I still vividly remember the first day of school.
I had experienced a mix of emotions because I was excited and yet super nervous. I guess everyone would feel similar on the first day of school. However, I felt that coming from a school that no one really knows of in AC, made this whole journey even more exciting and daunting than those that were originally from AC or better-known schools such as SJI (St. Joseph’s Institution), MGS (Methodist Girls’ School) or SCGS (Singapore Chinese Girls’ School).
You see, no one really knows one another on the first few days of school. You’ll be grouped into an OG (Orientation Group), well taken care of by your OGLs (Orientation Group Leaders), and given opportunities to communicate with your fellow OG mates through the typical self-introductions and ice breaker games.
However, when it’s time for recess, everyone would invariably choose to hang out with the crowd that they are already comfortable and familiar with. You would see large groups of AC boys with one another while there were smaller gatherings of MGS girls and SCGS girls alike. The remaining small groups in the canteen would comprise of students who had come from schools that were not well-known in AC. In my year, there were only 3 other girls from my secondary school (Anglican High School) besides me who had chosen to do IB in AC as well. While I had a few schoolmates, some other students were the only ones from their schools. That was my first recess experience at AC and it was a little uncomfortable.
I would say that it’s normal to not feel ‘accustomed’ or ‘at ease’ especially on the first few days or weeks of school. You might experience a ‘culture shock’ when you realise that the boy to girl ratio is 3:1 and everyone addresses their teachers formally as Sir or Madam and not ‘cher’, a colloquial term that students from other secondary schools commonly use.
Additionally, you may even feel a little lonely at times because you have a relatively small circle of friends in AC as compared to many other students who may already have made friends with other students before coming to AC. This may be true for you but trust me, things get better with time.
I worried a bit too much about how things would turn out and before I knew it, we were sitting in our OGs during breaks, everyone was starting to open up and we were all making friends! Furthermore, as you transition from your OG to your Year 5 class and participate in CCA activities, you will get to meet a wider group of people and find that you had made genuine friendships to keep and treasure.
Personally, one big reason for why I could assimilate well into AC was because my class was quite bonded and inclusive. However, I do know of other students who had a much tougher time when they got to AC. You might feel a little intimidated to make friends but don’t fret! Be positive, be genuine and be yourself!
If you have just begun your orientation and are feeling very worried, just know that tomorrow will be a better day!
Kalista Wan (6.13) is from the graduating batch of 2016.