Coming From: SJI


From Josephian to ACSian

Trading The Green and White, which I had proudly donned for 10 years for The Red, Blue, and Gold was something that I had never imagined myself doing. Being a member of the Lasallian[1] community for my entire education up till JC, it was an unspoken rule: heading over to our bitter rivals was something that would be frowned upon. Whenever I go back to SJI to visit, teachers will always react to my reply to their question of “Eh? What school are you in now?” with a joking frown. People still ask, “Why ACS? If you wanted to do IB, why not SJI?”

A New Window on the World

Having a Lasallian education for the most part of my life is something I will always look back upon very very fondly as the years I could easily describe some of the best in my life. However, as much as I loved the community of SJI and what it stood for, I wanted to challenge myself. Being thrust into a totally unfamiliar community was, to me, the ideal way I could experience more of the world and expose myself to a whole new exciting possibility of fresh personalities and perspectives. This, along with my desire to study the International Baccalaureate Programme, made ACSI a clear option. After days and nights of deliberation, countless phone calls and long talks over dinner, I submitted my JAE Application Form just about 2 hours before the deadline.

First Impressions

Culture-wise, I must admit that I was rather surprised at the similarities of my new school and my alma mater. The all-boys vibe, the constant emphasis on the so-called SHIELD values etc- it was pretty nostalgic. Something that really affirmed my decision to come to ACSI was the Mission, Vision and Values session we had as part of Orientation. The knowledge that I was coming into a community that prioritised values and character development at the centre was heartening, to say the least.

Perhaps something I underestimated was the ease at which one can assimilate into the school community. My fellow batch mates from AC and OGLs were nothing short of welcoming and inclusive, doing their best to ensure I felt part of this community they saw as family. However, I still did feel a sense of detachment from the people around me. I wouldn’t say it was the fault of anyone, but rather, an occurrence that is inevitable for new students. These guys had been together for the past 4 years, or more, and they knew each other inside out- surely they would feel more comfortable with each other. More often then not, I found myself looking in from the outside, not being able to segue into the pre-existing social circles. Had I stayed on in SJI, this definitely would not have been the case.

Looking back on the past year, I must say I’ve really enjoyed myself in this special community- my newfound second home. This community of fiercely loyal students, this school which places a heavy emphasis on values, this family that supports each other through and through. I came, nervous and apprehensive, but my AC story is one of finding love and acceptance in a school I’d never imagine I would join in the most bizarre of realities.

If there are any helpful ramblings that I could offer new, incoming Year 5s, it would be to give these things time. Getting comfortable in a new environment is something that’s long-drawn, don’t ever feel deflated, but rather, keep an open heart and seize opportunities to get to know others. It always helps to be someone who actively and genuinely seeks is interested in people around you- the community here in ACS is more than glad to welcome you in! It’ll be alright; it’s just a matter of time. Just know that for whenever you feel like a fish out of water, there’s someone who’s been in your place, and that someone would gladly lend a listening ear, a helping hand or just be a friend. 🙂

Christopher Low (6.14) is from the graduating batch of 2015. He was president of the student council and vice head prefect in SJI.

[1] An umbrella term used to classify schools founded by the La Salle Brothers- started by St John Baptist de La Salle- with SJI being the first Lasallian school in Singapore.

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