On 3rd February, the J1s were ushered into the hall, not knowing what to expect. While some of us were visibly elated at stepping into the school of our dreams, some were still nervous and not sure of how well they would adjust to the new school environment. For those of us who had not come to VJ with an entourage of friends, it was all the more intimidating looking at the sea of unfamiliar faces around us.
We started off with a week-long orientation that was very enjoyable. After spending 3 days with our OG mates, we were then introduced to our classmates and then our various subject teachers. As a class, we stuck together most of the time in school — chatting during breaks in the canteen and studying together in the library. We also celebrated each other’s birthdays, which significantly accelerated the class bonding process.
These past four weeks of academic learning have been a new experience for most of us, who are not used to the multitude of lectures and tutorials that now occupy most of our timetables. As a result, we have taken away some valuable lessons from this experience.
Firstly, we feel that we have to exercise a higher level of independence and self-discipline in JC compared to secondary school. As 17-year-olds, we are expected to be disciplined in finishing tutorials and attending lectures. As 17-year-olds, we are expected to take initiative to consult teachers on anything we do not understand.
What’s more, even upon consultation, the subject tutors would not immediately provide you with solutions. The subject tutors in JC are really just guides. We have to be our own teachers, making sure we understand by diligently doing tutorials and revising after every lecture. Thus, we need to exercise time management too to ensure we have sufficient time to do so, yet still have sufficient hours of sleep. At the end of the day, we are responsible for our own A level results. If we choose to slack off, we would eventually lag behind and end up with undesirable results, disadvantaging our own future. During our first Math lecture, our lecturer cautioned us that H2 Mathematics is not a subject that you can do well in by spamming practice papers in the last two months, like how some of us did for O’s. Thus it was deeply ingrained in us that A levels is one notch higher and more complex than O levels. We ought to never be complacent and just slack off any time in this JC journey, or else the consequences might be too painful to bear.
Secondly, we have learnt that, contrary to common belief, VJ is not as overly academically intense as one might think. Thank goodness, we were proven wrong, and are instead surrounded by friendly, fun-loving people, who balance their social lives and their education well.
In addition, the horror stories we heard from our seniors who went to JCs, of people staying up very late just to complete assignments, and their subsequent severe cases of sleep deprivation, honestly made us a little scared to enter this new phase of our education. However, in reality, JC life, while not all smooth-sailing, has had nothing of that sort just yet. Most of us have been sleeping at relatively normal times for a healthy amount of time. For all this, we are immensely grateful to VJ, for having such a healthy school culture.
Lastly, we also learnt how to step out of our comfort zone. In the last 4 weeks, it has undoubtedly been a new experience stepping foot into an unfamiliar environment and meeting new people. For some of us, it has been an extremely daunting and scary experience stepping out of our comfort zone to get to know people. On the other hand, some of us have found it easier to assimilate to the new environment and make new friends. Regardless, everyone would have to admit that it was incredibly satisfying to make new friends and get to know each others’ classes better. Moreover, we also learnt that first impressions definitely do not last. People we thought were aloof and unfriendly turned out to be some of the warmest, kindest people we have ever met! This really goes to show that we should not be too quick to judge and take the time to get to know someone.
To sum it up, one piece of advice we got from a senior is be consistent in your work and don’t mug last-minute, and finally enjoy J1 life for now. Thus, we should all share these sentiments and look forward to our remaining time here in J1, ready to undertake all the challenges in JC life. Nil Sine Labore!
Davene Lye, 17A11
Isabel Kua, 17A14
Ong Yong En, 17A14
Gigi Liu, 17A15
Rachel Lim, 17S31
Caitlyn Teo, 17S43
Danish Uzair, 17S44
Lois Kok, 17S62