What are activities you should best spend your time on after O-levels?


You are done with your O-levels and now you have some free time on your hands. You may be unsure on the duration of the holidays you will have, which is dependent if you enrol in a Junior College (JC) or Polytechnic. Should you choose to enter a JC, school will usually start in end January or early February. That gives you approximately two full months of holidays. As for the polytechnic, school normally begins in early April. That would give you approximately 4 months of holidays to dabble with.

Regardless of you having two or four months on your hands, reward yourself with a good break! You have worked hard and well for your O-levels and you deserve this break. Put aside your books, go out in the sun and make this break a meaningful one. 😊

First things first, rest is an often-neglected to-do by people free of the O-levels! By rest, I mean to get back on your sleep debt. Yes, sleep. You can bade goodbye to the late nights have spent on the books and get some decent rest on your bed! Don’t be overly eager to pack your schedule with activities that you forget to get the rest you should be getting! Remember to get the 8 to 10 hours sleep required of teens to function best daily. 😊

Spend time with your family and friends
It is rather common to be studying outside nowadays for long hours especially during the crucial period close to the national examinations. With these time spent out of home studying, you are often missing out on the time you have with your family members and your friends. Take time off this break to spend quality time with your family members and friends for all the time you gave to your books instead!

Decide the next path to take on
JC or poly? The question on most O-Level students’ minds before the release of results is whether they should go to a JC or a polytechnic. It is a practical consideration as students only get 6 calendar days from the release of O-Level results to participate in the Joint Admissions Exercise (JAE) and decide where to go. With such a short amount of time to make a decision that would change your future, it is best to start early.

There are polytechnics that host 3-day non-residential camps for secondary school students who have just completed their O-Levels to experience what polytechnic life is like. Two prime examples are Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s Red Camp and Temasek Polytechnic’s TP Rawks. During the camp, they would be exposed to different co-curricular activities (CCA) and get a taste of the different diplomas that the schools offer. They would also get a chance to interact with lecturers and student helpers to know more about the course of their interest. During this camp, they would also be given the opportunity to befriend seniors from the polytechnic. It would then be easier for them to clarify any doubts they have in the future, be it knowing why polytechnic would be a better choice than JC or how to get into university through the polytechnic route.

JCs, on the other hand, host open houses for potential students to get to know more about the culture and curriculum in JC. However, these open houses are usually one or two days after the release of the O-Level results. Hence, the best way for you to get to know more about the JC life is by talking to your seniors or your friends who are already in a JC.

With greater interaction between you and the different tertiary institutions, you would get a greater sense of where you want to go after secondary school, and the best time to think about it would be during the holidays where there is plenty of time.

Do Community Projects
Be it local or overseas, the opportunities are aplenty out there! Now you have a decent amount of time to do embark on one. If you are afraid that you can’t commit for long, look out for the local community projects. Here are some that you can try out:
YMCA Tan Chin Tuan Service Programmes
Movement for the Intellectually Disabled Singapore (MINDS)
Lion’s Befrienders
KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital

If you are sure that you want to head towards the polytechnic route, you can give these overseas community projects a try:
Habitat for Humanity Singapore
We are Different! Club
YMCA International Service Programmes
Singapore International Volunteers

Pick up a skill
With endless amount of time on hand, why not take this time to learn something new? You can take up free courses on Coursera. Coursera offers free materials from top universities that you can read up on. For instance, if you are interested in psychology or programming, all the materials and information are online for you to tap on. This may also help in deciding whether you are truly interested in a particular course in polytechnic or even university, and which career path you want to go down in the future. Alternatively, you can also learn dance, another sport, or even pick up a language. Just take this time to discover your passion and interests! 😊

Getting a job is what most students do after O-levels as they want to spend their free time earning money. It is only through employment that you are able to achieve more financial independence, your first step to living independently without the support of your parents.

Some students turn to becoming a tuition teacher, or working in the food & beverage (F&B) or retail industry due to the short amount of time they are able to commit before their tertiary education begins. Becoming a tuition teacher may be one of the most ideal job as your O-level knowledge is still fresh in your head and you, as a recently graduated O-Level student, are the most familiar with the current syllabus. You can sign up as a tutor here at Yodaa! However, working in the F&B or retail has its perks too since you will be able to interact with many different people and build on your interpersonal skills – a lifeskill that is crucial in today’s world. It will also boost your confidence as you will learn how to talk to different types of people and learn how to handle difficult customers.

Despite all mentioned, pick a few things of your interest to do! There is always another time to embark on new experiences. Don’t be overly eager to do everything and neglect your time of rest during this period! 😊

Geraldine Lee
Geraldine lives out of bubbles and dreams. When she’s not writing, she reads about kids and parenting matters. Her works have been featured on Singapore’s Child, theAsianParent and now, even yodaa.