What Ojai Valley School Has Taught Me

It’s no secret that I hated OVS in the beginning of the year.  I carried an air of superiority with me, and I looked down on everyone else, thinking they were all kids with “messed up lives”  from “messed up families”.

On the second day of school, I had a very serious discussion with my advisor during which I explained to her my new theory:  OVS was actually a therapeutic school in hiding.

Looking back, I can barely control my laughter at how ridiculous I was.  My year at OVS has been one of the best experiences of my life.

Before I came to OVS, I wasn’t very mature, although I thought I was.  I didn’t have a grasp on what’s important in life, and I was too involved with materialistic thoughts.

After being at OVS for a year, I can confidently say that has changed.  OVS has taught me what true friendship is, how to stay motivated, and how to be honest.

It has also taught me a lot about myself and how I operate and work.  These are skills that I will always carry with me wherever I go.

It didn’t really hit me how much I would miss it here until a few days ago when I was driving on Wilshire.

Don’t ask me why that’s when it hit me- I have no idea.  But it hit me hard- as I watched someone make an extremely illegal u-turn, I realized something- I would really miss Jeff Lin.

This shocked me a little bit, but it makes sense.  Although one of the biggest things I learned about myself is that I like to be on my own, I made a lot of friends here that I didn’t even realize I cared about this much.

I’m not the best at goodbyes, so I’ll probably end up leaving without telling anyone.

I really just want to thank OVS for helping me find myself.

I was off course when I got here, and I had been for a long time before that.  I’m now finally beginning to get back to who I once was- the little blonde girl who wanted glasses to make her look smarter, who read the Harry Potter books over and over, who got made fun of for being the teacher’s pet.

I lost my motivation these past few years, and I think I secretly always wanted to be that person again.

OVS allowed me to be that person, and even embraced that person, and for that, I am forever grateful.


The Faults of Living (at school)

When I was younger, I thought that teachers lived at school.   I imagined them sleeping in the classrooms, pulling out the mats we used for nap time and creating comfortable beds.  I thought it sounded really fun and cool to live at school.  Now that I actually do live at my school, I have a better understanding of what it means and what you give up.
At OVS, there is a clear divide between the day students and the resident students. This is because the day students have time to see each other outside of school every day without the resident students.  Similarly, the resident students have a lot of time every day without the day students.  This has created a noticeable rift between the student body.  When you live at school, it’s harder to put aside free time for your friends.  With a schedule that maps out almost every minute of the day, it is a lot more difficult for residents than day students.
There are a lot of day students that I really like and want to get to know better.  However, as much as I wish I could change it, watching them drive away as I am confined up on the hill is pretty much standard procedure.

Long or Short

Buying a prom dress is hard.
Yes, I know that makes me sound like the ultimate spoiled white brat, but it really is.  First, prom dresses are ridiculously over-priced.  Second, you don’t want to get the same one as anyone else, so you need to try to find the most low-key stores.  And third, you have to obey “the rules”.
At some schools, the rules of dresses are very prominent at a social level.  Although never articulated on paper, it is a well-known tradition that only seniors can wear long dresses.  I have witnessed actual shaming of 11th grade girls who have worn long dresses to prom.  As a result, I was nervous when trying to find a dress for OVS prom.  I do not get dressed up often, and when I do, I like to go all out.  I had never worn a long dress until just a few weeks ago, aside from the school musical.  When I went shopping with my mom for dresses, I fell in love with the first one I tried on.  One problem:  it was long.  I texted multiple friends that were seniors at OVS asking if they would care about me wearing a long dress, expecting a rage in response.  However, I was completely surprised with the positive response.  Apparently, the “rules” were non-existent at OVS.  Once I got over my shock, I was pleased.  This absence of the rule, although small and insignificant in the long run, shows the loving, family aspect of the OVS community.

Piano Keys

The soft pangs of the notes filled the air, swirling up from the grand piano all the way around the curving stairs and straight to the top of the high ceiling of the hallway. The girl sitting on the black leather bench had wispy blonde hair, her feet dangling far above the pedals.

