What Your Mode of Transportation to the Fourth Floor Says About You


By: Scarlett O’Comartun and Jude Harvey

Many students roam the halls of Baltimore School for the Art’s very own fourth floor. Said floor is home to some of BSA’s brightest teachers, for example, Valerie Johnson, Ileana Imhoff, and Maria Tronolone. 

But how do students get to this sweet haven you might ask? And what does it say about them? 

Main stairway – Risk Takers 

The main stairway is for people who are either going to get water in the middle of class or who have incredible amounts of patience. You have guts if you go up the main stairway. 

You have  top-notch behavior when going up or down this red carpet. It is the perfect place to show off the outfit you had planned the night before or strut your stuff in front of your hallway crush. 

Although it might not be avoidable, the main stairway is only safe in the dead middle of class periods. For if one attempts during transition periods, the possibility of tripping and ramming into another student’s crotch is enevedable. If you take these stairs, you are a risk taker. 

You probably really like The 1975 or wear those slippers made of rubber golf balls. You have no fear and don’t mind the awkward smile you have to exchange when you bump into someone and they turn around to glare.

The only upside to the main stairway is when the devil has taken over you mid-academic class and your absolute quench for water becomes your main priority, then you can race down those main stairs like your life depends on it and feel that sweet paper rim on your tongue. 

Then those steps are like walking down a cloud. Or those foam slippers made out of rubber golf balls. 

Back stairway – Go Getters 

Although the back stairway may seem like a place to hike up your Y2K low rise jeans, eat an in-between class granola bar, or take a moment of peace, it’s not. Many people take this route, even though it’s shadowy and lacks renovations. Watch out for running into Mr. Ventimiglia. 

But do take a second to stand and watch the choir class as they sing along to Mozart on the second floor through the tiny window. 

On your way to your after-lunch classes, be sure to watch out for the hundreds of empty water containers right by the door; or are they modern art? We will never know. Stay clear! 

Be sure to be cautious when exiting to the first floor through these stairs because you will have to successfully navigate through the backrooms of the stage design and production department if you ever want to see the light of day again. 

Make sure to add the looming doom of the stage design room that you pass in between the first and second floor to your phobia list. 

You also might bump into the occasional class-skippers who think they’re being sneaky by lurking in the shadows of the dark halls. 

If you take the back stairway up, you’re a go-getter! A fast walker who just hates staring straight at people’s behinds as they move at a snail’s pace up the stairs. You enjoy the Silence of the Lambs aesthetic and find comfort in the Brazil-like, uncanny valley atmosphere. 

Front elevator – Newbies

The front elevator is located to your left as you walk through the front doors and is a well-lit and obvious way to get to the fourth floor. The ride takes you to many stops, including the second floor, for musicians who don’t like walking up the stairs. 

This elevator is almost always jam-packed. If you are coming from a crowded class or lunch period, be prepared to be uncomfortably close to people, hear their music full blast through their earbuds (or with no earbuds at all!), or  be turned away awkwardly by the already sardine-packed students in the elevator. 

And be sure to protect your sinuses from the whiffs of Ariana Grande perfume you will inhale. There will also be a stop at the third floor where people will complain about how it is not that far from the lower floors and students should just walk.

If you take this elevator, you are either more of a newbie or a teacher. You like the obvious way and have not yet learned, or simply do not care, that there are less stressful ways to make your way up to the fourth floor. 

Back elevator – Subtle Loners

The back elevator, which you can find to your right as you walk through the main doors, is more exclusive. Even though it’s in clear sight, people tend to forget about it due to the dim lighting. 

But, if you learn the ways of it, you can learn to enjoy its fake wood paneling and slight smell. This lift’s basement stop also comes with a free show! Students get the joy of gawking at the set of abandoned washing machines as they wait somewhat patiently to hear those music-to-the-ear elevator dings. 

If you take this elevator, you are more of a subtle loner. You enjoy the peace and quiet, but like seeing a few film students taking giant carts of film equipment down from the third floor. 

You’re a mellow student, but probably take weekly trips to the nurse because you “have a migraine.” 

You may be the kind of person who enjoys a bit of Arctic Monkeys or wears sweatshirts with niche pictures on them that only certain people would understand. You probably have Letterboxd and are sure to ask Mr. Roblin if he “ever had an emo phase” so you two can relate. 

This is also the elevator that defiant visual artists slip into on their way to the top of the building in the morning in an attempt to get out of the routine bag checks. We see you! 


Main stairs, film stairs, then main stairs – Free Spirit

If you decide to take the long way to the fourth floor, which is up the main staircase, through the music department, up the stairs leading to the film department, and then up the main stairs, you are a stroller. 

You are a wanderer, a free spirit, and a nomad. You’re a real Jack Karouac, On The Road! You don’t need no schedule and no man! 

When given an icebreaker on the first day of school, such as two truths and a lie, one of them is definitely your star sign, and Never On Sunday is where you call home. 

You are almost always late to class because it takes 15 minutes to go this way. Some of your favorite activities might include going to the bathroom during class and sitting on the toilet on your phone, starting BSA finest people instagram pages, and eating those smiley face french fries in the cafeteria. 

In conclusion, we all fit one of these stereotypes, even if we would not like to admit it. And we most definitely all know the back stairway go-getter or a front elevator noob.

So next time, join those free birds on their way to the fourth floor. Or take a risk and walk down the main staircase at 3:51pm. 

We can all find contentment in the fact that no matter what way, route, or mode of transportation students take to the fourth floor, We all have shortness of breath far into our next class.

To contact these writers email Muse Newspaper at musebsa@bsfa.org.

Photographs taken by Quinn Bryant for the BSA Muse.