PSYC 20
Designing your Life and Career after Williams, as well as Mastering the Basics of Personal Finance Winter 2023

Class Details

This course takes a psychological approach to helping you determine what to do with your life. We start by reviewing your life story so far and determining how it has shaped you. We discuss, for example, whether you feel pressured to go down a certain road, whether you feel torn between your head and your heart, or whether you feel directionless. Then we take stock of who you really are now, including your core interests, tendencies, strengths, and weaknesses. We try to identify life designs that play to your signature strengths, as opposed to situations that are a setup for frustration and failure. The class encourages you to let go of comparing yourself to your peers, as different people need different things. You explore your underlying values and what you find most important in life. You consider the level of meaning you need in your work, as well as how much you care about money, status, fame, independence, connection, and creativity. The class introduces you to the concept of “flow,” the feeling you get when engaging in activities that provide ideal levels of challenge and mastery. By designing lives that promote flow states, you will be most likely to thrive and not merely succeed. Indeed, it is important not to design a life that appears successful but feels miserable. Your choice of a romantic partner can also have huge implications for the trajectory of your life. The class helps you to identify typical traps, such as staying with someone who is a bad match, and discusses how to make constructive relationship choices. Ultimately, as there are likely multiple valid life and career paths for you to take, you identify and develop three different plans that feel authentic and inspiring to you. As most students are concerned about the financial implications of their life choices, this course also introduces you to the basics of personal finance. You will learn that making smart financial choices early in your life leads to freedom and high net worth.
The Class: Format: lecture
Limit: 20
Expected: NA
Class#: 1257
Grading: pass/fail only
Requirements/Evaluation: 10-page paper
Prerequisites: None. Just a willingness to keep an open mind about your path.
Enrollment Preferences: Juniors and Seniors given preference.Email me ([email protected]) if you have a special reason you want to take it.
Unit Notes: Dr. Johnson received his B.A. from Williams College, his Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Yale University, and is a Clinical Associate Professor at Brown University. He has taught this Winter Study several times and deeply enjoys mentoring students.
Attributes: STUX Winter Study Student Exploration
WELL Winter Study Wellness

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