Transcript

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so i’m katie and i’m a senior at limb brook 
which is in san jose california and i went

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to the california state summer school 
for the arts or cisa in summer of 2018.

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so sisa is like you said a creative or 
it’s like an arts camp and they have

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several different programs that you can do 
so you can do like visual art you can do

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creative writing you can do dance theater so they 
have all different things that you can explore

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like in any field in the arts so for 
me personally i did creative writing

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because that’s kind of my thing i’m not into 
like visual art as much or performing arts

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but i definitely met a lot of people who were 
and it’s just a really cool experience um and

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i was residential it’s a four-week program 
so you really get to know other people and

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it’s basically like they’ll put you with other 
people who are in the same discipline as you and

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you take a lot of like pretty intense classes 
um and a lot of them are the same classes that

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you’re taking with everyone else in the program 
but they’ll split you up into smaller groups

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and you also have the option of doing like 
an elective so for me i chose poetry as my

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elective because that’s like mainly thing that i 
focus in within creative writing but you can also

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choose things like screenwriting playwriting or um 
fiction non-fiction all those things there’s like

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so many options and that’s one of the reasons why 
i liked csa when i was initially applying because

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they just have so many options and they also have 
an opportunity for you to do an interdisciplinary

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project which is kind of like a performance or 
like project that you put together with people

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who are in different disciplines like vocal or 
like instruments or visual art or anything like

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that so it’s a really cool opportunity 
to just like explore arts and all that

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yes so from what i remember um we had so there 
were four weeks and then each week you would

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focus for the core ones that everyone did 
in common um each week you would focus on a

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different area for example like week one for me 
was fiction but from some other people they had

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different ones since there’s not enough space 
for everyone in every single class um so you

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spend about a week on each one of those and you 
have that i’m pretty sure you had that class like

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once every day and then for the elective class 
that you choose you also have that once every day

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um but you do have a few more like core workshops 
everyone goes to they’ll invite some like actual

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authors or people who have experience in like the 
industry so they did invite like someone who wrote

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for um breaking bad so that was really cool like 
he showed us like a script and he taught us a lot

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of really useful techniques so like workshops then 
with like professionals or with the teachers that

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we have since they’re also like really good at 
what they do so that’s kind of how it’s structured

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out um you do have a lot of free time and there’s 
a lot of events going on that you have the

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opportunity to kind of do to i guess explore your 
art more but it’s really up to you and i think

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the experience is really cool because you really 
get out of it as much as you want to and however

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much you like try to take advantage of those 
is however much you’ll get out of that program

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yeah so i really love my experience there um it 
oh i probably should have mentioned this but it

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is in southern california it’s in valencia which 
is pretty close to la and they actually have an

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optional trip to disneyland which is like maybe i 
think it costs maybe like a couple hundred dollars

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to go because it’s like bus and like ticket and 
all that stuff um you can also go to the getty

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museum which is also in la so it’s like pretty 
close to all those areas um and in terms of of the

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residential experience i really liked it um i had 
three roommates some people have four people so it

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just depends but when you apply like they’ll or 
not when you apply when you’re registering after

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you’re accepted they’ll ask you like what kind 
of things do you want in a roommate how would you

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describe yourself for so for me i said i wanted 
people who were social but i’m also really big on

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like organization and i kind of like having my own 
free time and just like time to chill afterwards

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as well so that’s something that i liked and my 
roommates were really great they were all one of

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my roommates was in theater and the other one was 
in film so it was really nice having people with

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different disciplines and we would kind of like 
go to each other’s events and kind of meet other

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people who are in other disciplines so that was 
really nice um yeah and in terms of dining the

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food there was like pretty good like after i got 
home after the camp i was like i miss the food so

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much like i want to make that up like at home and 
in terms of like other social activities they do

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have like a dance um and there’s like open mics 
performances like every single day there’s always

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something to do they have like a full schedule 
you just like pick and choose what you want to

