My recent batch of O level graduates are about to receive their results soon. Personally, I am excited for them because they are about to begin a new stage in their lives.
That said, a few of them had doubts on which JC to choose. Conventional wisdom says that we should choose the highest ranked JC that we are eligible for.
However, I disagree.
Today I’d like us to consider some other factors when choosing a JC.
Avoid a JC that is too far away
Singapore might be a small country, but choosing a JC that is near to you has some surprising benefits.
A typical school day starts at 8am and ends at 4pm. On top of that, CCA would require us to stay back for an additional few hours each week. The days spent in school will be longer compared to the secondary school days, and we have not even factored in the time required for completing assignments and revision.
In JC, time is a precious currency. If time is money, then we should spend it wisely.
The less time spent travelling to school, the more time made available for other activities (sleep, exercise, revision, etc). Now, this extra time spent on a daily commute might not sound like much, but it adds up to a significant amount each year.
An extra hour of commuting each day adds up to a significant 15 full days each year.
SLEEP IS IMPORTANT
‘Why We Sleep’ is an important book that I had read recently. It was written by Matthew Walker, a neuroscientist and sleep researcher.
Not sleeping enough can lead to a whole bunch of problems for young adults:
• Higher risk for memory loss
• Poorer ability to pay attention
• Weakened immune system
• Less emotional control
Given that the A level syllabus is heavily reliant on the brain’s capacity for memory work, it is important to sleep at least 8 hours each night.
Just ask any JC students about this vicious cycle of sleeping late to catch up on school work, and then falling asleep during class the next day due to a lack of sleep. Students who doze off during lectures will then find it difficult to keep up with their school work.
JC students often complain about how little sleep they are getting each day. Oddly enough, I have also heard of instances where students brag about how little sleep they are getting. Perhaps it feeds into the mind set of “I sleep late, so I am getting more done.”
Unfortunately, cause and effect are not the same.
The positive effects of getting enough sleep each night cannot be overstated. Less time spent travelling to school allows you to sleep more.
The ability to pay attention during class is vital. This ability not only depends on sleep.
Diet and exercise matters too.
Students who exercise are shown to have a greater ability to concentrate. Exercise also has a memory-boosting effect. The runner’s high – the feel-good sensation after intense exercise – is real. This can also serve as a platform for motivation to learn in school.
Having a proper breakfast can keep the blood sugar levels steady, which improves focus and attention span.
We have a limited attention span each day. But, these are some habits that can be implemented to help us with learning more effectively. Time can be spent on building these habits instead of commuting to school every day.
Conducive study environment
If you prefer to study in school instead of at home, then it would make sense to choose a JC that has facilities like a study room or a library that has longer opening hours.
Please visit the schools during their open house period to make an informed decision.
A good teacher will definitely help to accelerate a student’s learning. Every school has good teachers, and well… some not so good teachers. There is an element of luck involved since we do not get to choose our teachers are.
Of course, life in JC is not all about academics.
Now some people will say: “bUt StuDiEs iS nOT EveRyThINg.”
Yes, academics is not everything and the social aspects do matter. To some students, their CCA is an important part of their lives.
Take note that some schools have a limited range of CCAs. This open house period would be a good opportunity to find out more about your desired CCA.
RELATIONSHIP WITH CLASSMATES
Some JCs are known to have a large intake of IP students.
Is it easy for you to break into well-formed cliques?
This question is highly subjective since it depends on the individual’s personality. The friends that you make will have a large influence on your JC life.
However, we don’t get to choose our classmates are. It is a factor that is beyond our control.
I’m sure that you must have heard of how different schools have unique “selling points”. Some schools are known for their fun hands-off approach, while others are known for their competitive study environment.
Usually, stereotypes exist because there is an element of truth to it. However, a school’s culture is everchanging. Some of these stereotypes might have been true 10 years ago, but not today.
So by seeking advice from current JC seniors might give you a more accurate picture of what to expect from a certain JC.
However my suggestion is to remember that your JC seniors have only spent time in one particular JC. Thus, their comparisons between different JCs are likely to be skewed.
Now, I want to be very clear. I am not saying that there is no value in seeking advice from current JC students. Just be aware that your actual experience might vary from expectations.
If you’re reading this and still have no idea which JC to choose, don’t worry!
Everyone is looking for something different when they go to JC, and I cannot speak for everyone.
However, most people choose to enter a JC so that they put themselves in a better position to choose a university course in two years’ time.
At the end of the day, there are some factors that will be beyond our control.
That said, I do believe everyone should adapt quickly to their new environment no matter where they choose to go to.