Back in 2016, there was a public outcry for Freshmen Orientation Camps (FOC Singapore), as it was reported to be overly sexualised. First-year students are now wary of such incidents that may recur and hence have second thoughts before signing up for one.
Before sharing with you why you should still participate in one (NUS/NTU/SMU/SUTD etc.), let’s summarise the measures Universities have taken so far – to prevent similar incidents. For starters, ad hoc committees are now set up to regulate the activities. For instance, sexualised cheers and jokes are now non-existent. They are now toned down to versions that are widely accepted. Most activities only allow people of the same gender to be grouped up. Also, the OGLs will also ensure that you are comfortable with every activity before proceeding with it. There will also be spot checks to ensure that no undesirable activities are being carried out at all times. Now, let us tell you why it is beneficial to attend at least one FOC before you begin your tertiary education.
Learning about the University from your Seniors
Unlike in Secondary Schools and JCs, many things in Universities will not be spoonfed to you. This is the point in life where we learn to become truly independent. Basics such as paying school fees, bidding for your modules, applying for financial aid are just a few examples. During your FOC, your OGLs will be there to teach you and give you pointers on the important things you have to take note of and how to do them.
The examples listed above may seem simple, but without any form of guidance, these errands will give you a massive headache. For instance, You may not be able to SU your modules if you fail to pay your school fees; this will cause your CAP/GPA to drop. You can also learn more about the course of interest you are taking to give yourself a clearer picture before you commence your studies. On a less serious note, you could also get a quick crash course from your OGLs on the delicious and the not so pleasant food around campus.
Making New Friends
It is always good to make a few extra friends on Campus. Many of us will be attending different lectures and tutorials due to the modules we are taking. This is especially accurate for faculties like FASS where there are tonnes of majors and modules to choose from. Having more friends will also mean having more kakis to attend lectures together. And having more kakis will naturally make it easier for you to find help in University. FOCs are also a good chance for you to expand your network. Your OGLs/seniors may be the ones helping you in getting into your desired Hall.
Apart from learning, there are many games and activities planned during the camps. This is probably one of the times you will go all out cheering and playing. You will be forging many strong bonds while playing the stations games and exploring your way around the campus. Beach day will also be one of the main highlights for most camps. Be prepared to get wet and sandy. We strongly encourage you to go all out and have some fun before drowning yourself in books.
Of course, you can always make new friends and slowly learn more about the University if you choose not to attend these camps. However, these camps give you a quick “jump start” to quickly pick up the essential stuff to give yourself a headstart. Look on the bright side – FOC Singapore is a tonne “cleaner” compared to other countries and definitely do more good than harm to you.