Personal essay

College Essay: Forging my own path

Every time I visit my grandparents in their huge house in Blaine, I hear a broken record.

College Essay: The veil: ‘A means of empowerment’

Misguided saviors trying to save a simple Muslim girl
but they can’t seem to comprehend that I don’t need to be saved,

College Essay: Rewriting the single story about refugees

I look around, seeing two naked Turkana women carrying a pile of wood above their heads. Sacred red paint covers their bodies. Heavy and large beads adorn their elongated necks.

College Essay: Lessons from the loss of a loved one

The heat pressed against my skin on a humid June afternoon.

College Essay: Triumph in the war on my skin

When I was 12, I declared war on my skin.

College Essay: Finding purpose through my sister

“Tu hermana tiene autismo.”

“Your sister has autism.”

Those four words changed my life.

College Essay: Writing is a passion, a safe haven

“He’s coming,” I told my mom as we looked out of the glass patio door at home, waiting for my dad. “He’s just running late.”

College Essay: Embracing a cultural mix

As I unfolded on the cold, hard ground behind the gym bleachers with tears rolling down my eyes, I sensed that I didn’t belong.

College Essay: Winning the fight against MRSA

“Ouch,” I thought, after what seemed like a typical insect bite on my left leg. That is, until the sharp and unbearable pain put my life on hold.

College Essay: ‘Information is power’

I landed in Cairo at a revolutionary time.

College Essay: 'I am full of hope'

In the summer of 2012, my childhood friend Ayaanle and I were exploring our dusty and blazing hot Ethiopian refugee camp when suddenly, we heard gunshots.

College Essay: Hard work now, success later

For a couple of years in my early childhood, I regularly slept at night in a car. I would lie in the backseat, my legs stretching all the way to the other seat. Sometimes I would snore.

College Essay: Life lessons through Aztec dance

A 10-year-old girl beats on a wooden drum under the blazing, yellow sun: One, two, one, two, one-two-three-four.

College Essay: Making grandpa proud

I was only 16 years old. Yet I was down on my knees, changing the diaper of an 89-year-old Vietnamese man.

College Essay: ‘Everyone belongs in the light’

Once a year, my mom and I take a road trip to the same winding road along the St. Croix River, to the town of Prescott, Wisconsin.

I am nervous. I don’t enjoy it.

College Essay: Appreciating the skin I’m in

Imagine being in a classroom where everyone else is in on a secret, except you. What you hear is silence, but their stares say it all: You’re different, you don’t belong.

College Essay: The art of storytelling

“Ahlao, do you want to hear a story?” said Dad, addressing me by my childhood name more than 10 years ago in our living room.

No other option but success

I SAT IN MY dad’s taxicab waiting for my sister, silently observing all the movement around me.

Beating the blues, with help from the blues

“Music is powerful. As people listen to it, they can be affected. They respond.” —Ray Charles


Finding myself in a foreign country

DESTINATION: Liberia, West Africa.

Travel distance: 7,690 miles.

Mission accomplished.

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