More Than the 'MathSter'

Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.


I once believed my extraordinary skill with numbers would take me to great heights and greater happiness. I was wrong.

Numbers- quantitative indicators, widely believed to factor the quality of one’s life - galvanized significant achievements, but until recently impeded the emergence of my humane side. At 7, invited to display my abilities at a private school, I stood onstage, the cynosure of all eyes. The anchor rattled off a lengthy problem set to which I correctly responded ”9873293” well before the calculator could. I cultivated this talent crouched in cramped rooms, experimenting with the abacus, convinced that proficiency with operating abacus’s primary-hued beads would imbue exceptional numeracy. I started processing number sequences with surety and speed, and then at accelerated paces, sans the device, merely by moving my hands in the air as though working the beads. This earned me the moniker, “MathSter.”

Sweeping through state and national competitions, I entered the international arena. I come from a small town, Jalalabad, near the India-Pakistan border. Seeing my extraordinary skills, my father encouraged me, and I cleared the exam to study at India’s finest boarding school. Suddenly, I was cast amongst peers...

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