It is early on the first day of school for the 2016 intake of Year Ones, and the atmosphere of anticipation and trepidation is almost palpable.
This reporter reached school really early, and so watched as the (really) early-birds enter the canteen, which was pretty much empty at the time. A few of them were accompanied by their parents, who had probably ferried them to school. As more people streamed in, there were a few who, upon seeing a familiar face in a familiar uniform, clung to them like lifelines as they waited for the announcement to assemble. By 7.30am, the canteen was a sea of colours as freshies clad in the blues, greens, whites of their secondary school uniforms mingled with the IP ones already clad in VJ’s signature yellow PE t-shirts, and the OGLs clad in black.
In the hall, there was a cacophony of laughter and shouting, as introductions and ice-breaker games took place. OGLs did their best to excite freshies, who were feeling a mix of nervousness and excitement, the great majority of them being immersed in a totally new environment. The usual; “Blow Wind Blow”, which helps to reshuffle the seating arrangement so they’re not seated only next to people they know, and “Hainanjifan”, which is a rhythm game that helps make everyone a little more comfortable with each other, because of the need for synchronicity, and that it makes it okay to fail in front of each other without judgement.(Editor’s note: And to make us suffer.)
Afterwards, they went for talks in the PT. We hope that everyone there was not nodding off, no matter how tempting it may be, because these talks are pretty important when it comes to choosing your subjects, which pretty much determine your life in VJ (and afterwards).
Later, during lunch, the Victorian Press’ reporters went round to get a check on the mood of the freshies. The general sentiment was that they found VJ ‘welcoming’ due to the ‘friendliness’ and ‘cheerfulness’ of everyone they met, and that they found orientation to be ‘fun so far’. (Hear that, planning committee? You’ve been doing a great job!)
Many of the J1s we spoke to mentioned how their OGLs played a large role in making the OG feel at ease. One mentioned that the difference between his expectations and the reality was stark, as it was much less awkward than he thought it would be. A few of them even said they had already spoken to and made friends with everyone in their groups!
Concurrently, the Subject Walkabout was being conducted in the hall, where booths were set up, with teachers of each subject available for inquiries. Polling the students wandering around got results generally reflective of the most common subject combinations. There were those confident of a PCME combination as their choice; there were those debating on which contrasting subject to choose, and the few Arts Fac students mentioned HELM and GELM as primary choices.
To the rare few who showed strong interest in subjects like TSD or CSE, we wish you all the best. (You’re rare for a reason – they’re really not easy.)
After that, mass dances were taught – the Whiney Whiney and I Want You. The former is probably considered one of our signature dances, being one of the easiest to learn, and one of the most commonly performed. The latter is arguably one of the most difficult – with its complicated and varied moves. Simultaneously, tests and tryouts for the aforementioned ‘rarer’ subjects were held – a written test for KI, further mathematics, and art; and an audition for TSD.
The day ended with a bang with the OG (and Dark Side) performances, as cheers and screams filled the atmosphere. The OGLs finally showed off the elaborate costumes and weapon that they had spent months designing and constructing. The performers swung their swords, and clipped their scissors, and danced away, and in front of them, their minions (the other OGLs) kowtowed enthusiastically, much to the amusement of the J1s.
One often wonders how a school’s spirit is cultivated and passed on to the next batch, especially in VJ’s case, which is known for its sheer energy and rah-rah-ness. You only have to watch what happens in JCO to find out.
Yeong Su Ann
Additional Reporting: Sean Tan, Ajay Nair, Adam Ahmed Samdin, Samuel Chong, Zhan Hao