Forum: Good lecturers, relationships add to happier undergraduate life

National University of Singapore (NUS) senior lecturer in the Department of Economics Georgios Georgiou gave two possible reasons for his discovery that undergraduates' happiness level is lower than the Singapore population average (Undergrads and the 3am e-mail, June 17).

The first reason, he thought, could be that university education comes with elevated responsibilities.

The second reason could be that undergraduates simply have higher expectations about life in general and so report lower happiness levels.

I graduated from NUS more than 30 years ago, yet I still count my undergraduate days as some of the happiest in my life.

One of my greatest joys was attending a lecture being taught by a faculty member who was able to inspire, to bring the subject to life and not just focus on covering the syllabus.

When this is missing, we fail to find meaning in our studies, a key ingredient for happiness.

Another of my greatest joys during my undergraduate days was the relationships established through interactions in the hostel, sports and extracurricular activities.

And when the faculty designs a course curriculum that leaves little time for students to build relationships, another ingredient for happiness is missing.

The latest world university rankings by Quacquarelli Symonds continues to cement NUS' position as Asia's top university as it is ranked 11th in the world (NUS, NTU named best unis in Asia in global ranking, June 10).

It is curious that among the six evaluation indicators, teaching quality of the faculty is not one of them, and neither is undergraduates' happiness.

Liu Fook Thim

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