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do if you want to go out to those events and like 
i said optional trips like museums disneyland

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and we also had a trip to a play and a performance 
at the hollywood bowl which is really cool so

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it’s also like an opportunity to explore southern 
california especially if you’re not from the area

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yeah i think i pretty much covered like everything 
that i liked about it but just like to kind of be

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a little bit more concise i think the best 
thing that i got from that program was like

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um probably just like that sense of like 
interdisciplinary community within the

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arts because in the area where i’m from like the 
silicon valley there’s not that many people who

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are in the arts and so for me like being someone 
who kind of leans more towards the humanities it’s

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kind of hard to find a community of people who 
also have those interests but i really like that

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there were a bunch of people who were 
like so passionate about writing versus

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like at home where everyone is just 
kind of in the same areas in stem

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um and now i still talk to a lot of people that 
i met at camp and we really support each other

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one of my friends recently published like her 
first book and all of us bought it and we kind

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of just like shared it around social media 
so that’s really cool so i would say that’s

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probably like the best even though there’s 
like so many things that i liked about it

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i don’t know i think i kind of wish there 
were like more of those workshops that i

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talked about because um they were like kind of 
set dates where they would like i said invite

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people who are already in the in the 
industry but i kind of wish that there were

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more of those which like they were already like 
i already learned a lot from those which is like

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really nice but i think having more of those to 
kind of like fill up my time probably would have

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made me like even more productive but honestly 
like it’s it wasn’t that huge of a deal like

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it was really cool to meet the people that 
i did have the chance to talk to already

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so that’s probably the only thing that 
i might want to change about it i guess

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honestly just like word of mouth like i heard 
about it from my school there was like i don’t

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actually know anyone from my school who went but 
i think like um in the state of california most

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high schools will promote it so there were some 
flyers at my school and at the time this was like

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in my freshman year so i wasn’t really sure what i 
wanted to do but i knew that i liked writing a lot

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and i knew that i wanted a way to kind of 
explore that more over the summer possibly

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like residential to kind of give myself that 
experience of living away from home and kind of

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just like managing for myself so those were kind 
of like my only like criteria going in i guess um

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so i would say what drew i didn’t apply to any 
other camps because i at the time like i didn’t

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want to be too serious because i knew a lot of 
my friends were going to summer camps or like

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the ivs or other like really big um colleges but 
i didn’t i felt like i didn’t want to make that

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big of like a financial commitment to this 
since it was like not it was mainly for like

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my own enjoyment and my parents were also like i 
don’t think they wanted to spend that much money

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on a program that wasn’t stem related um so this 
was pretty much like my only option but the good

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thing about this is that it’s also very affordable 
so like for anyone who’s worrying about finances

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is very very affordable and they also have really 
good financial aid if you can’t afford it but it’s

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like two thousand dollars for four weeks which 
is like way better than any other programs that

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i’ve seen um and aside from that i like that 
it was in california because at that time i

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i wasn’t really comfortable going like all the way 
to the east coast or even out of the country um

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and yeah other things i just researched online and 
saw some like alumni talking about it on youtube

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and just a community and like being in that area 
especially like near la which is like where a lot

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of like screenwriters and all those like creative 
people really have a chance to grow i think

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that’s something else that i really liked about 
the program so they did really good marketing

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and i yeah kind of really liked everything 
that i heard about it so that’s why i applied

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so this was my first residential experience 
so honestly going it i didn’t know what

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to expect at all and it it definitely 
like surpassed my expectations by a lot

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i think going in i was it was i was kind of afraid 
of having like imposter syndrome because like for

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me i i had done like fairly well in writing and 
like growing up my teachers and like my parents

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would be like oh like you’re such a good writer 
but like none of them were actually like english

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people so it it’s like i wasn’t sure if they were 
just saying that like made me feel better or if

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like i was actually like decent at it so i was 
really scared going in like thinking like they

