Essay #2: Personal Vision of Happiness

Essay #2: Personal Vision of Happiness

Due: Thursday, October 3rd (submit to Dropbox + one printed copy to class, stapled with all pre-drafts + reflective Cover Letter)

*If you do not turn in a final draft (a printed copy, complete with Cover Letter and pre-drafts and electronic copy through Dropbox) by the start of class the day it is due, you will receive no credit for the entire assignment. There are no extensions. Late work will not be accepted and will receive no credit.


  • Pre-Draft 1: Happiness Archive #1 (Personal Vision of Happiness), due Tu 9/3
  • Pre-Draft 2: Happiness Archive #1 Revision, due Tu 9/10
  • Pre-Draft 3: Essay 2 First Draft, due Th 9/26

Grading: Essay #2 is worth 5% of your overall course grade.

*Since this is a personal essay, there really should not be an issue with plagiarism (since you are not consulting outside sources), but just a reminder: Plagiarism, in all forms, will not be tolerated. Any essay that plagiarizes will automatically fail.[1]

We will have writing workshops and peer review in class (I will provide feedback orally during these sessions). In addition, I’m more than happy to discuss your ideas/drafts more fully in person with you. If you would like to do so, schedule a conference with me during my office hours.

Writing Task & Purpose[2]
On our OpenLab course site you have been exploring your ideas for your Personal Vision of Happiness. For this second essay, you will build on this work, developing your concept of happiness in a 2 ½ – 4 page essay.

As we’ve discussed in class, there is a lot of flexibility with this essay, and you can approach it in any way that you feel works for you (and this is a personal essay, so you should write in the first person, using “I”). For example, you way want to begin with a particular example, narrating a moment/time of happiness in your life (whether in the actual past, the present, or what you imagine it to be like in the future), or a quote/idea/concept that you will use to frame your ideas.

The key to a successful essay for this assignment is to have your voice/vision come through as clearly as possible by description, narration, and concrete details. Your readers should leave your essay with a picture in their minds, a sense of what happiness means to you.

It is essential that you don’t just provide a list of various things that make you happy (jumping from one point to the next quickly);. The goal is not to offer up a variety of things (like Barbara Ann Kipfer in 14,000 Things to Be Happy About) that contribute to your happiness, but to present an in-depth meditation how you conceptualize happiness (again, one well-chosen, well-developed example will be really useful here).

This essay extends the thinking/writing you have already done in class and in your blogging. Therefore, while you should of course feel free to build on what you have already written this semester in blogs or other informal writing (or what we have discussed in class), do not simply repeat what you have previously stated elsewhere. Remember that your blogging is only an informal presentation of ideas and, as such, your posts may not be organized effectively or clearly/fully articulated. You should use this material as freewriting (or even a rough draft), and then work to revise it into a coherent and detailed argument. There is a much greater emphasis on analysis and structure in this essay than in your blog posts and other informal writing.

You should not consult outside sources: this essay presents your personal vision of happiness. Your own lived experiences, memories, thoughts, dreams, feelings, frustrations are the “sources” for this text.

You may include images in your essay, but 1) they do not count towards the minimum length of the essay; 2) they should be relevant to your essay and discussed/explained (rather than just thrown in there for no apparent reason).

Cover Letter
You should include a cover letter (minimum of two typed, single-spaced paragraphs, though I encourage you to write more) as the first page of your final draft. This letter should be addressed to me. In addition to responding to the questions below (please don’t answer them in a numbered list or formulaic way … just make sure that your Cover Letter addresses these points in the course of your reflection), you should also free to add any other questions/concerns you have about your essay or the writing process.

This letter reflects on the writing and revising process (moving from the first to the final draft of your essay):

  • What is your main idea/focus?  How has it changed from pre-drafts to your first draft to your final draft?
  • Describe your drafting and revision process. What was most challenging?  How did you approach those challenges?  What was your experience of peer review and in-class writing workshops and how did it help you to re-vision your work?  How did you engage with (and incorporate – or not) my feedback and that of your classmates?
  • What would you continue to work on in further revision?
  • Choose two elements of your essay – one that you think works well, and one that feels less successful – and describe why.

[1] Refer to City Tech’s Policy on Academic Integrity on the syllabus for more specific details.

[2] Refer the Essay Formatting and Guidelines (that apply to all of our formal essay assignments) as well as to the Writing Resources posted on our course site more details in composing and structuring your essay.

1 thought on “Essay #2: Personal Vision of Happiness

  1. Pingback: Reminder: Essay #2 Final Draft due this Thursday, 10/3 | The Composition of Happiness

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