Personal essay

College Essay: A Mexican education system teaches a valuable lesson

When I arrived in Mexico City from my home, Minnesota, two years ago, I was petrified when I saw a place that looked hopeless.

College Essay: Full speed ahead

Bang! The gun goes off! I thrust out of the starting blocks with full force and accelerate forward. As I run, my breaths become shallow, my chest tightens and I hear myself breathing loudly.

College Essay: ‘Changing the world, one girl at a time’

When Hooyo (“Mother” in Somali) picked me up from school in our Ethiopian refugee camp, we’d walk the long way home so people wouldn’t know that I went to school.

College Essay: Overcoming homelessness

Homelessness can happen to anyone. I know because I experienced it. One day in fifth grade, my parents sat my siblings and me down together in our tiny apartment.

College Essay: A visit to Thailand and a new outlook on life

I stared at the red dirt stain on my Nike shoes. My throat dried up and sweat trailed down the side of my face. Despite the musty heat and my sore foot, I kept walking.

College Essay: On the right path, after tragedy and turmoil

Bam! Bam! I heard this sound early in the morning. People screaming, “Mungu nisaidie” (God help me). My body shaking and numb. My face hot. I knew how to run at the age of 3.

College Essay: ‘Hard work does pay off’

Sweat dripped down the faces and bodies of the 14 exhausted teen dancers and scattered onto the slippery hardwood floor. Several stifled yawns.

College Essay: Grappling with – and overcoming – a tough decision on the mat

Class starts at 8 a.m. But I have been at school since 6 a.m.—running stairs over a puddle of my own sweat and pushing my limits in the weight room.

College Essay: Determination and optimism from ‘Mama’

Blood ran from Mama’s—my grandmother’s—arm and through the IV as the nurse said, “We will have the results in a couple of weeks and have you stop by then.”

College Essay: Conquering a new language and a new home

Fear and happiness hit my face.

I was “home.”

Finally.

College Essay: ‘Your shield, protector and defense’

While I was cleaning the living room at the age of 10 years old in South Africa, my sister, Halima, ran up to me and said, “Brother, brother, brother! Our brother is in danger!”

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.

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