She shared the small seat with her mother, a woman appearing to be in her forties. She had short dark brown hair, and her makeup was applied deliberately, giving her face a slight orange tint. As she pointed to certain keys and moved her child’s small wrists up higher, her brow creased and defined the onset wrinkles there.

They were an offsetting pair – the small girl’s fragility was evident next to the woman’s full frame. It was almost as though their appearance conveyed the unsung words of their relationship; the dominance of the woman over the powerless child. And as the small blonde girl clinked away at the keys, her small fingers were barely able to reach the far black rectangles, and so the woman pulled her hands further apart, stretching the little pads of her pointer fingers further than they could go, mounting a tremendous tension of tingling sparks in the girl’s tiny fingernails, ready and itching to explode.

Loving Your Life

What is life, anyway?  I have struggled far too long with realizing why we are here on this planet. But recently, I have finally understood what I believe to be the purpose of life.

We are all here for different reasons, with different talents and different things to do. Not everyone will be able to do what they want- there will always be obstacles standing in the way, but the fun is in the journey. There are many things we can do- make lots of money, travel, go on adventures.  But the most important part of life, to me, is loving those we are surrounded by.

It took me a long time to realize this, but now I understand. There is no point to living a life where you don’t love those who love you. It doesn’t get you anywhere, it only sets you back and fills you with negative feelings. Why should I do this to myself? I am so happy that I have finally learned one of life’s greatest lessons- loving others infinitely. This love for people is the one thing that can never be bought or stolen, and it is the most basic necessity and reason for living.

I love you, Mom.

50 Shades of Hype

If you have access to the internet, friends that live in countries that have books, or generally do not live under a rock, you have probably heard of 50 Shades of Grey. Notorious for its promiscuous content, this novel has taken the world by storm and is soon to be a major motion picture – on Valentine’s Day, no less.

An avid reader and an admittedly avid consumer, I decided to purchase this work when in an airport preparing for a five-hour flight. It was definitely fun to snap a picture of the familiar cover of the book and upload it to my Snapchat story, immediately to receive texts from my friends asking me “WHY?!”.

To be honest, I wanted to read it to see if it really was what everyone said it was: fan fiction you could read out of a book. In other words, a bunch of pornographic material slapped in between a meekly written romance. It ended up being exactly that. The book follows a quiet and innocent but opinionated girl named Anastasia fresh out of college. She meets Christian Grey, a rich, handsome CEO of a huge company. One thing leads to another, and they begin a very interesting relationship that I cannot elaborate on, as this is a school blog.

The book itself is not very well written – if it was not as widely discovered as it was, it probably would not have been successful at all. The writer, E.L. James, probably owes her success to the internet and honestly, the immaturity of teenagers. The over-hyping of this “sex book,” spread by young adults, is probably how it got so popular – the simple novelty of it, reading it, owning it.

Now that I own it and have read it, I can confidently say that 50 Shades of Grey does not live up to the hype, it simply is hype.

Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia
Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia


Respect our Speakers

When a certain well-educated, poised, and cultured Emmy award-winning investigative journalist said that Putin censors the media in Russia, he was probably not expecting a Russian freshman to get up and forcefully contradict him. I guess OVS is full of surprises.

When we invite a speaker to our school, it is expected that we will be polite and kind. However, when Terry McCarthy visited, a few students were upset by what he said and did not hesitate to speak their minds. McCarthy stated that Putin regulates the media in Russia, and then defended this statement by pointing out that stories told one way in the US are told a different way in Russia, and you can see this by watching their news. A Russian kid sitting behind me immediately became upset and started saying things, quite loudly, to his friends. Eventually he grew so angry that he raised his hand and asked our guest how “he could say this” about Russia.

I understood that he was upset, but I thought what he said to our speaker was incredibly rude. Not only was I embarrassed for McCarthy, who was shocked, but I was also embarrassed for our school. In the future, we should be more respectful towards our visitors and appreciate the time they take to share their stories with us, instead of trying to argue with them.

Photo credit: Telegraph.co.uk