wants to be reckless
By the end of each January, candidates invited to the final UWC interview send us a three-minute video titled “This is me.” Ana Jovanova offered us a black and white story – like an old-timey movie, with a musical accompaniment – in which she doesn’t say a word. Most of the activities she shows on the screen, from caring for her pets to the long list of books she’s read, are, at best, individualistic. They don’t involve others.
In February, during her final interview, Ana seemed shy. She spoke quietly, and after hearing each question, she’d often look away. It’s like she was taking a breath, a moment to think, before speaking. The answers she offered were clearly thought-through, weighed-out, ready for delivery. In her own words, it’s “as if everything had a question mark around it.”
By July, after a few genuinely fulfilling months – in which she found out she’d be joining Li Po Chun UWC in Hong Kong – Ana left me with a different impression. She started our conversation with a freedom I hadn’t noticed before. She told me about her recent adventures, and how she’s lately been enjoying going to park and simply exploring. Chatting, spontaneously, with all kinds of people, laughing when she makes a mistake. Hiking to the top of Vodno Hill, with no plan or sense of time. Her best friend “gives her shi… teases” her that she’s met half of Skopje’s teenagers already.
Of course, Ana hasn’t completely transformed. On the contrary, she’s still very keen on carefully making plans. She knows that, because of the time difference between Hong Kong and Skopje, she’ll chat with her parents around 3pm her time, after she wraps up with classes and before they go to work. She’s researched the political situation in Hong Kong and readily explains the relationship between the Chinese government and the local authorities. And she already has an idea on how to improve the campus she hasn’t yet visited (including a plan to turn compost into fertilizer).
Somehow, Ana manages to be thoughtfully reckless. She’s already gotten peers on board to watch the FIFA World Cup at 4am – but also planned how she’d explain that to her professors. (Her love for soccer, by the way, started by following FC Barcelona a few months before they got famously wrecked 8-2 by Bayern.)
It’s tough to plan out a UWC experience ahead of time. But with this newly-found spontaneity, Ana might not need a plan anyways.
Bobo, July 2022