Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Practice Accuplacer Essays

My son has been writing practice Essays for his upcoming Accuplacer Test that he will be taking to enroll in Dual Credit College classes.  Here are three of his practice essays.  

Question: What gives us more pleasure and satisfaction: the pursuit of our desires or the attainment of them? 

It is commonly said that you only appreciate thing which you have to work for. But is this true? Is the pursuit of our desires what we get pleasure from, as opposed to the attainment of those desires? Is it possible to appreciate something which was simply handed to you as much as you would appreciate the same thing if you worked to attain it?

Personally, I believe that while we may not appreciate the work we do to attain something per say, we certainly appreciate the results more if we work to attain them, than we would if they were simply handed to us. We may not enjoy the hard work, be we enjoy the rewards all the more for it.

The satisfaction attained from achieving a goal is obvious. For example, the entire reason puzzles, such as crosswords, are put in papers is because people achieve satisfaction from completing the puzzle, regardless of the fact that they didn’t get a tangible reward for their efforts. They still found satisfaction from achieving a goal, to complete the puzzle.

Of course, not all work is as enjoyable as a simple puzzle. Sometimes people have to work very hard to attain the money for some expense they want, like a new car. However, the anticipation of working for something they want, and having to work to gain it, makes them enjoy it all the more once they have it.

Though, it should be said, this isn’t necessarily the case when the things people are striving to attain are more base things that are required. Having to work hard to make a living may not make you enjoy the food on your plate, or the roof over your head all that much, and it’s certainly possible to overwork yourself, and take away from the enjoyment you would otherwise have gotten.

So it may not always be the journey we enjoy, but in most cases I feel that a rough and difficult trip makes us enjoy the destination all the more.

Question: Do we expect too much of our public figures?
In today’s day and age, public figures are both admired, and openly mocked, by the general public. Whether they be movie stars, politicians, musicians, or any other kind of public figure, it is quite obvious a lot of pressure is put upon their shoulders. But is it unjust? Is it unreasonable to expect better of those in the public eye, than of the everyman on the street?

Personally, I believe that when it comes to public figures such as famous actors or musicians, placing the weight of the world upon their shoulders is unreasonable, as to be honest, these people aren’t in any position of authority. True, they’re well known individuals, but they are entertainers, nothing more.

However, too much responsibility can never be placed upon our politicians. Politicians are those responsible for our country, and in many cases, our entire world. They govern us, and we need to expect them to hold high moral standards, along with upholding the best interests, and common interests, of the citizens of our country.

It is up to us to hold politicians who do cross moral lines accountable for their actions, especially those who outright act against what the people want. We need to be able to trust that those with power will not abuse that power, and the best way to do that is to hold those who do accountable for it.

If those with power know they can abuse it, they will do so. That’s just human nature. But if we hold them accountable for their actions, and make it known what is the common interest, they won’t do so.

Thus, we place too much responsibility on some public figures, but certainly not all of them. Those in office are governing our country, and we absolutely must place responsibility on them for the good of our country.

Question: Is it true that when we most need advice we are least willing to listen to it? Or is good advice always welcome? 

Do we need advice most when we’re least willing to listen? That’s a question many people have asked. There are many situations where, as an outsider, the answer to the problem is apparent, but when you’re inside the situation, such as a failing relationship, it’s easy to be blinded by emotion. But is good advice always welcome, or do we shut people out if we don’t want to hear what we need to?

Personally, I believe it depends on the person. Different people handle different situations, and different emotions, in various ways. Some may always be willing to take the advice of those close to them, while others may be more easily blinded by emotion, having their judgment clouded. Some people’s judgment may even become so clouded that they lash out at those who try to help them, not only hurting themselves by not taking the advice, but at the same time hurting those who tried to tell them what they needed to hear.

At times, it can be difficult to tell what is good advice, and what isn’t, especially when people are telling you what the best course of action is, and it’s one you really don’t want to take. Sometimes this can lead to staying in a bad situation much longer than you should have. Other times people will know that the advice which people are offering them is in fact good, but will so wish that it wasn’t, they’ll stay in the bad situation, and refuse to take the option which has been offered to them, because it will hurt to much. In many situations, it’s easy to let your emotions get the best of you.

Still, of course, some people do welcome good advice whenever it is given, and can keep themselves clearheaded enough to know the right and wrong things to do in a given situation, and do it. Some people know that people giving them good advice are trustworthy, and people giving them bad advice aren’t. It’s hard to be this person, and I don’t think most people can do this, but people like this certainly exist.

So I believe that it truly depends on the person, and there’s not one yes or no answer to whether we take good advice when it’s offered, simply because each person is different.