Back to college
It’s back to college and time to prepare for the big day! There are several ways to get ready for this big event, including ways to save money and ways to enjoy college life. It’s important to know how to use the local transportation, even when one lives near or on the campus. It’s nice to know where the clubs are and where students like to hang out. Buying clothes is a cinch if you know where to go and what is available. A great farmer’s market is always fun to get just the right thing, from fruits and vegetables to unique items at a bargain price. Even thrift stores and swap meets can be invaluable to the frugal student.
One of the most popular places to live and go to school is Orange County, California. For one reason, the weather is exceptionally nice all year long. The allure of the beach and the extensive list of things to do is another reason. One of the greatest little cities is Costa Mesa. Costa Mesa is what you could consider a family oriented college town; the city is a prime location for affordable rental housing and student living. It’s also a great place to start a young family. It is quite diverse, as it includes one of the most attractive malls in the world, South Coast Plaza, and yet just down the street from the mall is the anti-mall, including the LAB and the CAMP, a favorite place for young adults to spend time. The LAB and The CAMP host the SoBeCa Last Tuesday ARTwalk with local artists, musicians and Suzoo’s Wool Works Pop-up Boutique in the LAB Living Room. The O.C. Fairgrounds has a yearly fair which is one of the largest in California and a weekly farmer’s market, along with many other attractions which are held there. Next door to the fairgrounds is the Pacific Amphitheatre which hosts many notable acts. One of the most beautiful buildings, which stages world wide theatre, is the OC Performing Arts Center, with the smaller South Coast Repertory just around the corner.
Costa Mesa is literally minutes from the beach, yet quite a bit more reasonable in rents than it’s sister city, Newport Beach. It seems to attract many students from all over the globe. There are two major colleges in the area. Orange Coast College and UC Irvine. It is home to Vanguard University, an exceptional private, Christian based college, Whittier Law College, The Art Institute of Orange County, which includes fashion and culinary arts, WestMed College, with a curriculum in healthcare, and some of the top beauty schools, including Toni & Guy, Marinello, and Paul Mitchell. It is also home to 26 parks, a municipal golf course, and 2 libraries.
Taking public transportation is easy. Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA): Important routes include the 76 and 178 to Huntington Beach or Irvine, the 173 to Huntington Beach, the 55 to the South Coast Plaza and Fashion Island, the 35 on Brookhurst, 43 on Harbor and the 71 to Orange.
Bicycling: Like most Southern California cities, Costa Mesa is a car town. Conversely, since the city is pretty small and flat, with bike lanes on most major streets, bicycling is really the most economical way to travel locally. It is just a short jaunt from the local schools and to the beach from anywhere in Costa Mesa.
Costa Mesa is known for its green grocers and restaurants. It has some of the most unique eateries around, known for their conscious efforts to choose local ingredients. Clubs and dancing are easy to find on Harbor Boulevard in Costa Mesa. They are just minutes from the local schools. There are more places to dine and dance just down the road in Newport Beach. Many colleges have their own entertainment which may be worth the cost in savings. Many of the businesses will give a student discount with a valid I.D. Most colleges have a gym for workout, however, Costa Mesa has many private gyms in the area. There is also a municipal golf course open to the public.
Now, it’s time to start school with a smile, keeping in mind the reason for school- to study and learn, even though there are so many things to do and so many things to see.