“Congrats on completing your exams, (Y/N)! What are your plans going forward?”
“I don’t really know yet, but I’m leaning towards trying the JC path.”
“Oh, which JC?”
“I don’t really know yet, so now I need to think about where I can apply to.”
Sounds familiar? In this edition of the JC Life Series, we will be sharing some criteria which could help you decide on which JC to apply to!
To some, how far you have to travel on a daily basis is really important, because time is of the essence. If you feel that commute time could be used better in terms of relaxing, cramming studies or sleeping more, choose a JC that is not too far away from home! (i.e. up to 20-30mins away from home)
However, the commute home could create opportunities to bond with your friends. I took 2 hours travelling to and from school everyday. My friends and I would spend the 30-50 minute train/bus rides talking about school, our interests, and life in general. We got closer, and it was fun! (Though I usually slept on my way to school, and am still sleeping on my 1h journey to NUS)
If your school is near your parent’s office and they own a vehicle, you could hitch a ride to school or at least, midway!
2. Whether the JC offers the subject combination you want
Study what you are interested in, because sometimes the content can get really heavy and you may wonder why you took the combination in the first place! I took 4 H2 subjects: Geography, Chemistry, Mathematics, Economics (GCME) and I enjoyed it despite the amount of content to go through. Also, some friends were willing to travel to NJ from as far as JB because NJ offered Chinese Language and Literature (CLL) and they liked NJ’s environment!
If more unique subjects like Music, Art, Computing, or English Language and Linguistics (ELL) pique your interest, do check out the JC’s subject offerings, because some may not offer these!
3. Find out about the School Culture and students’ feelings towards their school
Generally, all JCs would have some kind of a studying culture. When you enter JC, the overall goal is to enter University, so we have to put in effort to study. However, a lot of us do not just study, we also make friends and participate in CCAs!
I loved my time in JC because besides studying, I had a pretty vibrant student life. As the Secretary of NJChoir (SH) for 2017-2018, my committee and I organised events like Choir Camp and Choir Concert (Cantabile), and set up a dunking booth for Funtasia (NJ’s biennial fundraising carnival). Also, I participated in concerts, both as an audience member and as a performer!
Moreover, I played sports (especially volleyball) and went out with my friends after school. There were also nights where my friends and I would lay down on the field and stare at the night sky while talking.
Even the canteen and cleaner uncles and aunties were really friendly and encouraged me in my studies!
Meet some of my friends and my Geography tutor, Mr Ong CM (3rd row 2nd pic)!
4. Go for Open House
During Open House, keep an open mind and ask the student ambassadors how they find the school culture, teaching styles and facilities. You can also talk to teachers, find out about the CCAs available and the school attire requirements and reporting times. Open house visits could also help you to decide if you like the campus.
5. Get advice from your teachers, family and friends
A lot of your teachers, family and friends would also want the best for you. You could approach them and listen to their suggestions! I recall asking my parents, teachers, and close friends where I should head to next. Two useful pieces of advice from my teacher, Mr Koh YC, was to do up a pros-cons table (see above) and to weigh in the distance factor in making my decision.
If you’re concerned about whether or not you will suffer in JC, well, the truth is that there will be tough times. You may wonder why you studied so hard but still cannot score a decent grade. You may worry if you will have friends by your side, or if you will get promoted to J2. Your workload may also start piling up due to time constraints or because you don’t understand the content that well.
That is part of the rollercoaster ride of the JC process. There were nights where I would be so anxious because I had so many things due, and some nights I felt like I was fighting my battles alone, but there are even more moments that I am grateful for. I didn’t meet the supportive friends that I cherish immediately upon joining JC, but I found them and nurtured our friendships over time.
JC also trains your time management skills. Prioritise what’s important and urgent and get them done first – that includes clarifying your doubts in class/consultations AND your mental health and sleep. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it!
This article is brought to you by Denise Ong. Denise is a first-year undergraduate in NUS Business School. She is currently interning with SNCF as a Marketing Intern. She is experimenting with designing on Canva and Photoshop, and enjoys playing volleyball in her free time.