptions we have about happiness and the annoying features of the mind that lead us to think the way we do. The second half of the course focuses on activities that have been proven to increase happiness along with strategies to build better habits.”

Photo via Christopher Furlong/Getty Images.

The free Coursera option does not include all class assignments and materials, but you can access the lectures. And there is an option to pay for the full class and earn a certificate if you wish.

Bottom line: Yale is offering the scientific keys to happiness for free. What a time to be alive.

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Macy's and Girls Inc. believe that all girls deserve to be safe, supported, and valued. However, racial disparities continue to exist for young people when it comes to education levels, employment, and opportunities for growth. Add to that the gender divide, and it's clear to see why it's important for girls of color to have access to mentors who can equip them with the tools needed to navigate gender, economic, and social barriers.

Anissa Rivera is one of those mentors. Rivera is a recent Program Manager at the Long Island affiliate of Girls Inc., a nonprofit focusing on the holistic development of girls ages 5-18. The goal of the organization is to provide a safe space for girls to develop long-lasting mentoring relationships and build the skills, knowledge, and attitudes to thrive now and as adults.

Rivera spent years of her career working within the themes of self and community empowerment with young people — encouraging them to tap into their full potential. Her passion for youth development and female empowerment eventually led her to Girls Inc., where she served as an agent of positive change helping to inspire all girls to be strong, smart, and bold.

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Inspiring young women from all backgrounds is why Macy's has continued to partner with Girls Inc. for the second year in a row. The partnership will support mentoring programming that offers girls career readiness, college preparation, financial literacy, and more. Last year, Macy's raised over $1.3M for Girls Inc. in support of this program along with their Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) programming for more than 26,000 girls. Studies show that girls who participated are more likely than their peers to enjoy math and science, score higher on standardized math tests, and be more equipped for college and campus life.

Thanks to mentors like Rivera, girls across the country have the tools they need to excel in school and the confidence to change the world. With your help, we can give even more girls the opportunity to rise up. Throughout September 2021, customers can round up their in-store purchases or donate online to support Girls Inc. at Macys.com/MacysGives.

Who runs the world? Girls!

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In the Pacific Northwest, orca sightings are a fairly common occurrence. Still, tourists and locals alike marvel when a pod of "sea pandas" swim by, whipping out their phones to capture some of nature's most beautiful and intelligent creatures in their natural habitat.

While orcas aren't a threat to humans, there's a reason they're called "killer whales." To their prey, which includes just about everything that swims except humans, they are terrifying apex predators who hunt in packs and will even coordinate to attack whales several times their own size.

So if you're a human alone on a little platform boat, and a sea lion that a group of orcas was eyeing for lunch jumps onto your boat, you might feel a little wary. Especially when those orcas don't just swim on by, but surround you head-on.

Watch exactly that scenario play out (language warning, if you've got wee ones you don't want f-bombed):

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Did you know that girls who are encouraged to discover and develop their strengths tend to be more likely to achieve their goals? It's true. The question, however, is how to encourage girls to develop self-confidence and grow up healthy, educated, and independent.

The answer lies in Girls Inc., a national nonprofit serving girls ages 5-18 in more than 350 cities across North America. Since first forming in 1864 to serve girls and young women who were experiencing upheaval in the aftermath of the Civil War, they've been on a mission to inspire girls to kick butt and step into leadership roles — today and in the future.

This is why Macy's has committed to partnering with Girls Inc. and making it easy to support their mission. In a national campaign running throughout September 2021, customers can round up their in-store purchases to the nearest dollar or donate online to support Girls Inc. and empower girls throughout the country.


Kaylin St. Victor, a senior at Brentwood High School in New York, is one of those girls. She became involved in the Long Island affiliate of Girls Inc. when she was in 9th grade, quickly becoming a role model for her peers.

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Within her first year in the organization, she bravely took on speaking opportunities and participated in several summer programs focused on advocacy, leadership, and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). "The women that I met each have a story that inspires me to become a better person than I was yesterday," said St. Victor. She credits her time at Girls Inc. with making her stronger and more comfortable in her own skin — confidence that directly translates to high achievement in education and the workforce.

In 2020, Macy's helped raise $1.3 million in support of their STEM and college and career readiness programming for more than 26,000 girls. In fact, according to a recent study, Girls Inc. girls are significantly more likely than their peers to enjoy math and science, to be interested in STEM careers, and to perform better on standardized math tests.

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