Cool Classes: Pychology 2289: Students are Dying to Participate

By: Daniel Johnson, Staff Reporter | Photo By: Scott M. Roberts, Photojournalist

“Cool Classes” focuses on an interesting program or class at CNM. To nominate a class or program, send an email to jyllianchronicle@

Death and dying is something everybody will have to deal with in life so this class is one that students should think about taking, said full-time CHSS instruc­tor James Johnson.

Psychology 2289 – Death and Dying is a class that prepares students for handling death emotion­ally, physically, mentally and financially, he said.

“I have students plan their own funerals in detail. They have to write an obituary then decide if they want to be cremated or buried and they must calculate the cost of all this,” said Johnson. “We cover all aspects of death and dying from causes of death, genocide, homicide, vampire myth, and rituals that cel­ebrate death like Dia de los Muertos,” said Johnson.

One of the more inter­esting projects is to make a Dia de los Muertos mask for a small contest in the fall terms, he said.

“We cover the history of death masks and how the Day of the Dead is a festival in cel­ebration of those who have passed,” said Johnson

“When the students make the masks I encourage cre­ativity, since the masks will be judged by staff at Montoya campus and the winner receives a $25.00 gift card,” he said.

Psychology major Sidney Benta said she believes the masks are a fun project but it should not be too hard since she already has an idea of what she is going to make.

Business major Hillary Barrows said she is excited to make her mask which she has based on the movie “Pan’s Labyrinth” and hopes that she will win.

“I would like to win just so I can say that I had the best mask since I am into art,” she said.

Benta she took this class because a friend told her about it.

“It is an interesting class that I have learned a lot from and I am actually having fun learning about this kind of stuff,” she said.

Barrows said that she was actually dealing with death at the time she reg­istered for this term and thought the class might ben­efit her even though it is not in her area of study.

“The class is awesome. When you first hear about it, it sounds scary but it is actu­ally very, very interesting and pretty cool,” said Barrows

Johnson said students are nervous when they first come to class but in the end they are fascinated and enjoy the class.

“If you take this class you will die, but if you don’t you will still die,” said Johnson.

When students take the class, they learn about death across the world — from weird rituals of different cul­tures and how they deal with death to how to handle death at home, said Barrows.

Benta said that she would recommend this class to fellow students because it is intrigu­ing and very informative.

Johnson said, “Why not let a student experiment with his or her own death and rituals?”

“We all die someday, so why not be prepared?” he said

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