Wow! It's that time of the year again! For Midterms? Well yes, but also APA LEADERS!!! WHOOOOO!!! Along with kicking off APAHF (Asian Pacific American Heritage Festival), we are recognizing six awesome APA leaders in the USC community. So we are excited to present Krystian, our first APA leader of 2016. Read his interview below to learn more about Krystian and how his understanding APA identity changed throughout his involvement in the USC and APA community!
What does being APA mean to you? To be completely honest, the Asian and Pacific Islander identities were nothing more than boxes to check on forms to me before coming to USC. To that end, there definitely wasn’t a distinction between being Asian and Pacific Islander and Asian Pacific American in my mind.
Since coming to USC, I’ve gained a better understanding of the APA identity. What I’ve really learned about what APA means to me is that it represents a journey that will continue to evolve as you start to understand how you and your history fit into the community’s narrative and how the community’s narrative fits into your identity and history. You are as large of a part of the APA community as it is a part of you.
Explain in detail your involvement in the Asian Pacific American community on and off campus. Since my first year at USC, I’ve been involved with Troy Philippines (Troy Phi), the only organization on campus that is catered specifically to Filipinos and Filipino Americans. During my time as part of the leadership of the organization as the Pilipino American Culture Festival Coordinator, the Internal Vice President, and the APASA Representative, I’ve worked to create enjoyable experiences and environments for each of our members (and non-members) and to connect Troy Phi with other organizations, on- and off-campus, who work with Filipinos, Filipino Americans, and APA communities to share (what I am calling, without any bias) Troy Phi’s great work with the community.
Also, through the Asian Pacific American Student Services (APASS) here at USC, I have participated in its CIRCLE, PEER Mentorship, and Connections! programs, each of which has exposed me to different ways of thinking about my identity as an APA and some cool people.
What advice do you have for aspiring APA leaders? Don’t ever underestimate the support you will receive from the community. The APA communities here at USC and beyond are full of individuals who are eagerly waiting for people like you, people to give a voice to our community, regardless of where you’re at in your APA journey. All you’ve got to do is ask (sometimes you don’t even have to do that)! You may be new to the game, or you may not be, but just know that you’re not alone, even if you’re exploring unchartered territory.
What kind of legacy do you want to leave at USC? As someone who values and places a large emphasis on the creation of meaningful relationships, the legacy that I want to leave at USC is very simple: to make even just one person feel as though their voice is being heard and they are empowered to continue sharing their thoughts that may have once been unheard. Especially in college, we tend to meet people like they’re being popped out onto a conveyor belt in a production line, identical to the one before them. Investing just a few extra moments in each person can really make a difference! I want to be known as someone who makes sure every person I meet feels important and like more than just an unrecognizable face in the background and that anybody’s experience here at USC is as personal as possible.
What story do you think every APA should know? As silly as it may sound, the most important story that all APAs (and every person) should know is their own stories! Knowing your story is the first step in discovering who you are and how your story fits into everyone else’s stories. It may only be the first step, but you can’t make any progress without it.
All money aside, what is your dream job? My dream job actually has nothing really to do with money, but is a matter of talent. In a limitless world, I would be a vocalist because I think singing bridges the gap between words and emotion, which is often left unattended. Selfishly, imagine how much utility I’d be getting out of the ability to sing really well! I already sing quite a bit in my normal life; but, if I dedicated my life to singing, I’d probably be singing all the time (and not feel sorry about it).
What motivates and inspires you? I think the concept of progress is what motivates and inspires me most to continue the work that I do. As a perfectionist, progress assumes that something can always be better, which means I’ll always have the desire to do something more!
Anything else you would like to add- shoutouts, thanks to anyone for support/encouragement, etc? In general: My journey and growth as a leader is very much so attributable to you all as it is to myself. Regardless of how small a part of my life you may think you are, you're still important to me!
To anyone who nominated me: Hearing some of the things you had to say about me truly warmed my heart and validated all of my efforts. Not that I work for recognition, but occasional recognition is always nice and motivating!
To APASA: Thank you so much for allowing me (and all of the other leaders) to be recognized in such a manner. Although we all take a lot of pride in and are incredibly dedicated to our efforts to serve the APA community, recognizing leaders through such means encourages us to continue our respective works in the future. Keep up the great work!
To Troy Phi's Executive Board, past and present: Thank you for dealing with all my crap. You've seen me through some pretty low lows and through some of my best moments in my life thus far. You're all an inspiration for future generations of Troy Phi leadership, the Filipino American community (collegiate or not), and to me. Couldn't have asked for better people to work with. Fight on (hope you read that with a voice crack)!
To Rachel, Garci, Aina, and Kyle: My buddies.
To Arvin: Thanks for tempering my rash personality during all the classes and things we've been through in planning our Pilipino American Culture Festival. Without you, the Festival very well may have been cancelled, and classes probably would've been a lot more boring.
To anyone who made it to the end of this: Thank you~ Hopefully I didn't bore you too much!
Thank you, Krystian, for agreeing to be interviewed by us! We are lucky to have your continuous support and involvement in the APA community!
Nominate an APA Leader by Friday: http://goo.gl/forms/bTCTJhz9Rx