The excitement was palpable. The hall was abuzz with noise, with OGLs directing the J1s to their new orientation groups, and the J1s themselves holding friendly, if small, conversations with new acquaintances. Students entered quickly, some with friends, some alone, yet all eager to see what Victoria Junior College has to offer. Atlas 2018 had begun.

The OGLs started with the always entertaining icebreaker games, from Never Have I Ever to Concentration, with suitably entertaining forfeits. Sub-orientation groups across the hall were soon breaking off into constant giggles and laughter, and any initial awkwardness became a thing of the past. Ms Ek, the Principal, then took to the stage to welcome the J1s, now dubbed “freshies”. The main concept of Atlas 2018 was then presented through a remarkably well made skit video, with every orientation group given a thrilling introduction. To cap it off, OGLs gathered to dance to “The Nights”, one of the many school mass dances we would soon learn to love. The exceedingly high energy demonstrated in just the first hour of orientation would, as we soon found out, be but a mere prelude to the many things to come. We then headed to the Performance Theatre, where the welcome address and subject talks were held, and were thereafter released to complete thumbprint registration and get a taste of the subjects offered in VJ.

Day 2 of Atlas 2018 was similarly packed with excitement. The OGLs introduced us “freshies” to OG cheers, one of the highlights of orientations. We then embarked on the many sub-OG games, featuring a range of activities like modified Captain’s Ball, where players have to sit on the floor instead of running around the area. Following that, we partook in a mass dance activity in the hall, learning the ever popular Friendship Dance with our designated pairs, and the mass dance for I Want You. Ending off the second last day of orientation with the OGs, many sub-OGs gathered around their OG canvases to meet up and take pictures.

The next day of orientation was one to remember. Starting off with the inter-OG games, the “freshies” fought hard against rival OGs in a series of games on the school field. With many now pumped up and celebrating their teamwork as an OG, we went back to the hall to learn yet more mass dances and have a laugh at one another’s slip-ups. After lunch, we were introduced to the many VJ match support cheers, one of the defining characteristics of the Victorian culture. Following our relative mastery of the cheers, we then proceeded to the hall for the final part of our OG orientation. With a curiously new seating arrangement, we soon got to feast our eyes on the spectacle that were the performances by the various OGs. Each group wielded impressively designed OG-themed props entering the hall, and headed to the stage to hold a marvel of a dance. The audience, of course, never held back in their cheers and applause. The “freshies” readily participated in the subsequent mass dances, with the various dances punctuated by quickly intensifying cheers. We fittingly concluded with a fervent singing of the Victorian anthem and a climactic series of cheers. It was, simply put, the very definition of the Victorian experience.

Finally the day, which was awaited with bated breath, arrived, when the J1s finally got together in their respective classes. After assembly, every class went to play icebreaker games like Wacko to get to know the names of their classmates well. All were extremely excited to meet the people that they were going to spend the rest of their two years in Victoria with. The day started out with awkward interactions amongst each other, but most warmed up to their classmates by the end of the icebreaker sessions. Freshies also got to meet their CTs and got to know more about the JC experience from their respective tutors. The first day of class orientation was kicked off with an Amazing Race, whereby “freshies” went around exploring the Marine Parade neighbourhood, and they were given some tasks to complete as a class together, like having to take a picture with a random stranger and taking more pictures in the Marine Parade Food Market. Later, freshies returned back to school for lunch that was sponsored by the stalls in the school canteen. They sat together and talked with one another while having their lunch. Some classes even played games such as Werewolf while having lunch. Freshies also got the opportunities to meet and interact with their class seniors, who gave them advice on their subject combinations and how to deal with JC life, particularly the stress and the workload.

On Day 5, the freshies were tasked to create a travel itinerary that was “inclusive, sustainable and innovative”, as stated by the six house captains during our second assembly as a class. The freshies got together and split themselves into groups, and racked their brains together, extensively researching on the possible countries that they could travel together to. To make things harder, the hypothetical trip was only for 4 days, and had to be very cheap, but yet must be filled with activities that are not commonly taken part in in Singapore. This activity really allowed each class to get more bonded, because it required the freshies to talk with one another, and get to know each other’s likes and dislikes. After much deliberation, classes drafted their final itineraries and presented them to their respective houses, after which the best itinerary from each of the six houses had to be presented in front of the whole school, including the principal, vice-principals and teachers. Although drafting a travel itinerary as a class initially seemed to be a rather unusual activity during orientation, it helped bond the freshies together and created a unified class spirit.

The final day of orientation had dawned, and most freshies were not ready to get in the groove of JC life, with lectures, tutorials and for some, practicals. It was the last day for many to be able to play hard before they had to start working hard. The day started out with the iconic Sea Carnival. The freshies managed to bond with their senior classes by playing games with them, such as H2O and frisbee, or even just talking to one another while sharing snacks. Later on, some went on to take part in the ODAC structure with their friends while some others went as a class to play on the giant inflatable obstacle course. It was indeed tiring, however the hearts of many were full. Despite playing out in the hot sun for a very long time, Victorians were just as enthusiastic during the mass dances, and at noon, the Sea Carnival came to an end, with many freshies feeling joyful. Some took the opportunity afterwards to head out with their classmates or even with their OGs to have lunch and take part in activities such as ice skating before the Fountain of Wealth event, which took place in the evening of the same day. Victorians came together, seniors and juniors, to run around the Fountain of Wealth and rave together as one big Victorian family. It was the final chance for freshies to let loose and have fun before diving into the routine of school life.

Fountain Of Wealth

Victorians crowded around the FOW, brightening the scene with their yellow Fired Up shirts. Meeting up with their sub-OGs and classmates, everyone talked excitedly about the fun to be had for the next few hours.

The mass dance event at the FOW was, to many, the highlight of orientation, and an event all had looked forward to since walking into the hall on the first day. It was a chance to celebrate the new friendships formed over the past six days, to jam to crowd favorite songs, and to truly immerse oneself in the school culture as JC life began.

The OGs kicked off the event forming trains, circling the fountain as more and more J1s joined in. Others lined the fountain, high-fiving everyone who passed by them, all while sick beats boomed from the many speakers around the vicinity.

The time came when the OGs grouped together for mass dances. As the tune of I Want You began playing, any previous hesitation to jumping in to the hype disappeared as everyone danced their best to the songs they have practiced for days, laughing good-naturedly when someone took the wrong step, and cheering when everyone pulled off part of a song in perfect sync.

As the sky turned darker, the excitement only grew larger. The Victorian spirit was at its brightest, with friends and strangers alike coming together without inhibitions to dance and sing, and even people outside of VJC requesting to join in the dances. The event culminated in a series of cheers and mass dances, and everyone left with a memory to cherish for years to come.

Article by:
Niyanta Chowdhury, 17S46
Caitlyn Ann Teo Yi Chen, 17S43
Danish Uzair B Abdul Hamid K S, 17S44
Benedict Chang Yew Kit, 18A13
Lakshminarayanan Shreya, 18A11

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