JC or Polytechnic?

After GCE 'O' Level, what's next?

I am sure many of us have asked this question ourselves and tried to gather as much information as possible to know which path to take after the secondary school education. I was actually aiming for a local Junior College (JC) in my lower secondary. But as I grew older, my taste and preferences changed. I see the world in a different perspective, I understand myself more. I know I couldn't stand the sight of Chemistry/Chinese/and whatsoever for 2 more years. And that's how I ended up in a local Polytechnic.

P/S I may have flaws in writing the things in JC because those are just what I heard/known from friends and not what I experienced it myself.
And that to say, things in Polytechnic may not apply to all polytechnics in Singapore.

So what's exactly are the differences between local Polytechnics and JC in Singapore?

1. The subjects/modules we are taking.

Say goodbye to languages (unless you are in FMS/those courses like Chinese Media), language is NOT a must thing. There will not be a lesson specifically on languages but that does not means teachers no longer cares about your grammar and spelling mistakes (well, I am sure Word Doc will do the job in correcting them all). We no longer have Physical Education (PE) lesson every week. And everything we learn are according to the different courses you take. For example, I am in Business, so I will have lesson regarding business IT, business communication and more.

All these are really interesting because you are really learning something useful to help you in your working environment in the future (and also the drama/backstabbing LOL). There are no more maths questions on "Find x". Like seriously, I don't remember encountering something in life that required me to use algebra and finding XYZ.

Oh and of course, lots of projects for you to be done my friends.

In conclusion, It's more practical and hands on.

Something like secondary school where you guys have subjects such as Chemistry, Physic, and many more. Just that now it's more in depth and not so simple, there are also additional subjects such as econs! And all those H1,H2,H3 thing that you have to get used to it. Of course you guys will still have project (PW) but it's not that much as compared to Poly students.

2. The dress code

In poly, you can dress in anything (but not too revealing). Even your pyjamas and slippers are acceptable. You can even cosplay to school if you want. There are pros and cons for this because firstly, it means you have to think about what to wear EVERY SINGLE DAY. It's so tiring waking up, looking at your wardrobe finding something to wear. People are judgmental about dressing so be prepared to be judged on why you wear this/that. But it also mean you do not have to wait until weekends to get to wear your favourite clothes and during special occasions like Halloween/Christmas/whatsoever you got to dress up to school!

But in JC, it's  UNIFORMMMMM (so like secondary school), but not too strict on your attire...depending on your school. Since everyone is wearing the same set of uniform, no one is going to judge why are you wearing the same set of clothes everyday LOL.

3. The school timetables & holidays

We have days where we start late in the afternoon, or as early as 8am (and you JC/Secondary school people will complain that you guys have lesson that starts at 730am etc). There are days that we have no lesson AT ALL. So we don't have a fixed schooling hours. Well, this is of course different if you are in RP (for example), where they have a fixed timing everyday. This really depend on the school itself.

Holidays for around 2 months (or maybe even more) for every semester break has driven all my JC  friends crazy. Why is it so? I have a 2 weeks break after 2 months of school reopen and then 2 months break thereafter (or even lesser). Technically I am paying my school fees for holidays more than I actually stay in school for lesson. And if you were to minus off my holidays, I could have finish my poly within 2 years or so.

It's pretty much like secondary school, they have the fixed set of timetables, fixed reporting time and all. But lessons are in lecture halls like poly and unlike classroom teaching in secondary school. Holidays are during the same period as secondary and primary, which means they have holidays like Youth Day but poly does not have (like seriously, we are SAME age as them).

4. The Public Transport fares

Somehow somewhat, ever since you go to poly, you became an ADULT but we are actually the same age as the JC students. This is confusing because we got to enjoy student offers in places like KFC  for student meals but not in public transport. But I am so glad there is concession right now because it save almost half of my transportation fares. JC students will get to enjoy student price which means no change from secondary school.

5. Different stress

Nobody in JC is going to believe us or in fact, no one (unless you are in poly yourself) will trust us if we say poly isn't slack. A lot of them have the mindset that poly is easy and slack.


It's not. We might seem to be more 'slack' but we do work our ass off to secure good grades in school. Why do people assumed that we are not so stressful? It's because in poly, you have camps, camps and more camps. Events one after another and lots more! While JC will have something like open house and all but it's definitely not as much as poly. And a lot of them will rather focus on their studies and A level. And speaking on A level, it's actually 'better' in a sense that it's a one time off examination to determine your future in university.

In poly, you have to work so hard for 6 semesters (3 years in total) in order to secure a good place in university. All work in poly are going to be calculated in our GPA and once you screwed up one semester (or even one small test), that's the end of your cum GPA. See how stressful it is!! And not to mentioned that in business courses, we are all so competitive (even teachers have been telling us about that), it's adding stress in our lives.

Yes, A level is stressful because once you screw up, you have to retake it in another year. While you might say, GPA can be pulled up in the next semester or so. Definitely have their pros and cons. I will never understand the pain of an A level students because I didn't experience it myself (although I would wished to experience it). Similarly, JC people will not understand the pain a poly student have to go through. Different people view it differently.

In conclusion,

I feel that poly, there is no room for mistake. It's not really a journey of learning from your mistakes. Yes, I might learnt from it but I can't change much of my final result (cum GPA) in the end. Thus, a small mistake is a costly mistake. Once you made a mistake, you may lost hope and faith in studies because nothing can change that mistake.
BOOM, it's stuck with you forever.

But I have to mention this point, I feel that I have learnt quite a lot of soft skills and knowledge that helped me a lot in life (too much to type). Although result is something that we all look into at the end of the day, but hey, at least overall as a person, 
I improved.

In JC, you can learn from your mistakes (at most your school report card looks ugly), but at the end of the day it's your A Level certificate that matters anyway. So you will still learn and excel from the mistake that you have made. P/S as long as your mistake does not cost you to retain a year or so.

Sometimes, I will just tell myself, it's a route that I have chosen, it's a route that I will finish it till the end no matter what. And sometimes, I wished life isn't so result oriented.

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