Christakis thinks the future might hold more courses like these, both for credit and not.
Relationships make us happy, and they can be a part of what we need to feel successful.
Erika Christakis, a lecturer at the Yale Child Study Center, is a former co-master at one of the student residence halls at Harvard.
She says that during her time there, students would repeatedly tell her that they didn't have time for relationships—a sentiment that was starkly different from her own college experience."That was such a different experience than my college experience," she told a crowd at the conference, which is organized jointly by The Atlantic and the Aspen Institute. It was considered part of being a newly adult person that you would try to get to know people in a more intimate way."The panelists each threw out their theories for the decline of college dating: Christakis thinks it's because college students these days are too focused on resume-building and career preparation.
(Always with the texting.) She points out that one new Boston College class assigns students to go out on dates—the coursework includes a discussion of "what words to say" when you'd like to ask someone out.
I asked one of the women if she thinks college classes on dating are a good idea."No.
One reason why today's college kids seem so lost when it comes to some of the basic functions of adulthood, they seemed to agree, was that their parents (meaning themselves) had held their hands a little too firmly throughout childhood.
For every problem there was a parent-teacher conference, for every closed door a string-pulling phone call.
If college students were better-equipped to start and maintain relationships, her thinking goes, they would feel more fulfilled in adulthood.
Leaving the session, I ran into a group of three moms of college-aged kids who were vociferously debating the panelists' points.