Image 01 Image 03

Lawrence University Launches Course on ‘Doing Nothing’

Lawrence University Launches Course on ‘Doing Nothing’

“It counts for one-sixth of a normal class, is graded as either pass or fail and meets for only one hour once a week.”

Since when do college students need a course to teach them how to do nothing?

The Post Crescent reports:

This new Lawrence University course was designed to help students intentionally slow down. Thanks to Twitter, it’s become national news.

Year after year, Constance Kassor and her colleagues at Lawrence University have been noticing students seem to be more stressed and under more pressure.

They exude an anxiety that they are wasting time if they aren’t being productive.

And when they get a minute of free time, Kassor, an associate professor of religious studies, said she notices students will often spend it scrolling through their phones.

What Kassor and her colleagues see among their students isn’t unique to Lawrence. Research shows that a majority of college students during the 2020-21 school year met the criteria for at least one mental health problem, according to the American Psychological Association.

So they asked themselves: How can we get students to be intentional about taking “down time”? How can we get them to reflect on who they are, what they need?

They thought about crafting a contemplative studies minor. But that would just be one more thing for students to add to their transcripts and pile on to their already ambitious lists of undertakings.

Instead, they developed a single course for students to take called “Doing Nothing.” It counts for one-sixth of a normal class, is graded as either pass or fail and meets for only one hour once a week.


Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.


My guess is that the students are waking up gradually to the reality that their time/effort/money invested at this college is not going to help them reach their life goals.

But no one at the school will ever acknowledge that reality.

Sadly, imho this is playing out every day at every college all over America.

– – –

Gently, respectfully … people need to wake up.

We do not have to attend these colleges.

We do not have to send our children to these places.

    Dimsdale in reply to JVJ1975. | October 18, 2022 at 6:24 pm

    Maybe they should make the “classroom” look like your mom’s basement, complete with fold out couch and video games…

    healthguyfsu in reply to JVJ1975. | October 19, 2022 at 12:19 pm

    That’s actually not true if they are productive and in STEM.

    The problem today is that a large proportion are “fake busy”. They are busy with a lot of non-productive distractions in addition to social “obligations”. Social media, tik tok, etc. are integrated into their daily routines so much that they don’t see them as expendable when responsibility should dictate higher priorities.

      JVJ1975 in reply to healthguyfsu. | October 19, 2022 at 6:18 pm

      So… given that the vast majority of college students are not STEM majors, it seems we agree:

      For most Americans in the 18-22 age range there are much better ways to use one’s time and money than to enroll at an American 4-yr college.


“students seem to be more stressed and under more pressure”

They are not. They’re just worse at dealing with it than they used to be. What are you going to do about that?

    healthguyfsu in reply to irv. | October 19, 2022 at 12:20 pm

    So far, the answer seems to be lower the bar, but that just makes the breaking point threshold that much lower.

Father Guido Sarducci | October 18, 2022 at 2:01 pm

When I first proposed my FIVE-MINUTE UNIVERSITY, it was comedy.

It was never intended as a blueprint for future use by self/important grifters exploiting teenagers and their families who don’t know any better.

Serious question: How do these “educators” and “administrators” look at themselves in the mirror each day?

Does anyone really take these people seriously?

Does anyone take a degree from this place seriously?

—- Father Guido Sarducci (with apologies if I’m violating any I.P. statutes. Confession: I’m not a cleric, and my real name is not Guido Sarducci)

    “Does anyone take a degree from this place seriously?”
    The school has had a very good reputation for a long time.
    Unfortunately, it has been slowly going “woke” for the last few decades.

But this is an American tradition (especially for hipsters of all generations)
Meditation. Spiritual retreats. Day spas (not that I’ve ever been). The basement round-table in That ’70s Show.. Hank Hill’s “A-Yup Alley.” Fishin’.
Furthermore, it is an American tradition to make the participant pay through the nose for many of these “opportunities,” at least the trendy ones.

It ties in well for our national mania of wasting calories on stationary gym equipment instead of stacking the neighbor widow’s hay bales or hauling lumber around a Habitats project. And instead of harnessing all that energy to, say, power the smoothie machine in the lobby, the gym just lets it escape as heat, which they pay additional to disperse with air conditioning.

Rock on, Lawrence. Soak those idiots.

Money well spent, isn’t it?

“Whatcha doin?”

“I thought you did that yesterday.”
“Didn’t finish.”

The majority of college students in 2020-2021 meet the standard for at least one mental health diagnosis. IMHO they are not going to survive in the real world.

Back in the day, I earned a bachelor’s with a double major while carrying a full course load, extracurricular activities, and ROTC (cum laude).

All without basket weaving 101.

    healthguyfsu in reply to ColBill. | October 19, 2022 at 12:22 pm

    You weren’t raised in a world of social media and internet pinball. These people are severely damaged and stunted in growth. Only some see it and fewer still want anything done about it.

Instead of signing up for a “do nothing” class, why not do what students have done for many years: sign up for fewer classes or make one of them a “gut” class? When I was working on my degree, there were STEM classes which were known to be particularly tough–organic chem, physical chem, adv. quantum, diff eq. Students whose major forced them to take two of those classes in the same semester would sometimes choose an “easy A” class, such as education or music appreciation.

Finally a course I’d be able to pass.