Well, you heard it here first....
I will not be seeking the re-election for Foreign student president. I need to focus on two major factors, first, Karen, who has stood by my commitments to the college and everything else. She has missed a lot of her own free time due to my commitments and I need to balance that out.
Also, my own sense of satisfaction. The group that I was running was apathetic at best Here is an experiment for you, go ahead and just try to make people interested in something.... Are you back yet? It doesn't work. Most of my accomplishments went completely unannounced, back deals keeping our room foreign student only, having to convince the school administration not to shut us down on a nearly weekly basis, apologize for inexcusable behaviors on the part of some foreign students, pleading for budgetary funding, intervention on behalf of students with their problems with teachers, faculty, each other, etc.. I am worn out. To top it off, the very students that I have defended are now the most vocal dissenters, and quite frankly, my patience is gone. I slept soundly last night after I made my decision. I will quickly thank the outgoing members, and hopefully endorse an appropriate sucke--I mean "candidate" for the position this year going forward. It is a big relief.
I figured out that I am not really like most of the other foreign students anyways. Most of them are locked into their ethnic groups and/or are really just looking for an "extended family" of sorts. I have to remember that they are still young. Here I am, trying to get them to think that they should try to understand the Filipino culture as I do (or think I do anyway). I feel that they must go through a process to understand it themselves. I always wondered why if you come to a foreign country would you not even want to participate and integrate yourself into the new culture. I know why now. Its not that they don't want to, its that they can't.
I regret misleading our new adviser with my "vision" because I actually don't think that my vision is a reflection in any way of the average foreign student here. Most of our population of 200 is either Korean or Fil-Am. I think that they have nice close ties with one another, and they are generally satisfied with the arrangement. They likely enjoyed the role of FOSA for the semi-private office space that we provided and that is about it. The Fil-Ams play another low profile role. As Americans, they more or less integrate with the local population of Filipinos. It is the nature of Americans to do this, as we generally require it of incoming immigrants. So, they generally don't wish their differences to be showcased. The rest of the population of students have various needs and wants, but desire to gather in their ethnic groups rather than a 'international one", most obviously the Africans and Iranians.
Yet let's remember that the majority are in their late teens or early twenties, have full course loads at school, and busy social lives. Result? There were a handful of us who actually felt obligated to act. This was obvious as during several general meetings held, that myself and our secretary where the only two participants.
The "new face" (this "new face" is none other than my EX-vice pres) of FOSA looks keen to create foreign student IDs, hold parties with other foreign students from other schools, and create a distinct status for themselves. I am not interested in that at all. And though I see that there will be a very small group controlling a proportionately larger one, making decisions for them that they do not understand or endorse, I will not intervene to help. They need to learn lessons about themselves and their relationships with others.
I will be able to focus my efforts into my course of study and my life with Karen as a result of this. Another step in the right direction for me.