If St. Francis Junior College and St. Francis Degree College
were sisters, they would be as similar as Sheryl Crow and Toni Braxton. They can both make you hum a tune (or a hymn), but that's as far as the similarity goes. If you're looking for a hint of the elder one in the younger sibling, look out the window, 'cos that's where the rest of it has gone. Take out your notepads, folks, and whether you believe it or not, the following statement is true. Students of this junior college, actually like
This is as opposed to purely liking being
from their college, liking the crowd, or liking this or liking that. They actually like
their college. It's that simple. The 'why' is the complicated part.
SFJCW is one left-and-right turn too many away to describe how to get there. If you're going there for the first time, just land up near Sangeet (Rezimental Bazar would be closer), and ask your way there.
Whenever one thinks "convent school", one word immediately comes to mind: discipline. This one is no different. To start with, there's just no overlooking the wall and its gate. Seriously. And getting inside, a lot of what you'll see depends on the time of the day or year that you arrive.
If you arrive anytime during the day, it's fine - you'll see a smattering of kids all over, but with most of them tucked away in what they would like to describe as 'academic pursuits'. But at around 3 of the clock, as soon as you enter through the fortress, you will find another wall. This time, it's a moving, breathing, and a highly impatient wall. For this is the hour of independence, ushered in by a single watchman. Many a plan to give that lone warrior the slip has been hatched and thwarted. But the girls of SFJC still like college.
The students of the college - resplendent with a Resident 'Hitler' - find a lot to cheer. There are the usual idiosyncrasies of the teaching faculty, which amuse the young students to no end. One "desi-videsi"
lecturer goes, "Yes, what do you have in your 'packet'?", when the subject the distinguished academician is actually broaching is the child's 'pocket'. Then there is someone who goes "Swish-jer-land" instead of you know what. Of course, it doesn't beat the Raja Babu of HPS
fame, who goes "Open the window... let the 'weather' come in," but it's still fun.
French classes can be fun too, especially with the "bon jour madam" greeting, which gets morphed into "bon jour badam
", later degenerating into pista
, and other such items of dry fruit nature. You know how 15-year-old girls are. If you don't, stay that way.
If the students are any judge, then you could go on record saying that what St. Francis does have are some teachers of excellence in the subjects of Civics, English, History and Commerce. However, all lecturers, without bias to subject, are said to be extremely approachable.
The infrastructure is basic, with a small isolated one-room canteen, various labs, library, and the multi-specialty playground. By that, we mean a basketball court, a volleyball court and other such courts all pressed into one small rectangle, with Mother Mary on the side as the constant audience and supporter.
However, after paucity of space, there comes a paucity of time. Students are expected to spend whatever free periods out of the 7 classes that they have daily, in - inhale sharply - the library. There are always some exceptions. But those are generally restricted to the students, and never the rules.
The crowd is supposed to be very good here. In spite of the top down orders of wearing only salwar kurtas
, you'll still be able to spot a wide variety of students. The girls try to make up for the uniformity in clothes by trying out various footwear, face wear, head wear, hair wear, hand wear, and whatever other wear girls can come up with. These are young women, and probably only they themselves and Mother Mary can understand the lot completely.
That said, people are 'humble' here, and making friends is a breeze. They candidly admit that they have "more rules than degree college", but that "it's good to have rules... you don't go wrong."
Computers are not a strong point at SFJCW, but are easily over-looked by the range of extra-curricular activities on offer. First off, they have a cultural week every year, where competitions are held in all sorts of group song and dance events. The buzz in the college at this time is loud enough to ring your home doorbell.
Then there are the Christmas competitions where events like flower arrangement, icing the cake, vegetable carving, painting, sketching and tie & dye are held. In further addition, there are genuine individual competitions like elecution, debates, extempore speeches, dance and drama, which are held all through the year.
The girls indeed feel lucky to have joined such a place, and not a 'corporate college' where the only emphasis is on 'cracking' some common tests. But before you start increduously thinking whether any of the studies that occur in those 7 classes everyday actually result in something, you can pause a bit. SFJCW has produced its fair share of state rankers, in both academic and professional examinations.
A highlight of the study system here is that there are after-hour 'remedial classes' for the weaker students conducted by the regular faculty, totally free of charge. In fact, sometimes even a group of girls who are toppers stay back and help with the classes themselves!
The school stresses on "value-oriented education" and "stress-free education" for all its 1,000 students, and with one look at the girls, you'll think that this description hits bang on. Value classes and co-operative classes are held every week, where the students learn from short stories, or just sit and freely discuss issues relevant to them.
In short, SFJCW would not be the
place to go to if IIT or EAMCET is all that you or your parents can think, dream or salivate about, nor would it exactly give you the time or the place to "disco". But it will certainly ensure that your last years of schooling (in a girls-only environment) remain memorable for life.