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made a mistake accepting me or like i shouldn’t 
have gotten in so i was really scared that like

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everyone at the camp would be like kind of like 
uptight and like really really good at writing

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um but i think in reality it was not 
like that at all like everyone is

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so so talented and they’re like very willing 
to share like everything and for me like i

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would help other people other people would help 
me so it’s really like a community and i think

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going in i i didn’t know that it would be such 
a welcoming environment especially with a bunch

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of upperclassmen since most of the people that 
i met were juniors or seniors some people were

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even like in there the summer after their senior 
year so they were like way older than me and i

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was like intimidated but it turned out to be 
a really good growing experience and like i

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said i still talk to a lot of them um and then in 
terms of like the residential experience i think

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going in i was also just scared of living away 
from home because i’d never done that before

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um and like you know little things like doing 
laundry like getting food all that stuff like i

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was scared that i would completely like lose it 
but like i think after the first couple of days

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we kind of like figured out a rhythm and my 
roommates were like really really good with

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everything so honestly i had no complaints in 
that area so it was like a lot better than i

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thought it would be and most of the things that i 
was scared of like never came true so that’s good

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yeah so i’m pretty sure it’s um for i think 
on their website they say nine to twelve but

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you can also go like the summer after twelfth um 
so that’s like technically the range but almost

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everyone there was like at least like well not at 
least almost everyone there was one to two maybe

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three years older than me um which is like not 
a bad thing i think especially with things like

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um artistic um skills and all that like it i think 
age doesn’t really make you like better or worse

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than anyone so i think i was intimidated going in 
at first but after like a few days of talking to

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these people i didn’t feel like i was scared of 
any of the seniors and i don’t think they like

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looked down on me because i was like a freshman or 
a sophomore at that time so it was i think it’s it

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was kind of interesting how like you really become 
friends with people you wouldn’t have at school

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especially in my school and probably other high 
schools like freshmen don’t really talk to seniors

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and it’s kind of weird if you’re like close 
friends with a senior but at camp it was like

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we would all just like hang out and it was totally 
normal so that was a really good thing and so yeah

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i don’t think like being too young or like too 
old for this program to stop anyone from applying

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like even if you’re the summer after senior year 
i think it’s still worth it to go if you really

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want to so that’s it’s really up to you and 
like whatever you want to do with your time

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yeah i definitely thought it was 
worth it um and like i said it’s like

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super affordable and i mean i’m really lucky 
to be living in this area and my family was

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able to afford the full cost of the tuition and i 
would say that it’s definitely a lot cheaper than

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a lot of the other programs that people tend to 
go to so it’s super affordable and if you end up

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if you end up developing developing like a really 
close relationship with your mentors at camp

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and you really show that you’re outstanding 
sometimes they’ll give you like a skull

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like a retrospective scholarship so it’s kind 
of i had one friend in the writing program who

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actually got that he was paying full tuition but 
they ended up giving him a scholarship because

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he was he was like super accomplished with writing 
so he ended up getting like most of his money like

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back i guess but even if you even if you don’t do 
that i think four weeks of like really really good

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experiences is definitely worth the money that 
you pay for the camp and i would say like it’s

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like i’m i can’t believe i actually came across 
an opportunity like that where i didn’t have

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to spend like a ton of money to get this really 
good experience so i’m really happy that i did it

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i feel like there’s for me it did really help 
me because when i was applying to college like

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my i guess you could say like themes or like my 
spikes in my application would definitely like

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creative writing and also like my interests in 
like activism and all that so cso was definitely

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more related to like the creative writing part 
and the camp like any camp by itself doesn’t do

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anything for your application but like the fact 
that i had that camp in addition to other things

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i’d done really showed like my commitment to 
creative writing um and especially because i’m

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applying as a humanities major that’s like really 
important since there’s not like any particular

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thing that you can do you can’t really show 
like scores for your writing so the fact that

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you’re dedicating yourself to a program like this 
especially since it was four weeks on residential

