Being A JC Student In Singapore

“How many JC students does it take to change a lightbulb? None, because junior college doesn’t teach life skills.”

While JC kids like me are easy targets for jokes about being incompetent nerds who “only know how to study”, they say there’s always some truth in every joke.

So, I turned to my peers to discuss if these stereotypes are true.

1. “JC kids are useless in the workplace.”

One of the most common stereotypes is that JC kids often lack soft skills (aka common sense) to navigate the working world.

One Poly friend theorised, “The JC system is very structured, so they probably feel lost when they don’t receive clear instructions on what to do.”

However, if there’s one thing JC kids have got, it’s stamina.

Months spent mugging for 12 hours straight was basically endurance training. Give a JC intern a task, and they’d be capable of going at it for hours without complaint (as long as you’ve given them a structure on how to do it).

2. “JC kids go to JC because they don’t have aspirations.”

True enough, the days following A-level results were filled with a resounding “What now?”, as all my friends had no idea what to do with their good grades.

In the pursuit of the paper chase, we dutifully studied as we were told, and assumed the next step would figure itself out by the time we got to it. But when we finally had the chance to pursue our passions in Uni, we didn’t know what those passions were.

Then again, the most hardcore muggers are driven by ambition. Those straight As could be stepping stones in their long-term plan of becoming doctors and lawyers.

3. “JC kids only know how to study and don’t know how to have fun.”

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. It’s no secret JC’s main focus is studying, and thus delaying fun times. Factor in the rigidity of the JC system and you’ve got students who wouldn’t dare to take time off.

But the lesser known fact is the rabak party culture which comes after As. To compensate for two years of stress, JC students go at it hard.

A friend of mine recounts: “After As, Student Council organised a party with lots of alcohol. My house captain got so drunk he started doing push-ups, threw up and then passed out in it.”

4. “JC girls damn guai.”

When you think of typical JC girls, you might picture the sweet girl-next-door, who never swears, drinks or cares much for appearances because she’s only here to study.

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But honestly, there’s a good chance these girls are just like any other Singaporean teenager, eager to let loose. More often than not, they’re the wildest ones at Uni orientation camps.

My senior who was an ex-Uni OGL recalls, “When the OG goes out clubbing, I notice it’s the overly-excited JC girls who get drunk. It’s probably because it’s their first taste of freedom and inexperience with alcohol.”

5. “JC kids are virgin losers.”

It’s hard to believe JC kids have any time to ‘get some’ between all that mugging, but they manage surprisingly well. (You may have heard of a certain JC’s infamous Staircase 6.)

Even my school wasn’t immune to the raging hormones of teenagers. The school admin created a security system for certain classrooms because students were heading there after hours for ‘bonding’ activities.

6. “JC kids are model students who never break the rules.”

Viral videos of fights breaking out in the school field or in the middle of a lecture hardly ever feature JC kids. You’d assume they’re the perfect well-behaved student every teacher hopes for.

But, while JC students don’t usually cause trouble, they do have their fair share of rule-breaking. Such instances include skipping lectures to do their own revision, and sneaking into the library in *gasp* the wrong attire.

7. “JC kids are arrogant and elitist.”

It’s true some JC kids can be real elitist assh*les. However, those kids are a minority.

Truth is, most JC kids couldn’t care less. To them, going to a JC is just the fastest way to get into Uni, and says little about a person’s character. It’s 2018, and most teens don’t believe in their parents’ traditional mentality that JC is the only way to succeed in life.

8. “JC kids aren’t team players.”

The JC system is structured such that classmates are used to working on their own. They’d be reluctant to share notes, let alone work together for a grade.

But even if group mates hate the process and each other, they suck it up, band together and make it work, because nobody wants to risk getting a B in a subject where almost everyone gets an A.

9. “JC kids are smart and get good grades easily.”

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When all you see at the end of the day is a certificate with straight As, it’s easy to assume JC kids can churn out good grades like it’s second nature.

But as any JC kid would know, the A-level journey is anything but a smooth ride. Behind the scenes, there are hours of consultations, late nights, and plenty of tears.

In some cases, students graduate with permanent psychological scars. There’s even a disproportionate number of students who experience depression during their time in JC.

10. “JC kids are competitive.”

There are barely any career prospects with an A-level cert unless it can get you into Uni. As a result, everyone fights for a place, with some not afraid to be selfish with their notes.

However, those who push and claw their way up as if getting on the Dean’s list is equivalent to bringing honour to their family, are a rare few.

In my experience, JC kids will help you when you ask for it—I’ve had half a class helping me on one math question.

11. “JC kids regret going to JC.”

As much as we joke about how we should have gone to Poly instead, there are moments throughout JC we’d never give up.

Some meet lifelong friends who supported them through the dark days of A-level prep. Others discover they’re way more capable of achieving success than they thought. In spite of the struggles, we wouldn’t trade our JC experience for anything.

JC Student Stereotypes

While stereotypes sometimes hold some truth to them, it’s impossible to generalise a whole cohort of Junior College students.

Ultimately, it’s up to the individual to be influenced by a school’s culture or be their own person.

Related: Zula ChickChats (YouTube discussion): JC vs Poly