Fortunately, I’m only auditing the course. That means I don’t have to do the assignments or take the tests. It also means I don’t get any CEUs, much less college credit, for taking the course. I don’t mind because, really, I don’t need the grief or the deadlines.
The course is called “Fixing Your Life for Fun and Profit.”
All of us are shunted through the course because it’s part of our general education requirements. Compared to grad school where grades lower than As and Bs don’t count, you can skate through the GE courses with a C average.
According to the syllabus, the criterion objectives include: (a) the student will learn how to write affirmations that speak of a better life than s/he had at the beginning of the course, and (b) how to write New Year’s resolutions that, while powerless, impress all who hear them.
Do you see the flaw in the course?
Resolutions and other affirmations don’t accomplish diddly squat unless those who write them or say them or proclaim actually want to change. So there it is. If they wanted to change, they would have done it already–no need to write it down as an action step.
Since I like pulling people’s chains, I usually say that my New Year’s resolutions include “Killing fewer people than last year” and “Fighting the urge to throw fools under the bus.” If I say this in “real life,” there’s a lot of silence in the room. If I say this online, I get a lot of laughing smiley faces like the whole thing’s a joke.
Do you notice that when people post heartfelt resolutions on Facebook and in their blogs that they do so with an expectation of praise? You know, like they’ve already accomplished something? Studies show that most New Year’s resolutions are broken or forgotten before February.
Of course they are because they’re all for show and/or for a passing grade in the smoke-and-mirrors “Fixing Your Life for Fun and Profit” course. It’s all snake oil and very expensive. Like patent medicine, it cures everything from gout to malice to bad breath.
Every once in awhile, placebos cure people. Perhaps January 1 is your day, but I wouldn’t bet the farm on it.
Malcolm R. Campbell is the author of the satirical mystery “Special Investigative Reporter.”