If there’s a literary device used to describe my personality in a nutshell, it would be: paradox.

I’m a walking paradox but before I speak more about myself, my name is Anthea (or, you could call me Thea, whichever floats your boat) and I’ll be going to UWC Maastricht in The Netherlands. A juxtaposition of words have been used to describe my personality, the common ones being whimsical, stubborn, straightforward and quirky; but, at the end of the day, like many others, I’m still a child at heart.

Unlike many others, my hobbies are rather unorthodox because, as an ambivert, I tend to avoid cacophonous activities and, gravitate naturally towards more rustic and tranquil ones. I enjoy photography, writing, cooking, baking, reading, dancing, café hopping and nature treks (besides being in the company of my friends and family and, the silent sanctuary of my room). On top of that, a small quirk of mine, involves searching the dictionary, every other day, for beauteous words to caption the ethereal photographs of nature I snap because, like the beguiling characteristic of nature, the English language also contains a hidden beauty of equal standing that majority mostly overlook.

People would sometimes call me observant but, that’s not particularly true. Humans are actually very easy to read – the emotions they bleed when ordering their coffee or drinking it speaks volume – it’s just others who 

are too busy being stuck to the screen of their phones to notice. I enjoy observing others and formulating questions behind their behaviors; humans are very interesting organisms, they are so similar yet different and this difference, is what gives rise to a unique individual and their identity. I believe that life is an exodus about seeking answers to questions while learning along the way.

My favorite theory is the Butterfly Effect, postulated by Edward Lorenz, which states that a small change in a nonlinear system can amalgamate a large change in the future. I believe human nature is exactly like that, we all have that tiny spark inside of us to make a change and, many dare not take that chance to take that first step because of fear. Fear is a very powerful weapon; it yields the power to make or break a person, in a way, it’s a barrier inhibiting many individuals. My ethos is to live life in the moments and not have any regrets as sometimes, there’s no second chances or time out, and sometimes it’s now or never – I don’t fear failure instead, I fear the failure of failing to seize the moment – you never know how the chances you failed to take, would impact you in future. Life is too short for regrets.

As ambitious as it sounds, I want and am determined to make a change in this world, like the butterfly effect, I hope that my small actions would impact someone else’s life and make a difference in them. But the ultimate question I had then was, how? How when the world was in complete chaos, with hate crimes and bigoted comments by politicians splattered all over the media. How, when people didn’t even try to patch the gaps between their misunderstandings and reality? How, when there’s only so much I can do?

When I heard about the UWC movement from a classmate of mine, I immediately knew this was a platform for change and, was something I wanted to take a chance with. I knew that, if given the opportunity, I would be able to grow vastly as an individual and get a better understanding of the world, receiving some of the answers I’ve always been searching for. Hence, I applied for the scholarship. While filling out the application, I wrote passionately about issues I’d always been fighting for – poverty, stigmatism and identity – I didn’t expect to come this far, or even receive an interview.

I’m excited for what the future would hold, the many lessons I would learn from this exciting journey awaiting me and, the possible friendships going to be forged. It’ll be a complete lie to say I’m not scared, however, the adrenaline rush from the anticipation outweighs this fear.  I’m anticipating it; UWC Maastricht, bring it on!

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