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Berklee, Boston, and Being Yourself

by Adam Clayton

Choosing where to go to college is a huge life decision that everyone spends a lot of time debating. However, if you are a musician, Berklee College of Music should definitely be considered. As one of the world’s most prestigious music colleges, Berklee will push you to become a great musician, and teach you many things about yourself as a person. By getting into Berklee, you are opening yourself up to a world of new adventures and self-realization that will shape who you are as a person.

When I first moved to Boston, Massachusetts, in the fall of 2010, I had never been so far away from home in my life. Being from Mississippi and moving 1,300 miles away was kind of a culture shock. Not only are the students at Berklee from different parts of the world, EVERYONE in Boston comes from different parts of the world. I believe it is important to be open to new experiences and willing to put yourself out there so you can get the full experience of college life. That being said, I was really excited to get started in a new school in a new state that I had only visited once prior to move-in day.

Berklee College of Music offers many different types of education through music and liberal arts programs. I signed up for the Musical Performance Diploma, which focuses solely on music. Being surrounded by music at all times is an extraordinary experience. Every student, including yourself, is flowing with musical genius at all times. With so many ideas bouncing around from one person to another it is unlike any other college campus experience. However, being around so much music for so many hours a day can become overwhelming, so it’s okay to take a break from time to time. That gives you the opportunity to go out and explore the amazing city of Boston. It is filled with so much history that to not get out and experience it would be a shame. There are so many great places to see, places to eat, and places to go just so you can say you went.

To sum up all of my experiences of Berklee College of Music and the city of Boston would be a daunting task. These are a few thoughts that I believe will help anyone who is about to take that next step into the college atmosphere.

AdamClayton1. Be True to Yourself – Being away from home for the first time, you will find yourself in situations that will test your character and challenge your morals. Do not compromise yourself to fit in. Stand out and be confident in yourself and you will go far.

2. Live a Lot (Not Just a Little) – If you keep yourself confined to your dorm room and your studies at all times, you will drive yourself crazy. Get out and do something spontaneous.

3. Go to Class – You cannot learn if you are not present. It’s that simple.

4. Study/Practice – You aren’t going to just improve overnight. Putting the book under your pillow before you go to bed will not miraculously fuse the information into your brain. You have to put in the time and work hard to achieve your goals. There is no secret to success – it is the product of preparation, hard work and learning from failure.

5. Have Confidence in Your Own Musical Ability – Once getting accepted into Berklee, you will find yourself among the best musicians, young and old, you have ever been around. Yes, it is very intimidating, but do not lose sight of who you are as a musician. If you can get in, you deserve to be there just as much as anybody else. Believe in yourself and you can accomplish anything.

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