Updated: Mar 16, 2021
If you are taking O'Level this year and intending to come to a junior college for your pre-tertiary education in Singapore, this question would have undoubtedly been on your mind. Continuing with our premiere blog series: Deep Dive into JC, we would answer this question from the perspective of Rohan Anil Khurana, an alumnus of National Junior College.
Getting to know Rohan Anil Khurana
What do you do in your free time?
I love crime-related thrillers, be it books or movies. I'm currently watching Brooklyn Nine-Nine on Netflix. I even considered pursuing criminal psychology when I was in secondary school.
How do you rate your school uniform?
I love how there's an entire history behind how our uniform was originally coloured the way it is now. I heard it used to be fire-proof too.
How was the food in NJC?
I used to love the Indian stall. My friends also love the mixed rice stall. Oh, and we even have bubble tea in school too!
Rohan's experience in NJC
How was your experience in JC?
There were many highs and lows during my time at NJC. I am grateful for the many interesting people I have met and teachers who are invested in us.
What was one of your most memorable experiences?
My orientation was fantastic! It was very well run and I got to mix around with the people from the IP track, as well as others from all around Singapore like me. Not necessarily part of orientation, but a month after, I got to spend a long-living experience at the school hostel. It was a unique experience living away from your family for such a significant amount of time. On the last night, we got to dress up to celebrate. It was indeed very memorable!
What CCA did you join in JC?
I was in Badminton and it was a mixed bag of emotions. I joined because I had been playing badminton since young and also really enjoyed my CCA orientation night! It was like a Scary Night where our seniors would be scaring us as we explored the school.
You said it was not the smoothest journey, why so?
Initially, I was not chosen for the CCA. However, I really wanted to get in so I appealed and eventually got accepted into the team. The training was fun but intense: we trained for around 8 to 10 hours every week, sometimes late at night and even early in the morning. I overestimated my ability to cope with such a demanding schedule and found myself distracted from studying. It was fairly alarming to me when I noticed how my grades were starting to go downhill. However, it was only until I was told that I may not pass J1 if I continued, that I had to face the harsh reality. I had to make one of the toughest choices of my life thus far, but I knew I had to quit.
It was definitely a difficult decision, what do you learn from that experience?
Jumping into a challenge without considering if there is a viable strategy to cope is never going to turn out very well. It is however, possible to foresee how many hours are required to set aside for studying and CCA so that would be something that could be done in the future.
What was your subject combination and why?
I took Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, and Geography. The main reason why I didn't take the common route of Economics but instead opted for Geography as I had enjoyed human geography in secondary school and also was not really interested in economic concepts like taxes.
What's the difference between Geography in JC versus in secondary school?
The main difference comes in the form of how the answers are expected from students. In secondary school, as long as you have a good grasp of the content, you should do well in exams. However, in JC, the focus shifts a lot more towards your argument and how you use the examples to illustrate the points. Taking Geography in NJC was made even more fruitful as our teachers put a great amount of effort into ensuring we have the best experiences. They helped us brainstorm ideas for our essays, gave us detailed notes, and even planned field trips for us.
What challenges did you face in your academic journey?
I thought that all I need to do at the start of JC was to keep up the same pace that brought me over the finishing line a few months before during O'Level. However, this mentality, in hindsight, was not suitable. In JC, students have to go through tutorials nearly every day along with lectures and thus what one should do is make sure that one steps up their pace as compared to their O'Level year.
What competitions did you join in JC?
I joined the Chem-E Challenge organised by NUS Chemical Engineering in June of J2. I came across it on Google Classroom, which is where we get notifications related to competitions or lessons materials. The experience was positive as I learned about how the science concepts I was learning at the time could be applied in the real world.
What kind of profile of students would thrive in your school's environment?
I think a student who enjoys studying, is academically inclined and looking for opportunities to hone their leadership skills, would do very well in NJC.
And finally, what would you have done differently or what are some pieces of advice you have for our readers?
I would have made better use of my time and set more realistic goals. For advice, don't get demoralised even if you get the worst of grades, use that as a motivation to work even harder.