Catholic Junior College was founded in 1975 and was the third junior college of Singapore and is located at Whitley Roads along with their own hostel for international students.
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Few years back, I attended Catholic Junior College for my tertiary education. Looking back, I can safely say that it's the best 2 years of my life so far. Despite being a catholic school, the college defies stereotypes of it being boring and dull. Though discipline rules are strict, the college embraces learning through fun and building bonds between each of us as individuals.
Examinations are taken seriously but celebrations and class bonding times are never forgone. The college also sent us on OCIP trips as a class which we greatly appreciated and thoroughly enjoyed. My class did very well for our A levels and when it was time to leave, we took with us not only sterling academic results but also fond memories of our JC days and strong friendships which will never cease to exist.
come and spin the wheel of mediocrity
I went to junior college, and this is where they said, here we all stop "being spoon-fed" and "memorising notes word-for-word". (Here stands the great, revolutionary institution which will selflessly ingrain in you intelligent new ways of thinking which are all you will really need in the world, in a fifth of the time you spent in primary and secondary education.)
We'd spend an hour devoted solely to the argument on how square pegs cannot be fitted in round holes; creativity, flexibility should (definitely! of course!) be encouraged. And then the bell would ring, we'd move off and sit in the next little boxy classroom studiously programming our brains to think out-of-the-box (yet in sync with the teachers' and everyone else's, obviously).
This is how, we figured, we could all ace the big As and move easily into the fantastically nondescript rest-of-our-lives. (Surely this is what all that critical thinking nonsense is about. It couldn't really be about using our brains.)
Well I went to junior college, and in my humble opinion (one of those phrases you should definitely memorise for General Paper Application Questions!), it blows your mind, all right - straight out of your head.
Really needed it!
I think its funny how things almost never turn out the way I expect it to...It’s almost as if I’m not supposed to make elaborate plans for my future or attempt to visualize the next three months of my life.
I was posted to Catholic Junior College; a school I didn’t even know existed. But I can say with utmost conviction that coming to CJ was the best thing that ever happened to me. It wasn’t just the best friends I made and the crazy fun I had, but it led the way for so much more.
I grew up with only bits and pieces of knowledge about my faith. And so, I had an inner conflict growing up: believing then not believing again and again. But indulging in those two years of really taking a step back to contemplate my myopic and (hidden) self-aggrandising ways pushed me so many steps closer to strengthening my relationship with God. Be it through morning reflections, or yearly Catholic retreats or through the teachers that actually cared about our well-being, I became that much stronger and grounded as an individual and it was exactly what I needed in my hectic life.
I had my ups and downs the past two years and I mean the really extreme two ends of emotions but I learnt that everything happens for a reason no matter how unexpected it may be, so embrace it!
CJC - An awesome 2 years of my teenage life
It was the year 2006 when I embarked on a learning journey during my days in Catholic Junior College (CJC). A hot-blooded teen eager to prove his worth, it wasn’t any surprise that I participated actively in all my school activities.
It thrills me to reminisce about those days where my peers and I would hang out at CJC’s stadium after our volleyball sessions over a hearty can of coke. We would chat away till evening approached before we would march off for a scrumptious meal to end the day.
I was also a popular “mother hen” back then being appointed as the class chairman. It delights me to organize beach outings saturated with teenage gossips and child-like fun whilst we embraced the sand, sun and sea.
Alas, being a full-fledged working adult currently makes me yearn for the days I spent, the memories that were created during my college years. Just reminiscing about the good old days never fails to place a smile on my face.
Just like home
It's hard to sum up a year's worth of experiences. How do you document the fun and laughter shared, the stress endured, the tears shed?
CJC has taught me so much - but the biggest thing it has taught me is the meaning of family. When CJC students mention the phrase "a CJ family", they mean it and it strikes a chord in me whenever I hear that phrase.
CJC has taught me that your family members aren't just people you are related to by blood - they're the people you share your hopes and dreams with, your pain and sorrow; people who stick with you through thick and thin no matter what comes. These people don't just include fellow schoolmates but also teachers.
I was blessed to be taught by a set of highly capable and dedicated teachers who, despite having to teach a class of monkeys that either talked or slept their way through lessons, never gave up on us. CJC makes you feel at home because it is home; a home you share with family.
I will never forget my first year in CJC - from skipping Economics lectures occasionally (the lecturer, we all suspected, was used as a cure for insomnia) to racing to the canteen during break like wild beasts to queue up at Noodle King for one of the best mee pok in Singapore, all these are fond memories I will hold close to my heart as I embark on the final stage of my journey in CJC.
A Fulfilling Two Years
My experience in Catholic Junior College was thrilling, yet traumatizing at the same time. Thankfully, I was blessed enough to have gone through the rigours of ‘A’ Levels with my bunch of genuine and fun-loving classmates. Together we shared many historic moments, like climbing down from the second floor and literally running away from our teachers. We also formed a special bond with our Dean, as we always teased him about his decision to grow a moustache. Though many things have changed ever since I had left CJC two years ago, a small part of my heart still remains in my beloved alma mater.
This is not "The Party College".
In March 1994, I gained entry into "The Party College" after 5 months of inactivity. Didn't do well enough for the O Level Prelims to make it to any JC till that fateful day after the actual O Level results were released. The first logistical problem I had to solve was that of transport. Thankfully, CJC was (and still is) connected to my former home in Serangoon North by SBS service 132.
Back in 1994, way before the term Project PRIME was coined by some smart-alec in the MOE, CJC was a rather spartan campus. The buildings had started to show their age, perhaps not as bad as the old-NJC, but still it was bad enough. Paint was peeling in the most embarassing of places, pipes were choked or leaking, urinals were broken in some toilets but still there was much to love about the place.
The campus is surrounded by trees, plenty of them. It occupied high ground and had a commanding view of the then Police Academy across the PIE. The Whitley Road Detention Centre of the Mas Selamat Great Escape Saga was non-descript and still years away from being known by the greater public. We were still able to travel along Onraet Road to reach Mt Pleasant Road and beyond it the Bukit Brown cemetary complex. Now? Forget about it. You'll get shot by Gurkha guards if you try to do so. Simply put, there were many places for the adventurous to explore, runners to run and kids, well, be kids.
The CJC complex had many nooks and crannies where students of my time went to hide from boring lectures, to do some studying in relative serenity, or just hang out with friends. I loved going to the caretaker's quarters behind the canteen to hang out with the caretaker and enjoy fruits growing from tress that he cared for.
My favourite hangout was the computer labs located in what suspiciously resembled a dungeon designed to lock away nerds from the rest of the college population. There I spent many hours completing my computing project for the A Levels.
Now, close to 20 years after I left, CJC has been given a facelift, something like a botox treatment. The wrinkles are gone, replaced by some new additions to the architecture for the benefit of the current student population. Some of my old hangouts are gone, others altered beyond recognition. The school field where I discovered the joys of rugby is now smaller. Things change but every generation of CJC student will have their own share and versions of memories of what CJC is. We'll probably think that our batch of CJCians were the blessed ones and that subsequent batches are unlucky not to experience what we did. Perhaps it is true, the current batches of CJCians will never understand what AdCamp is, but yet again we'll never get to experience the facilities that they do now back in our days.
But one things does remain the same, all of us would have sung the bilingual school anthem, worn the same uniform and would have formed our own memories of what CJC is to us. Perhaps, if one day one of our kids actually goes there to study, he or she would have their own memories of the place.