The day we received our JAE postings via SMS, I happened to drive past ACS(I) with my parents. I remember thinking: this school is HUGE. That was the first big change I was faced with coming to AC from SCGS.
Even though the SC population in ACS(I) is enormous (30+ in my year!), it’s still pretty intimidating to have about 500 mostly unfamiliar faces around. Having spent 10 years in an all-girls’ school, the boy-girl ratio was also a huge shock! (ACSI’s IP programme means that the gender ratio is skewed towards boys.) I was a clueless wanderer for the first few days, struggling through many new challenges: navigating the sprawling campus, remembering where the female toilets were, buying food from the SAC (a.k.a. the canteen) and getting to know the people in my OG, among others.
However, Orientation tends to take care of most of these problems. I was a bundle of nerves before school started, but it’s hard not to enjoy the orientation games and, in the process, get to know my future classmates and batchmates. As a wise close friend of mine put it, “Everyone’s just a (hopefully friendly) fellow human being!” Although facing a new environment is always slightly unnerving and takes some getting used to, ACS(I) is a very friendly and welcoming place; those initial jitters will soon wear off. Of course, I still got to see friends from SC around school everyday, but the school community is pretty well-mixed and inclusive anyway, you’ll undoubtedly get to meet many different people!
Even after the merrymaking of Orientation ends and lessons commence, life in AC is great. Academics and CCAs work very differently from back in secondary school, but I think SC has prepared me to handle the pressure well. I can’t deny that there have been moments where I felt like tearing my hair out while sitting in front of my laptop or wondered how I was going to finish my mounting pile of homework by Monday, but the school community here is immensely supportive and close-knit, which makes the journey extremely worthwhile and meaningful. Lessons and work aside, day-to-day school life in AC is interesting and enjoyable, whether I’m running to the SAC to buy iced tea or snacks, strumming on the guitar in class, or just chatting with friends. (It’s best to come experience it for yourself!)
I think the best advice I can leave you with is to come with an open mind and enjoy school life here — there’ll be ups and downs, but it’s an incredible experience anyway! All the best 🙂
Claire Soh (6.18) is from the graduating batch of 2015.