Exactly 7 days ago, we were preparing to sit for our last ‘A’ levels paper; this morning, we welcome the 7th day into the new normal– how strange it is that in a mere span of a week, we can be waking up to a vastly different reality. As I bask in the comfort of my room and the warmth from the sun creeping within, the rest of the Clementi neighbourhood appears to be sound asleep. The usual sounds from the construction site nearby are absent and the roads leading to the highway observe a low frequency of vehicles passing by. Perhaps, we are all slowing down a little to enjoy the fineness of today’s weather. This morning, I am seated snugly in my cushioned chair with my trusted ceiling fan spinning above me. I feel relaxed: today my social media feeds are flooded with images from last night’s prom- the mandatory event the school puts together to conclude our schooling years on campus. Of course, with the characteristic high heels, make up and beautiful outfits, with good food and countless pictures taken. Absent from what never quite made the cut for a satisfying closure for me, I’ve spent fractions of the past 7 days thinking about what my time in JC has meant for me. This one’s about the 3 things I’ll miss leaving the JC episode of my life as a student:
First, I will miss assemblies. The congregation of students in a single space for announcements and sharing, the laughing about slip-ups made by nervous students from above and the way we celebrate one another’s achievements. On some days, I would study at university campuses to get away from the places I was too used to studying at. The change of environment was often refreshing, but it also brought a sense of disconnectedness. I imagine being in a campus where you no longer recognize your peers and teachers, where we are rushing for different deadlines, looking forward to different events and leading completely separate lives from majority of the students around us- the impending disconnectedness leads me to believe that perhaps, I will miss assemblies.
Second, I will miss the comfort of a safe haven. There is a sense of security that has so often embraced us on campus- our reliable security guards with strict regulations, non-teaching staff (canteen aunties/uncles, CHILL staff, Photocopying shop staff, Popular staff, Manna staff, Administrative staff) who would express concern through conversations whenever possible. I can recall the days of dejection or simply exhaustion that was only made more bearable with unconditional concern from these staff. Somehow leaving the campus, which was our only platform for interaction, makes me feel as though I am leaving them behind, and so I think I will miss how safe they made me feel.
Third, I will miss the old normal. Donning the school uniform and attending classes- I recall the first time enjoying the freedom of moving from classroom to classroom, endowed with the trust to be accountable for attendance to lessons. I vividly remember falling in love with the campus itself, many times bigger than our RGS campus: the beautiful architecture, the seemingly never-ending choices of study spaces to pick from, the digital screens for announcements. Sometimes, I think the two years in this campus has numbed my appreciation for its beauty. But leaving these behind, together with the stories that I can now associate to every special space in the school from Raja Block to the Runway Room, I will definitely miss the old normal in this campus.
When I compare my time in RGS and in RI, the contrast is stark. My commitment to play and exploration in RGS had been transformed into a commitment to academics and discipline in this past 2 years. Then, the memories I have accumulated and the moments I appreciate are of a very different nature. Nevertheless for the 2 years that I had earlier been so fearful of that has come and gone, I am filled with gratitude for the opportunities that has surprised me with their outcomes and for the people and memories that will stay close to heart for a long time to come.
Auspicium Melioris Aevi