The School Of Life
Self-help, philosophy classes and emotional intelligence don't sound like a barrel of laughs, but that's what makes The School of Life so interesting.
Part cafe, part curriculum, it's the only place in Melbourne you can pick up a flat white, a book on Kierkegaard, and 'How To Be Sociable' classes in the one place.
You'll find this place on Bourke St, near Southern Cross. They run evening classes (perfect for after-work) or full-day workshops. These's either 'core' courses, which run all the time, or special events with international guests.
So where did this thing come from? Popular philosopher and author, Alain De Botton, came up with the concept for TSOL in 2008. It's now got branches worldwide, including London, Amsterdam, Istanbul, Sao Paulo, Paris, Seoul and Tel Aviv. Melbourne's our fave, obviously.
So, the courses. This is where it gets cool. You can rock up with a friend or brave the class alone (with a little help from wine and cheese beforehand, of course). We actually recommend going solo. It's easy to open up here, and the 'safe space' mentality is pushed throughout all the classes.
Among their 'core' classes is 'The Meaning of Life'. We went along and checked it out, and it was actually a lot of fun. The main message is that the meaning of life is a mash of all your experiences. Learning to actually churn through the motions, rather than focusing on 'being happy' all the time, is the key. Very un-self-help, eh?
If you want to learn to converse and get on with people, they have classes for that too. They used to be called 'How To Have Better Conversations', but now you can pick up How To Be Sociable (good for introverts—represent), which teaches you how to talk to people you have nothing in common with. Useful if you're like us—always with our foot in our mouths. They also run How To Be Confident, How To Make Your Love Last and How To Be Serene.
We might have signed up to all of those...
The School of Life runs classes weekly. For more deets, you can check out their website here.
Image credit: School Of Life