It is early in the morning and the start of Ilko Drenkov’s duty as a Resident Hall Director in Skaptopara 2. As he rushes to his office with his bike, many students stop him to ask him questions, greet him or just smile at him. He sits on his desk on which there is a bunch of documents and makes a tea from the herbs he picked up from the mountains.
Probably the first thing that comes across your mind when you think about a Resident Hall Director is a strict and conservative person who deals with boring administrative work. However, Ilko Drenkov is the exact opposite. Apart from his main job, he is also a history analyst, a talented poet and writer, and a passionate photographer, and an enthusiastic hiker.
Ilko Drenkov’s biggest passion is history because it incorporates other disciplines such as economy, anthropology, sociology, etc. He dedicated both his Bachelor’s and Master’s degree to learn more about the history of the Balkans and specifically about the Macedonian question.
His interest in Macedonia was provoked by his ancestors’ story. Because of the continuous fierce fights over the Macedonian land, his forefathers were forced numerous times to flee from Macedonia to Bulgaria and back. This turmoil in his family’s history evoked Drenkov’s ambition to scrutinize the complex issue of how the Great Powers influenced the Macedonian question.
After years of research on this topic, Ilko introduced his first historical book on the topic “Great Britain and the Macedonian question” a few weeks ago. Although the topic is extremely sensitive for all Balkan nations, Ilko successfully managed to analyze his findings objectively.
Currently, Drenkov is working on a second history book in which he will expose unseen documents of the British interference on the Balkans during the interwar period. His plan it to publish the book next year.
Ilko Drenkov also has a distinguishing flair for writing poetry. His grandfather sparked this interest in him ever since Ilko was a little child.
“My grandpa used to read me many inspiring stories about different people which indeed fired my imagination and unlocked my everlasting love for poetry. ”
Drenkov’s first book called “Glass Pieces” is a collection of poems from his teenage and early adulthood years. At that time, he was an explorer, rebel, cynic, and adventurer. This is why, these poems are more expressive and critical.
His second poetry book, “Senses” features Drenkov’s years of maturity and harmony. They highlight the philosophical idea that everything should be accepted the way it is.
Ilko also plans on publishing a third poetry book with his new artistic pieces. It will most probably be bilingual with poems both in Bulgarian and in English.
Ilko prefers a modest and simple way of living and admits that he has always had a special bond with nature. Driven by this exceptional connection, he found a passion in mountain climbing. He is already familiar with all paths in the Bulgarian mountains Rila and Pirin. While he admits that most of the times he goes hiking with friends, he climbs the toughest routes and hills alone.
Ilko indicates that Blagoevgrad offers plenty of opportunities for going hiking because there are many mountain routes around the town. Currently, he tries to devote at least 10 days per year to mountain climbing and has already developed his 5 tips that every beginner in this field should follow.
Another passion that he has is capturing various beautiful landscapes with his trusted sidekick- his camera. It is his personal belief that people are always developing and changing while nature is constant and perfect and this is why, he limits his photographs only to the environment.
He has already participated in AUBG Documentary Challenge with his personal favorite photos of mountains and received many acclaims. Additionally, he sometimes uploads his shoots to mountain forums in order to encourage more and more people to discover the beauty of the Bulgarian nature.
“Although I love taking photos, I still have to admit that you can never understand the sacredness and holiness of the mountain only by looking at a photo. Everyone should actually see it and experience its enthralling magic in order to fully appreciate it”, explains Ilko.
So how did such a versatile person decide to take up the job as a Residence Hall Director? Ilko explains that this job provides him with the opportunity to devote more time to his family, work on his talents, and meet some of the brightest young citizens of the world. In his opinion, most people have a wrong interpretation of what his job consists of.
It is a common belief that this job only means dealing with documents and stopping parties. However, it actually is quite complex and requires a variety of skills. It sometimes is related to providing health care, offering a psychological session, enforcing policies and so on.