The Orange County School of the Arts is known county-wide for its vast variety of arts and even vaster variety of students. Each and every day, students spend an extra three hours on campus (or more depending on your conservatory and what shows are coming up) perfecting their art.
To prospective students, this may seem daunting; a school full of talented youth and an extremely rigorous schedule, not exactly a cake walk. But what is OCSA without new students? As a third year student at OCSA, I’m going to explain what we’re really about here at the Orange County School of the Arts. I’ll break down the good, and the not so good, as well as a little bit of general information that I wish I knew as an incoming student.
- You learn so much about your art!– While you are spending those extra three hours at school, you get a diverse set of teachers that will show you the in’s and out’s of your specific art. (i.e: Creative Writing students will explore all types of writing from prose poetry to screen plays; Acting students will do things from reciting monologues to learning stage combat)
- Your peers are the most supportive people you will ever meet.– OCSA is already known for being home to a less than typical student body, with all of our differences, we learn to embrace each other for what we do, who we love, and what we wear!
- We’re home to likely the largest LGBTQA+ and support community you’ve ever seen.– I have to confirm that the rumors are true, a large majority of students here aren’t straight! Even better, the support system we have here for the gay community is so strong and ever expanding. If you’re looking for support, we’ve got it!
- The technology they supply is phenomenal.– Let me be the first to tell you that if you are a tech nerd on the down low like me, you will die over the technology OCSA provides. We have touchscreen monitors in every computer lab (that I’m even using right now), chrome carts on every floor of the tower (our main building), and we even use our fingerprint instead of a student-ID to pay for lunches/snacks!
- We got elevators.– We have elevators that go up and down the tower to all floors (even the basement)! The downside to this is, you’re not allowed to use them unless you have a disability or a special note, but when it’s the middle of class and you have a meeting with your counselor, it’s always a fun time taking a quick ride on the elevator.
- A new family <3.– I know this sounds horribly cliche, but my friends have become my family. I spend so much time with my friends both at school and on the train to and from school; they are like brothers and sisters to me.
- Seven. Floors. To. Class– Okay, I’m going to be honest, I’m not the most fit person on the planet, but I workout. When I climb those seven floors just to get to my math block, I. Want. To. Die. No matter how many years you’ve been going to OCSA, you never get used to it.
- Video cameras are almost everywhere– I understand that we have these cameras around the campus to ensure the safety of students and whatnot, but I can’t help but wonder if the staff saw me that one time I tripped in the hallway and dropped my 32 ounce water bottle all over myself and my papers…
- Traffic.– Along with our measly two staircases, comes a ridiculous amount of traffic! All of these students are trying to jam themselves into a tiny staircase that is about the width of one and a half backpacks makes it very challenging to get to class on time without having to shoulder check half of the student body.
- Long hours and lack of sleep.– At a school that goes from 8:05AM to 4:45PM, you can imagine how students must be exhausted at the end of the day. You haven’t seen anything yet. Most students (such as myself) travel from up to two hours away to attend OCSA. In my case this means I’m out of the house from 6:20AM to 6:20PM (yep, that’s 12 hours).
- The only sport we have is tennis and even that’s debatable.– Since we’re an arts school, we’re all spending more time on our arts rather than sports. That being said, plus the lack of time we all have after school paves the way for an (almost) sport deficient campus. We do have a tennis team and twice a year we have dodge ball games in lieu of a homecoming and formal game.
- We have WiFi, but most things are blocked.– With OCSA’s WiFi, you can check your Instagram and Snapchat no problem, but websites like Buzz Feed are blocked as well as other entertainment sources.
- You can take the train!– As a third year train kid, I have a love-hate relationship with my commute. On one hand it’s ridiculous that I have to take a car to the train, to the bus, just to get to school. But at the same time I get to spend extra time with my friends and create a much stronger bond than we would have if we only talked at school! Plus it gives you a little time to do your homework when you didn’t do it the night before ;).
- People will be singing, dancing, and rehearsing everywhere.– Oh boy do I wish I was exaggerating! You’ll be speed walking from seventh floor trying to make it to the DMS before the bell rings and BOOM, you’re stuck in the stairwell with that one kid rehearsing for Hamlet reciting as loud as humanly possible. On a more positive note, sometimes when people are practicing, their voices are kind of nice, but most of the time its a little bit of a nuisance.
- There’s Snapple and Arizona iced tea in the vending machines!- But they’re $2.00. We all know OCSA is pocketing that extra dollar by marking up that tea by 200 percent. Arizona iced tea has stayed true to us through the years keeping a stagnant price of $.99 but here comes OCSA to kill their rep.
- You will be going to school with famous people/people who have been on Television (or something of the like).– You may be wondering why this isn’t the positive information. Well, let me tell you that its not always the best thing ever to be surrounded by famous people. For one it makes you feel a little but worse about yourself because all of these people are your age and already have 550K Instagram followers and people asking for their autograph. Some of them (I won’t name any names but boy have I experienced it) act like they are far superior to everybody else. Many of these students are sweet and genuine but every once and a while you’ll come across that one bad egg.
Tips for Future Students
- No roller backpacks.– If you show up to your first day with a roller backpack and do not have a medical reason for this, I guarantee you will make some enemies day one. Whether you attempt to or not, you will run over people’s toes and they will want to drop kick you down the stairs.
- Make friends with your teachers. Seriously.– You’ll constantly see old teachers everywhere around campus and even at school dances, so do yourself a favor and make friends with them. It’s a lot more fun to crack jokes with an old teacher on campus rather than make awkward eye contact and try to hide.
- Literally stop screaming.– If you scream everybody will be pissed at you. Your friends are two feet away from you, there’s no need to yell and make everybody else deaf and grouchy.
- Don’t be afraid of older students.– Okay, trust me, I know how scary seniors look when you’re a freshman, but they’re really just a less vertically challenged version of you. Don’t annoy them and make an effort to be nice to them- boom, they’re your friend.
- Never. Stop. In. The. Stairs.– We don’t care if you haven’t seen your friend since first block, step on a floor or be trampled by 250 students just wanting to get to lunch on time. Thank you for your consideration.
- Join a club!– We have a lot of clubs here and each of them have something special to offer. Many of them even offer some free food! It gives you a great opportunity to make more friends and bond over something you care about. If you want to go the extra mile, start a club!
I remember that during my first day at OCSA (and even throughout orientation) I was so afraid. I didn’t know which building was which, what all of the class numbers meant, and what in the heck made the Annex smell so bad. To this day I can’t explain the origins of the signature Annex scent, but I’ve learned my way around campus and all of my fear has grown into confidence. Confidence not only in attending OCSA, but in my art and myself. This is the best environment that I could have ever asked for to develop myself mentally (even with all of the challenges this school brings).
If you are a potential OCSA student (whether you’ve submitted an application or not), reach out. There are so many people who are willing to help you find your way around and answer any questions you may have; I’d love to be that person too! Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you just need some help learning about OCSA and what we’re all about!
*This article was from the point of view of me, and me alone. I in no way represent the ideas of the entire OCSA student body.*