Posts Tagged ‘Graduation’

It’s difficult to be productive when I visit the place I lived for my first 18 years. A month went by and I didn’t really notice, because “home” feels like some entity separate from my life. But I recently relocated and my brain finally realized it wasn’t being used for its intended purpose (i.e. something other than an 8 hour shift at a sandwich shop and an overdose of movies and hummus.) Welcome back to reality, self!

I also realized I haven’t updated about my life happenings in a while. So here’s a list of life-changing moments I’ve had in the past 3 months, in no particular order:

1. Graduation!

Yep, I completed my last semester at Berklee, celebrated copiously with my family, woke up way too early for the ceremony, and shook the hands of Carole King, Willie Nelson, and Annie Lenox as I walked across the stage at the Agganis Arena. Having stayed up way too late enjoying Boston with my family, I very nearly fainted waiting the four hours before we could sit down, but luckily I made it 😉

2. Production Company

I briefly mentioned a startup company I was working on at the beginning of my last semester. It started out as one thing, and turned into a concert production company. While it didn’t last (mainly because neither I nor my partner will be in the same place come fall,) I learned quite a bit and was able to help out a few local bands on the way. It helped me realize that I would very likely be happy working on the putting together concerts, tours, or even festivals. Which leads me to…

3. Colorado!!!

I got an internship (housing provided!!) in Colorado this summer as a “Special Projects and Marketing Intern” at the Breckenridge Music Festival. This is definitely a completely different universe from NYC or even Boston, but I have always been drawn to the prospect of Colorado and this will be a kind of “trial-run” for that beautiful, mountainous state. Similar to last summer, I will post updates about my time here! First up will be about my cross country trip and first week on the job.

4. Job Hunting

This really began in earnest a couple months ago. Although I wasn’t looking for an internship, as they don’t pay in this industry, I’d rather be doing something I love and working on the side than working full time in a position that flattens my life. Currently I’m looking for a position to take once my internship is complete, and I am open to any place with people who are passionate and want to make great music.

In the meantime, I am starting my career as a freelancer! (and baby/pet/house sitter when needed. Hey, it pays.) If you know anyone looking for copywriting, web content, or social media management, send em my way!

Shoot me an email at musikleigh@gmail.com for more information.

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I’m a month in to my last semester of college and all of my classes are beginning to feel more and more a hindrance to real life…Namely startup work, networking, job applications, and, most recently, graphic design.

Computer Meme

Me. 24/7.

I’ve found throughout college that, while classes can be useful, many of them condense knowledge that can be found with some creative Googling. I may be more proactive than some, but I’d still like to think I shouldn’t already know what I’m being forced to learn before I take the class. Therefore, life has become a waiting game. Waiting to to get out of class, waiting for positions to open up, waiting to hear back from the positions I’ve already applied for (the ones I found in between all the companies looking for programmers,) and waiting for the day when I don’t have that stressful but comforting title of “student” to fall back on.

Of course, waiting is a bit of a misnomer…

One Does Not Simply Meme

I’ve hardly had any time to myself since the beginning of the semester and everything I do is to try to actively gain experience, knowledge, and credibility. It’s fantastic, but there’s still an underlying feeling of it all just having to wait – and that when the wait is over, I still won’t be good enough.

Even so, I’m being patient – proactive but patient. Currently I have no idea where I’ll be living in the summer or the fall, but there are ideas floating around and opportunities to be grabbed. They create a template that I can work with and a plan to be looked at from all angles. If A happens, then my path is B. Fill in the blank. Planning for a few different options makes it easier to accept what I don’t know, which is so difficult for the human mind. For now though, it all comes down to waiting.

 

I should have been a computer programmer.

This week I will be reading syllabi and finding my classes for the last time. My final schedule is set and I’m ready to graduate in May. And I couldn’t be more excited. Really.

Although there is this nagging fear

It’s more than just graduating though. I’ve graduated from things before…middle school, high school, like most people. This is the first time that, when I look at the last day of classes, there is an abyss that is called “The Future.” It’s almost like a cliff waiting for me – I’ve lived for as long as I can remember with the same basic schedule of school, break, school, break, etc. with some extra activities thrown in, but that consistency is going right out the window about mid-May.

