Meet the Candidates: Nico Sison
Interview by: Hazel Encarnado
What compelled you to run for the SC Presidency?
First, is that I acknowledge that this school deserves the best and its people has potentials that has not been uncovered. I believe that there is much more that can be improved and I believe that I can make an impact.
Second, the people around me believe that I am the one who can serve them best…I think this is the most compelling reason for me to run for presidency.
Do you have any apprehensions with regards to running for this position? If yes, how do you plan to overcome them?
[At] first, I had self-doubts. I always ask myself, “Why me?”. I am shy as a person so the challenge for me is how I can appeal to them that I can serve the student body. I do not have prior experience in actually running [for a position] since college. All my leadership roles were by appointment. I never really “sold” myself to the people. So it’s hard for me to campaign. Second, the administrators do not know me personally. It’s a challenge for me to present to them that I am a deserving person to represent the student body. To overcome these, I ask advice from people who actually campaigned. I have friends who give me emotional and moral support. Yun kasi yung nakaka-discourage—[yung mawalan ka ng support]. So I’m lucky to have friends who continually support me. Because they trust in me, I also believe in myself.
How would you assess your performance as the Outreach Committee Head for the past school year?
[The] outreach committee this year improved a lot. Most of the projects were continuations of the previous year. Based on what I hear, on other people’s assessment, I think I did great for the outreach. Most of the recommendations came from the ones who saw my work ethic, [some of the] SC members. Outreach committee now is well-organized, well adept at planning, the execution is good. The evaluation from the volunteers are positive, we get average to excellent feedback. So I think I did good.
How can you describe your relationship with the members of the student council?
I did not encounter problems with [the members of the student council]. When I give comments or feedbacks, it’s always assertive. In a certain situation or dilemma, I’m always assertive so no one gets offended. I’m also very supportive of their projects. I attend their projects and volunteer for committees. Like the open house, I was the logistics head. In the freshman orientation program, I was a facilitator. I was also logistics for Ingressio in Chorale. I’m responsive to the other committees of the student council.
How do you plan to deal with any conflict of interests/opinions that can arise in the student council?
Ang [advantage] natin sa St. Luke’s is we do not have political parties—the students who run for a position have their own ideas and projects. So I think the job of the president is to align these projects. We all need to meet halfway because we’re not doing this for ourselves. We’re doing this for the students. So I’ll align the projects.
The outgoing student council president established new projects (like the CORe) during his term. What are your opinions regarding these projects? Do you plan to continue them in your term?
I think the outgoing student council made a big impact this year. Nilapit nila yung student body to the administration. We are more felt by the student body and the administration. Yes, I would continue the projects specifically, CORe, because it’s an avenue where all the leaders from different organizations express their support for each other, they work together and align their projects. It made them feel that the student council can work with them to make their individual successes.
I think the next challenge for the next student council is how to maintain these projects and how to further improve them. Kailangan ng continuity kasi—it worked for the students, it worked for the administration. So we have to maintain it.
[The outgoing government] has provided us the stepping stone so we don’t have to go back to the stone ages of the student council.
What is your aim/vision for the next academic year? What specific projects or systems do you plan to implement to accomplish this vision?
The focus of my leadership will be student welfare, organization support, administration relations and reconnection with our alumni. I will continue the previous projects under which I will adopt related projects. Novel projects would be the Lukan Excel which is all about strengthening the academic committee in its endeavour to cater the scholarly needs of the students. Last year we planned to make a training module but it didn’t happen then so I plan to continue it next year. It’s the AIM projects that the second years hold for the first years. Second and probably my most ambitious project is the Board Ops where the lower years “serve” the board takers some minor needs. They help the coming board takers, just minor stuff, so they wouldn’t be distracted that much. I want them to feel that even though they’re not in the college anymore, the students still support them. Third, I would like to raise awareness on national and social concerns like sexual identity and orientation, RH Bill, Sin Tax law and war on drugs.
What do you think is the most pressing issue that the Lukan community is facing right now and how do you plan to provide a solution for it?
I think it’s the issue of mental health. I know a lot of us are aware of it—but action wala tayo nakikita. Compared with other schools tayo yung walang guidance counsellor, we have no in-house psychiatrist. I’ve seen my friends undergo major depression disorder, some of them took a leave. Even myself, I found it hard to adjust to the demands of medical school. I guess we need a more aggressive action because medical school is really rough for the medical students that their mental health is compromised. Also, physically and emotionally. So we need an in-house psychiatrist. We need someone who the students can approach. Kasi nakakabahala. So I will implore that we install a guidance counsellor and psychiatrist for next school year.
Another would be the low application rate. One of my goals is to help the administration make the school better known for aspiring medical students. Based on my experience, there was this event of St. Luke’s that I attended when I was in undergrad. It was called “NMATinik”, a premed quiz bee. There were a lot of attendees–different students from different universities like UP, Ateneo, La Salle and UST. I think it was an effective way to make our school known. I think this is the best time because we saw the dwindling of the application rate. After the Open House it would be good to hold this activity to reinforce any initial interest the Open House inspired.
How do you inspire or motivate yourself on a day to day basis?
It’s hard to get up in the morning when you slept in the morning. I think this is the struggle of anyone in med school. No matter how good you were back in college—because I know I believe that we were the best back then—in medical school that is not true anymore.
We struggle, succeed sometimes, fail many times. But the most important thing we need to do is to believe in the dream. We must always go back to the reason on why we are here. My end goal is what motivates me. To be a doctor is my “best-est” version. No matter how hard it is to become one, in the end it will always be worth it.