Living 101 Student Testimonials
See what graduates from Living 101 have to say about the course.
“Thank you so much for a life changing quarter, and I can’t wait to come back to 102!!” ~ C. Grigorian, Ph.D. Candidate, Chemical Engineering and Materials Sciences, 2020
“I loved this class. Valerie Sheppard is a professor everyone at UCI should have at least once. Her positivity and outlook on life are contagious. I learned so much from this class that I wouldn’t have been able to learn anywhere else. This class should be a requirement for freshmen, not even kidding bro. If you need a more positive outlook on life you need to take this class. If you need 1.3 units to graduate on time you need to take this class. If you’re taking 21 units already and you can’t fit another class in your schedule…you need to take this class.” ~ K. Solano, Sociology, 2019
“I honestly took this class to better myself. Every time after class, I feel more refreshed, positive, and good about myself. I go home on the weekends and share what I have learned from this class with my sister because I feel like it’s something she would enjoy hearing and learning about. Thank you for teaching this course that helped me open up more and be true to myself.” ~ E. Heng, Behavioral Psychology, 2018
“Sometimes, we know within that we need to change something in our lives to be happier but we’re scared to do it by ourselves. Living 101 would definitely be the strength to push you forward in order to face your fears.” ~ J. Almodovar, Psychology and Social Behavior, 2021
“Thank you for putting so much effort your Living 101 class, and using your light to improve the quality of student life on campus. Even though we didn’t talk much personally, you forced me to take a good hard look at myself and really think about how certain mindsets and actions were holding me down. With your encouragement, I’m finally feeling like I’m taking active steps to be the best version of myself, something I haven’t felt in a long time. I hope to find time to take Living 102 and I hope your classes continue to expand.” ~ D. Mak, B.S. Computer Science, 2019
“When I enrolled for Living 101, I took the class for the extra units. After the first day of class, I knew that it wasn’t like any other class I’ve taken at UC Irvine. In fact, it was an eye-opening and life-changing experience! You have taught me to be more aware of my body and realize my self-worth. Not only did this class help me grow as a person, I learned to take charge of my life and my health to be the happy and whole person that I am! Thank you so much for teaching such valuable lessons that will help me throughout my college life and beyond!” ~ K. Castillo, Business Administration, 2020
“I thoroughly enjoyed Living 101!!! What an awesome class, learning experience, group dynamic and spiritual exploration. Thank you for a great journey, and I look forward to enrolling in Living 102.” ~ L. Scott, Drama 2018
“Thank you for an amazing life changing quarter.” ~ R. Campos, Social Ecology and Criminology, Law, and Society, 2018.
“I have held off taking Living 101 for one reason or another for most of my college years, and just as well, I could have survived this past quarter without registering for the umpteenth time. HOWEVER, I don’t regret for a minute that I took this class because I got to learn so much about myself in the safe, loving, accepting environment of my peers and Valerie. College is what you make of it, and I made it with Being Happy and Whole!” ~ J. Peng, Business Administration 2018
“Professor Sheppard’s Living 101 class was the turning point of my life. She combines her passion for self-awareness with her professional, down-to-earth manner to inspire and motivate students to truly become the best versions of themselves. She will bring focus to the areas of your life where you know you need to change and grow. Each week, her pivotal lessons will force you to dig deeper and make positive changes you desire. I can confidently say that she has blessed me both personally and professionally. I recommend this class to anyone who is ready to finally take control of their own lives and create the life they wanted. I will be enrolling again in her next course, and look forward to it. Take advantage!” ~ J. Ahn, Business Economics, 2017
“I think all persons of all ages should take Living 101 because it is a well-rounded class that teaches a person about themselves. The course has made me a conscious person of who I am, my actions, and my words. In the past, I have always thought to put others before me but never thought to take care of myself. Now, I can honestly tell someone my thoughts and feelings without feeling like I will hurt the other party. I can put myself first for once. Living 101 is a great course because it is a teaching on our life. It opens up spirituality for everyone or anyone, it is not about religion but the focus of our true self with the Universe. If you truly want to take care of yourself, this is a great class to take.” ~ L. Lee, Psychology and Social Behavior, 2016
