Jul 21 2023
My other Family-the BCIS Alumni
Born and raised in a typical only-child Chinese family as a "lonely" Gen Z, I have always longed to have a sibling with whom we could support each other concretely and emotionally through all the challenges in life. This sense of loneliness that I felt at home was exacerbated by the isolation of online classes and quarantines due to COVID-19. However, although this "sibling dream" never came true for me, I was lucky enough to experience the latter part of that wish with my other family, the BCIS Alumni.
“Maybe you can tutor me in math, lolll.” I remember sending this flippant message along with a flyer of recruiting alumni mentors from the BCIS Alumni’s Instagram Story to Eva (Class of 2017), the current president of BCIS New York Alumni Association, three years ago, only wishing to start a casual conversation like we usually do. Yet, as we began to discuss the possibilities of a mentorship program, we soon realized how alumni could provide precious intellectual and empirical inspiration for current students at BCIS in their future endeavors. Alumni discussion panels, “Coffee with Six,” life hacks for studying abroad, literature recommendations…Keywords jumped into our chat box as ideas stormed through our minds.
As soon as school started in August 2019, I shared these ideas with Mr. Clark and Gaia from the Alumni Relations Office, a new department that had recently been established, and we began to construct a more comprehensive plan for BCIS' first Alumni Online Panel in collaboration with BCIS New York Alumni Association.
Profound discussions on life abroad and lighthearted stories naturally intertwined throughout the panel. This opportunity helped student audiences take a sneak peek at life after high school and be encouraged by alumni stories as they take one step at a time on their journey of achieving their ultimate dreams. Through this panel, the panelists were also able to virtually reunite with their BCIS friends.
Later in the year, with the aim of organizing more alumni networking events, I gathered six like-minded friends to host multiple subject-focused alumni panels, conduct alumni interviews, write alumni articles, and more. This laid the foundation for the future BCIS Alumni Network Enrichment Activity, which now boasts over 40 student members.
The journey was not without its challenges, but these obstacles allowed us to enhance our interpersonal skills while working as a group and our concrete understanding of the world. From coordinating meeting times with alumni across different time zones to conducting in-depth research before each interview with alumni from various industries, we experimented with new ways of communication to effectively present these pearls of wisdom to our audiences. Balancing this workload alongside our school responsibilities proved to be an additional challenge.
However, as all members of the BCIS community strive together towards the common goal of fostering stronger and more meaningful connections between alumni and the school, the initial sense of isolation caused by COVID-19 quietly dissipated, even though the majority of the work was accomplished remotely.
Over the past 12 months, the bond between alumni and the school has grown even stronger. Four BCIS alumni and students collaborated authentically on the project of designing, programming and launching the BCIS Alumni Portal. This portal provides opportunities for alumni to stay connected with the school and inspire other students through their personal journeys and experiences.
Crystal (Class of 2023), one of the student portal designers, expressed, "I have learned a lot from the process and truly felt the power of teamwork. Professionally, the team environment also motivated me to become a more critical visual designer, as one slight adjustment may result in half or even an hour for the coding team to fix the code. While I had some experience with website design in the past, this was a unique experience as I created a tangible product with numerous users. I feel proud of our team's accomplishments."
With the portal now populated with organized information about BCIS family members, and with COVID travel restrictions easing, our BCIS community can once again reconnect with new and old friends through events like the annual 10-year online reunion, reunion gatherings in Beijing, Australia and USA, Alumni Forum, and more.
This year, as a member of the graduating Class of 2023, I have also transitioned from being a high school student to becoming an alumna. I will always cherish the genuine and invaluable wisdom passed down to us by our “big sisters and brothers”. However, in addition to continuing to make similar contributions as an alumnus in the future, I aspire to foster a sustainable relationship between current students and alumni by passing on the torch to younger classmates, helping them become familiar with leadership roles, and assisting them in developing future alumni projects. Through this process, they too will recognize the importance of giving back to our community through knowledge and compassion. The mutual collaboration between alumni and the school continues to grow as we collectively build a shared home called BCIS.