Bubble or onion?

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.


Light, clear and ephemeral. A bubble is easy to pop. An onion on the other hand, has layers of tough, pungent membranes - breaking them brings tears to your eyes.

When asked where I was from, I would unthinkingly say ‘Karachi’. As I grew older, I began to feel a sense of shame in this answer. In truth, my friends, family, and I all lived somewhere different; somewhere sheltered, built in reaction to the city being ranked one of the world’s most dangerous. Many called this 'Somewhere' a bubble: an idyllic microcosm, separated from the outside by an iridescent cover, floating apart from larger society. Over the years, this construct began to feel less like a bubble, instead taking the form of something fouler - an onion. Our fear had created layers - layers that manifested in the walls of the limited areas of the city we inhabited, in the tight circumference of our social circles, and in our insular thinking. We were trapped deep within the onion.

“It’s not safe there.”

“There” was always a vague abstraction - a place that existed outside our carefully constructed and regulated confines. While it made many apprehensive, it provoked me to push through the layers, to what was beyond. I joined a cycling group and ventured into...

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