BIGSAS Junior Fellows, aren’t we all one?

Oladapo Ajayi (Dapo) and Mingqing Yuan (Alice) have been Junior Fellow representatives for two semesters. Here is their goodbye letter to their fellow students.

“Being BIGSAS Junior Fellow representatives is an experience that was worthwhile for us. We felt honored of being elected as the Reps while at the same realised the weight of responsibility and promise in front of us when stepping into the position. Our first meeting with Hanza (click here to read an interview with Hanza) and Larissa (the former reps) was helpful. They provided tips and insights on the workings of BIGSAS which fired us up with confidence and smoothed the path ahead of us.

With all sincerity, the moment where we changed the email signature to Alice and Dapo announced the change, and yes, composing the first email was not that easy.

We still remember the nervousness and long-hour discussion before sending out our first email…

…beginning with “Dear all BIGSAS JFs”. These are moments one gets to feel and appreciate what many junior representatives have had to do for their fellow students and on their behalf.

Dr. Scherer and Juliane’s unrelenting support and encouragement also helped us settle down in our roles. They are always ready to put us through, patient in advice and supporting our plans and understanding of our tasks. Even though these two staff are usually our first point of call, the entire BIGSAS staff is supportive, giving us tips as they continue to work round the clock and mostly behind the scenes for the sake of the community.

Yes, the Junior Fellows are always the primary beneficiaries of the roles of silent heroes moving mountains beyond the spotlight.

Being in the position allows us to know the role that the administrative staff play, and we appreciate all the efforts and support specially and whole-heartedly.

If we must reflect on the things that we could not achieve within the period we served as representatives, we will not hesitate to admit our lapses and imperfection. We suppose that is the default nature of human. Notwithstanding, we take responsibilities for any perceived inadequacies during our two semesters term as BIGSAS reps.

One of the instances we felt left down by circumstances beyond our control was the Swimming Training for Adult Beginners we initiated. The project and the logistics of planning demanded a huge amount of time and networking. In this regard, we must appreciate the amiable staff of the University of Bayreuth Welcome Centre, Angela, Lea, Susan & Thorsten for offering their entire support and exploring all networks (some personal) to help us achieve the project. The class that was meant to run into the summer semester break was over-subscribed. As at our last count, more than 25 registered. Unfortunately, COVID-19 happened! Yes, your guess is as good as ours… and our world as we know it began to change…The good news is that we are and would be survivors! And yes, we mean you the readers and us!

Tedious but fulfilling:

perhaps, have you ever wondered what or how we feel preparing Newsletters? Tired! The Newsletter being a core task of the JFs representative can be demanding as we struggle with our own works and with all the challenges and at the latter part, the challenges posed by COVID-19 both physically and psychologically. So, once again to all former Junior Fellow representatives out there who produced the Newsletters, we salute you, and yes, we stood on your shoulders all through the year. However, undeniably, the Newsletter business is also one of the most fulfilling tasks to embark on. It is a process of creation, imagination and accountability. We debated and learnt a lot from it. We grow with the community and share the happiness and celebration of the achievement of every Junior Fellow. Newsletter is a platform of all of us and for all of us. Thumbs up to those Junior Fellows who send their feedbacks and appreciation to us. Sincerely, those emails remain treasures to us.

Wait! Are you waiting for this – our modest results? The answer is none! LOL.

Some BIGSAS Junior Fellows with Friends at Cinema Africas 2019

Some BIGSAS Junior Fellows with Friends at Cinema Africas 2019

You should just be more active and care about our community.

Let’s nurture and have mutual respect for each other. Cooperate and support Shaden and Andreas – your new reps! Being representatives can be lonely and challenging, but remember, despite all difficulties, the reps are always here for you. They’re ready to respond, to act and to engage whenever needed. Shaden (click here to read an interview with her) and Andreas deserve our understanding and cooperation.

Finally, we enjoyed and appreciate a lot the privilege of close friendships with some of our colleagues who provided us assistance when we needed and offered us their unbiased opinions. You all should get friends like that. These ones match their words with actions when need to be. No! We are not giving names until you invite us for dinner at your apartment.

In case you find it difficult to understand what we have been saying, don’t worry, sometimes we can be confused too, but in sum:

For us, being Junior Fellow representatives is about the little things, it is about trying, it is a push here and there, it is about a community of dynamic emerging scholars.

Yours truly,

Alice & Dapo”


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