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and it was at like a pretty well-known college 
like california institute of the arts has a lot

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of people who end up working for like disney 
and other like pretty big artistic companies

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so i would say it’s like pretty reputable and 
most college i’m pretty sure most college and

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business admissions officers will know what cisa 
is um or you can even if they google it really

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quickly it’ll definitely come up so it’s a decent 
amount of prestige but it won’t get you in on its

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own you definitely have to do the work but i 
would say that um kind of like a side effect

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that helped me even more was that a lot of the 
pieces that i worked on in cesa or some of the

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pieces that i brought to the camp to workshop 
a little bit more i ended up submitting those

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to like writing competitions and they ended up 
like winning some more things which like winning

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isn’t the only goal right like those were things 
that i really wrote for myself it wasn’t like

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i had a competition i was like oh i have to write 
something and now it was like i just submitted

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whatever i have and it’s like if you get it you 
get it if you don’t it’s like not that big of

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a deal but it definitely helps a little bit 
if you do have those things just to kind of

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show like a level where you’re at i do think 
that it helped me somewhat both directly and

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indirectly so i applied ed to cornell and i got 
in based on my acceptance it doesn’t hurt and it

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i ended up writing about a lot of the things 
i didn’t write about the camp itself but

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it did inspire a lot of things that i wrote about 
in my essays so it’s not only like the ex like the

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campus but also like the experience and the things 
that you take away from it and it really just like

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changes your view of everything in terms 
of like writing and also just like people

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and your relationship with like people in other 
areas of the world and really understanding like

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what it’s like to go outside of your 
bubble like wherever you happen to live

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when i applied i think the acceptance rate 
was about one-third so it’s um it’s not like

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that bad but also like you do have to show like a 
decent amount of proficiency with whatever you’re

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applying for so i can only speak for writing 
since like every art discipline is so different

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and obviously with things like theater you have 
to like audition and like i am not familiar with

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that process at all um but in terms of writing and 
probably also visual art i think because i looked

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at that application too for one of my friends um 
they ask you to submit like a lot of pieces so for

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me i think i submitted probably like at least five 
or six samples of my writing they’ll ask for and

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you have to do it it’s like you can’t just like 
pick and choose they’ll ask for like for example

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a poem a short story fiction non-fiction and then 
like a script like a play script or something like

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that so it’s like a variety of things and you have 
to have a very diverse portfolio so if you do want

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to get in i would say start early and just like 
go nuts with it like be as creative as you can

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definitely like with an arts camp especially 
you don’t want to be cookie cutter you don’t

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want to sound like you’re writing an essay 
because that’s not what a creative writing

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program is for like you really want to be like 
totally like different from everyone else um

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and yeah the starting early thing definitely 
good since there’s so many like excerpts

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and for me i did not start early and i 
ended up being very i actually submitted

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my application like exactly like 
one minute before the thing closed

0:16:27.200,0:16:34.080
so not a good idea but i got it through when i got 
in but if you don’t want to go through that stress

0:16:34.080,0:16:39.040
start early just like have everything submitted 
and like i guess that way you’ll feel better about

0:16:39.040,0:16:42.320
what you submitted and that way you’re not like 
kind of debating like which one of these should

0:16:42.320,0:16:47.840
i submit and also get someone to look over because 
i asked um my english teachers at school to look

0:16:47.840,0:16:52.320
over it and their feedback was pretty helpful 
especially when i was debating like which pieces

0:16:52.320,0:16:56.480
i should submit for my samples and sometimes 
your perception is a little bit different

0:16:56.480,0:17:01.440
um but yeah other than that it’s there’s not 
like i guess any checklist that you have to do

0:17:01.440,0:17:06.400
to get in just like whatever you have been doing 
don’t do anything just for the application but

0:17:06.400,0:17:17.840
submit things that you’ve really been doing 
like just on your own for your own enjoyment

0:17:22.400,0:17:22.900
you