The essay below was written by SAT Varsity students in an interactive session with their verbal trainers. It can be used as a sample SAT essay:
Prompt: What brings you more happiness or unhappiness? What happens to you or the way you respond to it?
Happiness or unhappiness come from the way we react to the situations that we are put in. This is so because your reactions define your character and who you truly are, which can ultimately bring you unparalleled joy. This is manifest in the examples of Martin Luther King Jr. and Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar.
Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar is a classic story about revenge and the greed for power. In this story, the protagonist Julius Caesar is murdered by the conspirators led by Brutus, his “loyal and trusted friend.” This deeply affects Caesar’s wife Calpurnia and truly loyal friend Mark Antony. Following Caesar’s death and its aftermath, Antony sets out to avenge Caesar. He uses his oratory skills to instigate the mob and turn it against Brutus and the conspirators. Although this does not bring his friend back from the dead, it gives him a sense of satisfaction which ultimately helps him achieve a better level of happiness despite the situation he was put in.
Just like the actions of Mark Antony in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, the iconic civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr.’s efforts against racism also support this idea. He, along with the hundreds of thousands of African Americans, was put in a dire situation by the racist and discriminatory policies of the Whites. However, instead of staying silent and taking the easy way out like the majority of people, he decided to take a stand for what was right as nothing else would have given him more joy than seeing all his fellow people treated with equal respect and granted equal rights as the Whites. Thus, by not giving in to the adversity of his situation, he worked to make the world a better and happier place not just for himself, but also for the rest of his community.
In the final analysis, both of the aforementioned examples reinforce the idea that it is our actions that eventually bring us the greatest personal happiness. Every step we take decides what road we move forward on. After all, it is all in the doing!