Student commencement speaker gives advice to outgoing students and incoming Club Council President

A year of working with the Club Council and the Associated Students Organization (ASO) around a packed schedule of classes and the stresses of being an international student has prepared Krishna Ayungao for a variety of challenges.

Public speaking might still give her trouble though.

This year’s graduation will feature Ayungao, the president of the Club Council for the academic year 2013-2014 as the student commencement speaker. Ayungao, who submitted her speech alongside several other active members of the ASO and student bodies, continues to fine-tune her speech with help from professors and hindrance from her nerves.

“I try not to think about it until it’s actually here,” Ayungao said.

Her time at Pierce and as Club Council President has thrown many demanding situations her way, she said, but taught her a lot about how to manage a hectic schedule.

“I was taking 18 units every semester and I don’t work because I’m an international student, so I can’t work outside of campus. It was pretty hard catching up with all the deadlines,” Ayungao said. “My first semester here was probably the first semester that I dropped from a 4.0.”

Much of her work, however, has given her a taste of event planning, contributing to her goals after Pierce.

“I want to be an anthropology professor but short-term I kind of want to work in a project management setting or an organizing setting because I like organizing events and managing things,” she said. “I discovered that I really love being pressured and I like the thrill of doing events.”

Her projects for the last year have included such campus events as The Halloween Carnival, the Spring Festival, the Club Council Chill Out, and, most recently, the ASO and the Club Council Banquet.

Gus Sandoval, the ASO president this year, worked with her on several of these projects and was happy with the results of the year.

“It’s been my pleasure to work side-by-side with her. Krishna has definitely displayed a lot of leadership and organizational skills with regards to various club council and ASO events that she planned,” Sandoval said.

Ayungao also worked closely with the clubs to streamline processes on campus for them.

“She has also instituted several programs with various different clubs as far as getting them the appropriate knowledge on how to submit the appropriate forms, paperwork, stuff like that for fundraising and other activities,” Sandoval said. “Over all, she has really kicked it up a notch, in my opinion, from the standard of what we have expected of Club Council presidents over the years.”

Krishna has been training the incoming Club Council president over the last few weeks to hand over the reigns to Lakshika Ruwanpathirana.

“I love her, she’s very intense. She has a very intense personality. She follows me up, texting me in the middle of the night. She’s very eager to be trained,” Krishna said.

Ruwanpathirana said she was excited to begin her new role but sad to see Ayungao leave.

“We organized the Spring Festival together and she helped me, explained the duties and things like that,” she said. “Mainly it’s to monitor all of the clubs, see what’s going on with them, and see if they need any help. We’re supposed to have a Club Council meeting and meet with them to see what they want and how we can help them succeed. I’m starting in fall. I’m very, very excited. I’ve been meeting Krishna a lot to see what I have to do and it’s been really fun and I am looking forward to it.

Sandoval also expressed his sadness at the end of the year, leaving both his own position and all the people he had worked with.

She’s truly going to be missed next year but she’s also been training her replacement, Lakshika,” Sandoval said. “She is completely and totally dedicated to her fellow students, the student government on campus, to all the events, and she’s been an absolute pleasure to work with throughout the year.”

Being ASO president, he knows how it feels to leave an office, as Ayungao is doing.

“For me, this represents the culmination of ten years at Pierce. It’s been a huge part of my life. The past two years is when I really started getting involved with things on campus. I’m really going to miss Pierce,” Sandoval said. “I’m really going to miss all the students and professors, all the friendships and acquaintances and relationships that I’ve made over the past years here. I don’t think anyone ever completes a term of office and feels like they’ve done everything they wanted to do. I certainly don’t feel that way and for that reason, I just wish I had more time.”

Ayungao also expressed her sadness to leave, but is looking toward the future. She plans either to work for a year as a managing intern or transfer to U.C. Irvine.

Her advice for students graduating or continuing at Pierce would be that “it’s okay to not have it all figured out. You plan as you go, you plan ahead, but if things change you adapt to those changes but at the same time looking forward to the future. Sometimes it works when things don’t go your way, you think ahead. There’s a lot of options for students and I think it’s important to realize that staying in a community college isn’t necessarily bad, as long as you learn a lot from your experience at Pierce.”