Raffles Junior College, the college wing of the Raffles family of schools, was set up in 1982. In 2009, it was re-integrated with Raffles Institution (Secondary) and now known as Raffles Institution.
Raffles Institution (Junior College)
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If you have spoken to any Rafflesian, you may have heard of the legendary Haw’s Kitchen. Loved by many for the delectable fried fish ee mian and mouthwatering Tom Yam Thursdays, there is always a long queue at this unassuming stall in our cafeteria.
After a long tiring day of classes, the best thing to sit down to is a piping hot bowl of steamed fish you mian, my personal favourite from Haw’s Kitchen. The noodles are always cooked to perfection, served with a tasty broth. The stall aunty also lets me add as much ikan bilis, shallots, green onion and tomato slices as I please.
Even when I revisited my alma mater as an alumnus, the friendly auntie remembers me and thanks me for returning. Haw’s Kitchen has definitely been an indispensable part of my JC life, and is now a fond memory.
The first year at Raffles Junior College (RJC) was tough. From the beginning, I was one of the oddballs who did not hail from any Raffles affiliated school but decided to start my college education at RJC on the sheer strength of the school’s reputation for academic excellence. There is a large majority of students who already know one another, so it was intimidating being one of the few who were outside the Raffles fraternity.
Having come from a bilingual secondary environment, I found it difficult to adjust to a comparatively westernised school culture. All my classmates spoke impeccable English and were plugged into the latest US pop tunes. So for the first few months, I had to get accustomed to a new school culture while reaching out to my classmates. At the same time, the flexible time table at RJC tested my self-discipline to the limit. Initially abusing this new found liberty, I played truant on many occasions, but this was reflected in my results as I got crappier scores on each successive test. This did not escape my vigilant tutors who were monitoring my tutorial progress. So even without scrutinising my attendance record, it was evident through my lack-lustre academic performance that I was not 100 percent engaged. Being seasoned tutors, I was probably not the first to have mis-used my time at RJC and was counseled on how to adapt my study habits. This proved to be invaluable advice, as I realised that the discipline established at RJC, stood me in good stead even as I progressed through varsity years.
So I was glad I managed to sort out my life during the first year, as the second year proved to be even more taxing in terms of time and energy, with extra lessons and expectations to participate in various sporting and social activities. Be prepared to work hard during the second year. Having gone through the rigors, it is definitely worth the extra effort as it lays a solid foundation for further educational pursuits. Exercising self-control and discipline is really one of the keys at RJC. Good luck!
With RI’s full-white uniform resembling the PAP’s, there was an old joke that all RI students were destined to become politicians. Uncannily, RI did produce a significant number of politicians over the years – and I believe it was by no means a coincidence.
Beyond the 'A's and gold medals that the school is often defined by, RJC certainly has an infectious culture of challenging limits, redefining possibilities and a “just do it” mentality, which seems to steer students towards leadership and activism. In my 2 years there, student-led initiatives of all forms were common place, and I was always particularly amused by our unusually long morning assemblies arising from the sheer volume of student activities that needed to be reported on!
The close camaraderie between students and teachers is definitely something I miss the most. We had a most excellent and dedicated team of teachers who were not only concerned about our grades, but more importantly, our overall learning and development.
Overall, the well-balanced and stimulating environment in RJC has brought out the best in me today, and is definitely a highlight of my student years.
Coming from the Humanities Programme with our own classrooms and lecture halls and even our own canteen, my friends and I have been pretty much isolated from the rest of the school. However, I thoroughly enjoyed myself in the two years that I've been in RI.
I love the school spirit. I love how everyone is so talented and smart and awesome at the same time. I love that we are a congregation of the best. However, this does not make me an elitist, nor does it mean that we look down on others. In this environment of the best, I am able to soak in so much from everyone around me and go up to the next level in my thinking. I am definitely not as good as most of them. However, rather than feeling discouraged, I squeeze as much as I can from my teachers and friends to learn and to improve myself.
Come to RI, because you are who you are because of the people you mix with. If you hang out with people who are a notch above you, inevitably, one day you will reach that notch too.
Raffles Junior College, despite expectations, is not wholly populated by pompous individuals dressed in alabaster hues, walking around with their noses perpetually stuck either in the air or a book. Having come from the school myself, I can assure you that while we have our share of quirks, by and large there is little difference between RJC and any other school.
It is not true that we spend all our time in the school engaged in philosophical musings, conversing softly in perfect Received Pronunciation as we stroll along manicured lawn. Rather, there is the more common racing down the corridors from class to class, with the occasional pungent oath in Hokkien as people are shoved out of the way. Not that different from the rest of the schools.
However, perhaps due to the high levels of academic excellence expected from her students, there are cases of deliberate sabotage, attempts to prevent others from studying. Textbooks have been stolen, ink spilt on notes, bags left unattended mysteriously vanish. While such cases are thankfully rare, it does show a seedier underside to my school.
But then, the good and the bad are often inextricably linked. My experience in RJC has been a bittersweet one, with its fair share of fast friends and unpleasant individuals. If you have the chance, you should definitely go to this school.
I was in the second batch to experience the new Bishan campus. The best part about my time in RJC was definitely the food. I fondly remember queuing up for nasi lemak with piping hot chicken wings from Stall 12. Each time I visit my old school, I will still buy the same thing without fail because the sambal has a lot of "kick" and the wings are oh so crispy yet juicy.
Today's students have it better though...they have a Student's Corner with Wii inside! Wow! How I wish I was born just a little later so that I could enjoy the new facilities.