• Ken Baeza

2020 IS FINALLY OVER. Here's a recap.

As I get ready for the final hours of this iconic year, I wanted to share with you the most insightful moment I experienced during each month of 2020.

January - I finally got to visit Paris, and in my quick trip to the Louvre Museum, I could see the legendary "Liberty Leading the People" painting - which is also the cover of Coldplay's best album ever: Viva la Vida.

February - Experienced my first-ever Valentine's Ball. I had the honor of playing Titanic's "My Heart Will Go On" on the piano, which was also my first public performance at UWCEA.

March - For March, there is a tie between swimming in the Karanaga River for the first time and going from Tanzania to Guatemala during the most intense weeks of the COVID-19 outbreak. My journey back home included over four flights, asking a stranger for a ride, and crossing borders by walk.

April - Released the 3rd issue of the UWCEA student magazine, which was the first issue that included articles from students of UWCEA Arusha Campus.

May - Started my volunteer work as an online English teacher for Párvulos Comunitario de Amatitlán, a small pre-school in a red zone in Guatemala. They had lost their teacher due to the pandemic, so I offered to replace her free of charge. I ended up recording over 60 online lessons for them.

June - Got to meet my hero: Luis Von Ahn. In a surprise Zoom call, I got to meet and interview Duolingo's creator, Luis Von Ahn. It was a dream come true, and an honor I'll never forget.

July - Enrolled in two university summer courses at the same time: one from McGill on International Law and the other from Furman on business and entrepreneurship. Got to meet a lot of people from Canada and South Carolina - it was fun, but also really stressful (especially when some of the lessons overlapped!).

August - Participated in an online internship in which I learned how to use Power BI, a super-useful tool for those who are into business/finance and own a Windows computer.

September - Took my first COVID-19 test and was able to go back to Tanzania without getting infected. Being able to see all my friends again was all I had been hoping for since March.

October - I saw a monkey face to face. One afternoon, while walking around campus, a monkey and its baby suddenly appeared out of the bushes and started walking in the same direction as me. The monkey then proceeded to sit on a table nearby, and just stayed there for a while. I slowly approached the table, and I got really, REALLY close to them: the only thing separating us was a couple of inches and my camera. Check my Instragram to have a look at the pictures I took!

November - I became 18! No, I still haven't had my first drink - I don't even have a driver's license... Nevertheless, becoming 18 means that I'm oficially an adult now; which is IMO - lame (tbh it doesn't feel any different, you only have the pressure to be more responsible and to pay taxes)...

December - I got rejected from MIT! The results for the early round of applications came in. I got deferred from Wharton and UChicago, and rejected from MIT. While it was disappointing, I had to quickly move on, for I am now working on my applications for the regular decision, and I have my fingers crossed.

I'm not going to lie, I was pretty lucky during this year. While my family was quarantined in Guatemala, I got to live a "normal" life back in Tanzania. Sure, I had to quarantine a couple of months, but I think I got to do a lot during those months of lockdown.

As I see the date of my laptop change from 31/12/2020 to 01/01/2021, I can't help but to wonder what this year is going to look like. Hopefully, it will be much better than the last one.

Have a Happy New Year, and best of luck for 2021!