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The Jump from JC to Poly, is it worth it?

Updated: Mar 16, 2021

Honestly speaking?

I didn’t do so well back in NYGH. In fact, my grades barely scraped past the grade requirements required for JC. So when the time came for me to choose my subject combination, it should have been obvious that I steered clear of the Sciences. After all, I sucked at them.

Yet, taking BCME (Biology, Chemistry, Math, Econs) felt like my safest bet for the future. The broader range of career options in the future meant that I did not have to limit myself now. I had to meet my vice-principal to “appeal” for that combi. He even advised me to consider the Humanities, in which I performed better.

Well, that was a warning sign I should have heeded.

Thinking about it, I already had doubts about going into JC. Yet back then, I felt like it was the only logical path that I could take. The fact that my parents wished for me to pursue a JC education did not help.

In JC, my struggles got way, way worse. I was unable to keep up with the curriculum and constantly questioned myself. It was a very bad time for my mental health. I began considering to transfer to Poly, but it felt like a giant leap of faith. On one hand, my friends were generally supportive of my decision, trusting that I knew best for myself. On the other hand, there were others who tried to persuade me to stay on in JC. They asked me to consider my options, to try a different subject combi, to retain in J1, and just keep trying again and again. After all, I have endured till the middle of my JC journey, so why stop now?

I hated the ideas that were being put in my head. I knew that changing my subject combination wouldn’t solve the main problem - I didn’t like what I was doing. It was a constant internal struggle that weighed heavily on me. Still, I believe that I knew from the onstart that I would be able to do better in Poly. Ultimately, I was very sure that I wanted to enter Uni, and taking the jump was my best shot at it.

I was scared about what others thought of me, especially since most of my friends were from my school. Even though I knew they would support me, I felt insecure leaving my comfort zone into a foreign environment. In fact, as our families all know one another, I honestly dreaded the inevitable gossips.

I felt like it was a giant step into the unknown. There was no one around me, not even my family, who could tell me what Poly was like, and I had little idea of how my life would turn out. Furthermore, as the application period timings did not line up, I was stuck in a limbo for a while - having left JC, yet still waiting for my Poly application results. The feeling of waiting endlessly sucked.

In the end, I made the switch to Mass Comms in Ngee Ann Poly. I felt like my entire life has been uprooted, and I was full of both anticipation and wariness. How would my life turn out?


The Leap of Faith

Going into Poly was an intense culture shock. Unlike JC, I felt like one of the defining traits of the Poly experience is diversity. The people from my batch were so different! There was a large age range, from those 1 year younger than me to those a few years older. Most of them had more experience than me, with multiple plans and jobs outside of school. They were starting and running businesses, doing gigs in bars, etc… I was so amazed and kind of embarrassed….What have I been doing with my life? I realized that I had to be way more adventurous and productive.

As expected, there was a bit of a barrier that formed at first. I couldn’t help but feel lowkey judged by others, as I was someone who transferred to Poly from a “prestigious” JC. In the long run none of that ever mattered, but I could sense that there was a stereotype that JC students are more stuck-up and arrogant. Thankfully, the barriers came down quickly, and I found a new family.

The workstyle in Poly was another massive change. In JC, the end goal has always been A-Levels, and most of our studying was done in the few months before major examinations. However in Poly, the grind for a good GPA never, ever stops. There is also much more hands-on work and projects compared to more “bookish” and theoretical studying that was done in JC.

In Poly, portfolio is EVERYTHING, especially in a course like Mass Comm. We would have to conduct shoots to build up our portfolio and also help others in their own shoots, and I found myself absorbing new skills and tools like a sponge. There was just so much to learn! This process also brought out humility in me, having the mentality that although some of my friends and classmates were younger, their experience and expertise would prove useful if I dared to ask for help.


Parting Advice

I really found a home at Mass Comm. It ignited an untapped passion within me that I didn’t know I felt so strongly about, and I’m so glad that I made this switch. It just feels like I am finally heading down the right path, a path forged on my own based on my passions.

But to be honest, Poly isn’t for everyone, I have friends who are the exact opposite of me, originally going into Poly but ending up in JC too. My understanding is that Poly would be great for you if you are very sure of where you are headed for the future. After all, once you enter a Poly Course, you will stick to it very closely, even if you enter Uni. Some things to consider would also be the lifestyle that you prefer. Are you a hands-on kind of person, or do you prefer to sit down and study?

My advice for those who plan to go Poly is to make sure that you have proper mental preparation. You must get ready to engage in endless group projects, work with people of different ages and backgrounds, many of whom will have more experience than you, meaning that you have to learn on the job.

Poly would really push you out of your comfort zone. I found myself doing things I never imagined could be part of my studies (from conducting street interviews to hustling on a film set). Working closely with your mentors is super important too, as their industry knowledge and experience is invaluable.

Contrary to popular belief, it is not harder to go to uni from poly as compared to JC. In fact, there is an increasing number of people going through the poly route nowadays. The main issue that would arise would be that your options would be more limited, based on the course of study you choose in poly.

Ultimately? I entered Poly without a clue of what I wanted. Now, I find myself thriving in the life that I chose for myself. And that is all that matters in the end.

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