Hi all, I have just taken a sample test at Princeton Review and this is my attempt for the 45-minute analytical writing task.
Prompt: "Only once one has known real sadness can one feel true happiness"
What can make us happy? Being rich? Having a good family? Or a decent job with good pay? These are all possible answers, and the common thing is that these are all our wants. We are happy because we feel satisfied when these wants are being fulfilled. Nonetheless, human beings are always hungry for more; we simply cannot fulfill every single wish. The key to true happiness is to be satisfied with what one already has.
There is one old saying that only once one has known real sadness can one feel true happiness. In my opinion, this is only partially correct. It is true that after feeling real sadness, one can feel true happiness. This is merely because after experiencing something real sad, one would usually grow mentally, however slow that process might be. Mental growth helps one know happiness and sadness better, thus allows one to feel true happiness after one understands it.
Being a person who was born to have no arms and legs, Nick had been very sad during his youth, especially when everyone around him has a whole and complete body. However, in the midst of this truly depressing time, he found God and finally found his peace and happiness. Now he is travelling around the globe, spreading the message of God feeling truly happy in spite of his own condition. Pain and sadness can definitely force one to introspect oneself. This thinking process may allow one to reach true happiness.
Yet do we need to go through some painful process to be truly happy? I believe not. As I mentioned above, the key to feel true happiness is actually to understand that not all wants can be fulfilled, and to be contented with the current situation. Being sad is not the only way to get the key. An old friend of mine has this key, though she has never been really sad. Back in high school she chose to study Arts instead of Science, and very quickly she failed her History quizzes and exams - she simply wasn't made for Arts - and eventually she did poorly in the public exam for the 11th graders. For some reasons, she failed her application to British universities and had to face SAT and A-levels at the same time. This was really tough. As a result she was not able to do both of them well and she was turned down by some of the schools she applied for. However, she has been truly happy even though she had been facing these adverse situations. For she truly understands that not every wish can be granted, so she felt contented with her situation and simply strived for her best. Eventually she managed to get into Berkeley, which finally rewarded her efforts. Although she never felt really sad in the process, she had been truly happy, for she was already a proud owner of the key to happiness.
All in all, experiencing true sadness may let us know true happiness, but it is not absolutely necessary. The fore mentioned key is the most important element in feeling true happiness instead.
Any comment is welcome. Thank you very much!