By Azzahra Osman (22S03P), Keiran Koh (22S06M), Ting Kaily (22S03P)
Entering a new school may be hard for many students—making new friends, adapting to unfamiliar surroundings and embracing a whole new school culture can be rather overwhelming, especially so for those setting foot onto RI’s soil for the very first time. We’ve all heard the horror stories about coming to a junior college with the IP stream, and it’s normal to be afraid of the potential segregation when two-thirds of the cohort comprises students who have already known each other beforehand.
Fret not, though, for Raffles Press (RI’s most credible student journalists) is here to tell you that it’s not as bad as it seems! We need not worry because most classes are a pleasant mix of students from RI, RGS and JAE streams in a balanced ratio. To be very honest, each year’s cohort is so gargantuan, even some RI boys and RGS girls have never crossed paths before.
Disorientated with Orientation
You’ve probably seen numerous Instagram stories from your seniors during JC orientation period—from dining out with their big group of new friends to seemingly cringeworthy batch dances. Orientation is not that different from what your seniors portray it to be. It can be one of the most memorable events you will experience in your JC life, if you make the most out of it. Even so, it is understandable that JAEs may fear the difficulty of making new friends. This will not be as big of a worry once you find out that your fellow RI/RGS OGLings most likely don’t know each other that well too. Nearly everyone feels like a lost sheep at orientation.
On top of that, unlike other IP schools, RP students do not have a separate orientation when they first enter the school. With each orientation group evenly split into a 1:1:1 ratio between RI, RGS and JAE students, it won’t be as intimidating as it seems. Even if this doesn’t convince you enough, you’ll grow to appreciate your RP friends more once you see how they lead your entire OG to victory during school cheer games.
Ultimately, the point of orientation is to have fun, get to know your new peers and adapt to your new school’s environment. Our advice would be to talk to as many people as you can—yes, you may feel that invisible boundary between RP and JAE students at first, but this is your chance to break the barriers. At the end of the day, everyone in your cohort (regardless of whether you’re a RP or JAE student) will have similar goals and experiences—to make the most out of these two short years and conquer the A Level examinations.
Now, time for some quick myth busting!
- Myth: RP students are snobbish and unwilling to mingle with JAE students
Busted: If you’re wondering if this is true, you’ve probably scoured through lots of JC AMA (Ask Me Anything) posts on r/SGexams to prove to yourself whether the IP-JAE segregation is indeed real. But we are here to dispel your fears—this is not true for the most part! Most RP students do have their own cliques, but the chances of them ending up in the same class as their friend groups are very low (mind you, there are nearly fifty classes in one cohort). Also, class bonding activities will be arranged after orientation for you to interact with your new classmates. This ensures that all students, regardless of their stream, will be able to mix around. Most RP students are also keen to get to know you, so it definitely isn’t right to say that they are unwilling to interact with the JAE students. In fact, you’ll find that your RP friends are some of the friendliest and most down-to-earth people you’ll ever meet—and who knows, they may even stick around as lifelong friends!
A fellow JAE Rafflesian testified this herself,
“I personally believe that once you don the Raffles uniform, such differences cease to exist and an IP student is indistinguishable from a JAE.”– See Man Teng (22S03A)
- Myth: Raffles is a “mugger” school.
Busted: While a large majority of the student population are undeniably hardworking, we would not go so far as to label the school as a “mugger school”; we most definitely know how to let our hair down at the right time!* (Most Rafflesians strictly abide by the maxim, “Work hard, play hard”.)
Besides, there are many school events and council-initiated activities throughout the year to help alleviate the stress and make our school lives more vibrant and enriching. In addition, if the stress of constantly being surrounded by extremely diligent and brainy schoolmates is getting to you, you can always feel free to approach the Raffles Guidance Centre, Peer Helpers or even your tutors! (Trust us, your tutors are all very friendly and approachable! So long as you are willing to seek help when you need it, adequate help will definitely be given to you by the school.)
*Don’t take this literally though, school rules still apply!
- RP students have an edge compared to JAE students when it comes to academics, joining CCAs and attaining EXCO positions
Busted: While it is true that the RP secondary school syllabus prepares the students for the As, all the content in the A level syllabus will be completely covered In JC. Though your RP counterpart may be slightly more familiar with some of the JC content, a bit of revising and proactive reading will ensure you are all caught up.
As for joining CCAs, everyone is at a level playing field. The CCA spots available are split evenly amongst the RI, RGS and JAE stream, with one-third of the slots reserved for each group. No one is given an advantage over another as both RP and JAE students have to attend the CCA trials.
Likewise for securing EXCO positions, it is not true that RP students necessarily have an edge because for most CCAs, all candidates must go through several intensive rounds of interviews first as well as present speeches to the entire CCA, which enables them to have the chance to connect and appeal to their CCA mates with their vision and goals. Ultimately, EXCO positions are awarded to students based on their competency and how well they are able to get along with their peers. Hence, if you maintain a friendly and outgoing disposition, and showcase your passion fervently, the odds will certainly be in your favour.
“My classmates, CCA mates and student councillors have made the RI experience very enjoyable and rewarding. RI has given me the chance to step out of my comfort zone, explore my passions, better myself and I’m very grateful for it.” – See Man Teng (22S03A), JAE student councillor and HH vice-captain
At the heart of it all, should you join RI, join because you aspire to achieve greater heights and fulfil your greatest potential. There is an array of opportunities available in RI that goes beyond academics and ensures the holistic development of a student here. But, most importantly, it is up to YOU (hey you ;)) to decide how you want to live this 2-year journey.
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