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One of many students’ favorite classes has to be Human Development and Family Studies. This class is taught by an amazing professor, Molly. She’s the only one that teaches this introductory course, so it’s a rather large classroom. Although that becomes cumbersome, it’s an ideal class for any major. Whether one is majoring in psychology, kinesiology, finance, or English, HD FS should have a spot in one’s schedule! Everyone is going to develop and have a relationship with someone at some point in their life, so this course is definitely a must. 

1. Lifespan Development

The class is named Human Development for a reason! The very first concept taught is lifespan development, which is also ingrained into one’s brain with every concept that follows. Many people don’t believe that our earliest encounters could influence us later in life, but they do. There are many security and attachment theories that happen to us when we are infants that later affect our relationships and how we raise our own kids! Our development originates from before we’re even born, all the way through to our deaths.

2. Erik Erikson

Erik Erikson was a well-known developmental psychologist who studied different “stages” that we face throughout our lifetime. Each stage has a good and a bad that conflict each other, and this determines where we end up with the next stage. They’re each given a certain amount of time, determined by how long it really takes us to complete each stage. Erik Erikson was a very intelligent man whose theories are still being taught frequently today.

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3. Attachment Styles

One of Erikson’s first “crises” was Trust vs. Mistrust. This is where we see the attachment styles come into play. There are four main attachment styles taught in this class: Secure, Insecure Avoidant, Insecure Ambivalent, Disorganized. These different categories are determined by how parents interact with their infants. Good for parents in the US,  around 30% or so are securely attached. Although that doesn’t sound like a lot, it means that the other three categories aren’t as high. Have you ever wondered what your attachment style is?

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4. Family and Divorce

The second part of HDFS is Family Studies. There is an entire section that Molly teaches about families and divorce. She talks of John Gottman’s Horsemen for Divorce and how divorce affects children. We have talked about many different reasons why children affect divorce so much and why partners end up so unhappy. This class gives great insight into your own family dynamics and life.

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5. Death and Dying

This is the most interesting lecture. Molly had her mom come in, who is also an HDFS teacher, and teach us. She’s currently 71 years old and has cancer, so she’s reached Erikson’s ending stage. She has a lot of great points that she brings to the classroom as well as really touching stories about her and Molly. Nobody would regret attending this. It’s interesting and we get to hear it from someone who is currently living through it.

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HDFS is an amazing course and the professor is even more amazing. Penn State really picked the best when they offered her the job! But, really, this is one class that is recommended to anyone of any major to take. It’s fun, interesting, and something that everyone will need at some point in their life!


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Beca Kelly


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