At the beginning of the semester, students answer a few seemingly simple questions about their personal values, goals, and ideals. As we progress in the course, students are encouraged to revisit their initial answers in light of the texts we study. We identify texts which affirm, challenge or completely refute students’ initial ideas about life’s meaning and purpose. At the end of the semester, students submit revised, expanded profiles with additional questions and textual references.
The initial profile questions are:
1. What does happiness mean to you?
2. A truly fulfilling, beautiful life must include …
3. Do you agree with the idea that people are fully responsible for where they end up in life? Why or why not?
4. Where would you like to see yourself in about 10 years (comment on whatever is relevant to your self-image: relationships, personal accomplishments, social status, emotional state, profession, finances, geographical location, etc.)