Staff Editorial: Are Irvine students happy?

Irvine has multiple factors that make it a seemingly happy place to live. It often attracts many foreigners who wish to settle and provide their children with great public school education. Although living in Irvine can be more expensive than its neighboring cities, the high quality of life and safety standards make the extra cost worthwhile.  

Aristotle once said that “happiness depends upon ourselves,” this somewhat cliched quote still holds an essential truth. All elements of happiness depend upon the individual. From the definition to how it is experienced, we define happiness for ourselves.

According to CBS Los Angeles, Irvine was ranked as the third happiest cities in the United States. WalletHub, a finance website, gathered data regarding  “emotional and physical well-being, income and employment, and community and environment.” However, the question is, does the data gathered by the survey host really represent the level of happiness of individuals residing in the community? The answer is no. The abstract qualities of happiness make it impossible to reliably evaluate in this manner.

Happiness is inherently subjective. The survey fails to recognize the fact that a high standard of living does not guarantee happiness.

Firstly, is it unclear who the survey takers are and how many participated. The age groups of people taking the survey can impact the true results of survey as well. Each generation has variation in what they want out of life, additionally age affects results because of the breadth of experience older people have and how it impacts their expectations. Young people notoriously lack perspective and that is seen everyday across campus.

As high school students, we face challenges or failures everyday that impact our happiness. Even walking down the hallway, one can always hear other students talking about bad test or the pressure to gain acceptance at a highly ranked school. While the wealth in Irvine may raise our standard of living it also creates a stressful and competition-driven environment.  

Since each and every  person is unique and has different perceptions of achieving success, his or her definition of happiness also varies.

Furthermore, according to USNews, “Happiness is too vague to be defined accurately enough to measure, too subjective and qualitative to be measured in terms of a numerical scale, and too ethically complex to be put into practice without extensive political discussions.” The term, happiness, is too subjective and has different meanings to everyone.  While one may view and consider a short-term activity such a buying a new car as happiness, others may consider long-term achievements such as college or marriage as happiness.

At times, happiness can be specific to one person. However, measurement of happiness for a group of people would inevitably be misleading, considering numbers of different characteristics that individuals possess. Happiness lies with one person, not a city. If Irvine is happy it is because of who lives here, not what we live by.