So, at the end of last semester, I signed up for a class called ‘the pursuit of happiness.’ Actually, at the end of last semester, I signed up for a class called ‘theories of learning.’ It appears no one else thought learning theories were interesting because the class was cancelled due to low enrollment.

A week before classes were to begin, I was notified of the cancellation and had to scramble to fill in the time slot. Since I’d never taken a philosophy course, I figured the happiness class might not be awful. I mean it was a class on happiness, how bad could it really be?

Well, week one came and went and while I was quite hesitant, I did keep the class, thanks to an email from Richard who told me to keep at it and that the class would be worthwhile. The second week I remember sitting in the room, wondering why I kept punishing myself so. I kept thinking the professor was a little out there and didn’t hold on to any strong beliefs or positions of his own. But I didn’t drop the class. I wouldn’t.

Over the next few months, my happiness class was the source of a variety of posts. It seems week after week, the class made me think. It made me think about myself, about life, about my choices, about the whys and hows and why nots. Two of us in the class got engaged and our most vocal classmate stopped showing up, thus allowing the class to cover the full material. One of my classmates showed me how to knit a pattern and how to hide the small pieces of yarn sticking out on the edges. Another classmate asked me algebra advice for his son. The teacher told us how he’s been struggling with learning to brush his teeth at night.

Yesterday was our final class. The woman who helped me with my knitting said she wanted to make an announcement. She said that before the class she’s been struggling with personal problems. She’d had cancer and hadn’t been able to get back to her sculpture. She said she explained her frustration to the professor and he said he’d call her every morning for a week. On day two, she’d already organized her life around and now she has a huge piece that’s on display on the West Side of Manhattan.

It is then that I realized the horrors of judging. In my frustration and underestimation of the class, I had misjudged what was an amazing and kind human being. Even if he wasn’t the most organized professor, he helped each of us in his own way and I think that’s so much more precious than any well constructed instruction.

It also taught me the importance not underestimating. Not locking into the few words that someone utters and use those to judge him or her. As much as I’d like to say I don’t do that, this class showed me that I do. I made me look into my conscience and see the rotten portions.

Talk about a worthwhile class. Thank you, Richard.

Previously? Karma.

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