“I think everyone is on a journey into discovering his/her true self. For me, Professor Sheppard’s Living 101 class has been a stimulating contribution to my personal research. I had the chance to take away many useful suggestions and tips that I can apply in everyday situations to understand and make the most of everything that happens to me, both good or bad. I was challenged with questions and doubts I never had the courage to ask myself. While it’s easy to see the light when everything is bright, it is much more difficult to keep a positive attitude during the darkest time. This class will help you foster the positivity that’s already inside you. This reason alone is enough for me to say that 10/10 I would take it again.” ~ L. Signoretti, Business Administration, 2016
“This class is for sure one of the most valuable classes I’ve taken in college!” ~ A. Nguyen, Business Information Mgmt., 2016
“If you like stimulating discussions, Living 101 is definitely for you! This course will empower you to improve every facet of your life through understanding yourself and others on a deeper level. Professor Sheppard’s vibrant energy and open mind will keep you engaged and excited to participate in class.” ~ Z. Kidane, Public Health Policy, 2016
“In the spring quarter of my fourth year at UCI, I showed up to Professor Sheppard’s Living 101 class with the intention to support her, because she had spent time with our fraternity members the winter before, and I thought she did wonderful, empowering work. As soon as Professor Sheppard began going over the syllabus and explained to us what we could expect to learn, she grabbed my attention. She spoke about teaching self-love, self-acceptance, and self-awareness. These were all aspects of my life that needed improving. I did not know it at the time, but I was leading myself down a path guided by fear and uncertainty. So much so, I did not fully recognize or understand what I was doing or how I was holding myself back.
The teachings I would learn over the course of the quarter would change me, slowly but surely. I began to embody the principles and received a lot of positive results almost instantly. By the time presentations of our final projects came around, I had three separate experiences that demonstrated how I had applied the teachings and the resulting improvements they made in my life. I am and will be forever thankful for the numerous lessons I learned about myself and others through this class, and I cannot emphasize my respect for Professor Sheppard’s style of teaching enough. She not only engages and challenges us, but she is a prime example of embodiment of her own work, and the consistency between her actions and words makes her and her mission to help students trustworthy, genuine, and unique. The opportunity to take a class that focuses on this type of individual development is rare. Even more rare, is the opportunity to engage with a UCI faculty member that is so willing to help you become the best version of you that you can be. She is truly an inspiration and gift to the UCI community.
I read something once that said “You are all here, in college, because you have a little bit of ‘I want to save the world” in you. I want to let you know that, it’s okay if you only save one person, and it’s okay if that person is you.” Because of Living 101, I gained insight and confidence in my journey. I have a greater sense of peace in my own mission and purpose, and while some days I only have the capacity to save myself, I know as long as I keep living to be closer to my true, authentic self, I will rise to the occasion and help others do the same. I hope my story helps you to move, as that first class helped me, because all it takes to begin is to give yourself the chance you deserve.” ~ M. Stevenson, Education and Behavioral Psychology, 2016
“I found Professor Sheppard’s Living 101 course to be the only class on campus to actively challenge students to improve their lives. There are many stresses that come with being a university student, and it’s easy to get caught up with everything and forget self-care. Living 101 and Professor Sheppard helped me take a step back from my busy schedule to identify and delve into habits that were causing me unhealthy stress and unhappiness. After looking into these issues through readings and class reflections, the class helped me set up a concrete plan to address what was making me unhappy. These improvements not only helped me personally, but I saw better performance in my life academically and careerwise too. Professor Sheppard helped me realize how these habits weren’t just affecting certain aspects, but rather that they permeate my whole life. It’s not very often that students can connect with a well-meaning and driven professor in a class with matching eye-opening and introspective curriculum. Take advantage!” ~ R. Leung, Biological Sciences, 2016