It’s bizarre thinking about that change, which I’m sure will feel completely normal after less than a year. I can do anything with my time after I graduate (as of now I have no commitments) and yet I can’t. I have to make the decision to do one thing while deciding to not do the numerous other options that are just as viable. So this semester I’m attempting to find a method to cope with that weighty decision. Here are my thoughts:

1. Decide Short Term

Figuring out the present is always a good idea (duh). What many people don’t get is that you have to choose to do something now to get momentum and be inspired by your progress. By making decisions for tomorrow, next week, and a month from now, you’re setting small goals that you can look forward to.

Currently, I’m planning a ski trip for this weekend, focusing on my classes for this week, and hunting for a part-time job. Oh and I plan out and look forward to a delicious dinner every night 😉

I’ve also decided to take my health into my own hands and do an Elimination Diet, which I’ll get into more in another post as it takes some explaining…

2. Think Long Term

Physically taking the leap and doing something is a great way to get started, but there should always be a bigger plan in place if you want to accomplish your goals – whatever they happen to be. Want to work in the music industry? Go get an internship, you crazy sonuva bitch (because really, you have to be crazy to be in this industry…). Want to be in a financially viable band? Start rehearsing and studying how to actually make it profitable.

I have a few goals for myself as of right now. This summer I am going to take a road trip (hence the part-time job), after summer I will find a job working for a venue in New York or Boston, and eventually I will start my own venue, which I’ve already begun planning. I definitely know this is a lofty goal, but I’ve always been taught that you can’t succeed unless you try…so dammit I’m going to try.

3. Don’t Freak Out (Find People To Help)

There’s not much that’s less helpful than being paralyzed by fear, anxiety, or indecision.  Focus on figuring one thing out at a time instead of peering into the vast chasm of empty space that is your future. Baby steps, my friends, baby steps.

Also, find a handful (or more if you’re an extrovert) of people to be there when you need a friend, a few people who know what you’re going through to be mentor figures, and a vast network of people who can potentially give you advice or opportunities. Focus on meeting friends and get a good foundation, then branch out from there.

I’ve never been one to have a huge group of friends. I generally end up with one to three people I regularly hang out with or talk to and a slightly larger group of people (that are probably friends with my close friends), who I hang out with on occasion. I am totally fine with this. Find what makes you feel most comfortable and do that.

4. Make Decisions For You

I’m just guessing here, but I’d say most people think they do this (myself included). I’ve discovered in my time as a music business student that most people are doing a LOT. Organizing concerts, fundraisers, tech startups, etc. It can be intimidating and frustrating, because really, being surrounded by so much success can seem to diminish the successes in your life if you aren’t careful. I find myself wanting to take on more and more projects, even if they are not directly to the benefit of my end goal. Not such logical decision-making…

Solution? Block everyone and everything out for a while (done). Spend some time figuring out what really interests you (done). Consider every opportunity available to you and evaluate how helpful it will be to reaching your goal (in progress…).

Now be happy for all the other successes around you (and that you’re in such a positive atmosphere) and keep on chugging toward your goal, distractions be damned.

5. Know There’s Always Another Option

In my college career, I have at least dabbled in all the different paths in the music industry. From songwriting, to management, to social media marketing, to music journalism – everything except law basically. Each time I take on a new endeavor I find a new love. It’s always refreshing and I feel motivated all over again. Will I have to pick something to stick with for a while after graduation? Yes. But I know that, if worse comes to worst, I’m not being forced to stay in that field. I’m free to seek out other opportunities or create my own and that in itself can be a freeing feeling.

If you do decide your chosen path isn’t turning out as wonderfully as you imagined, make sure to bow out respectfully and with your reputation in tact. There’s no worse a feeling than forcing yourself to carry on without inspiration and failing your employer and co-workers.

As for me, I will likely always be doing a little bit of a lot of things, and that’s perfectly fine in this industry. In fact, nowadays it’s almost required.

It’s difficult to say exactly where I’ll be and what my life will look like by the fall of this year, but hopefully I can look into that chasm and find my way across.

It’s official, there are three weeks left until I start my last semester at Berklee College of Music. Am I excited? Incredibly. Am I scared? Definitely.

My entire life, I’ve pursued new places and experiences, always pushing to the next phase – new people, new places, new experiences. I changed schools three times before college, then transferred from my first college to Berklee, each time anxious to get to my new setting, fear very far in the back of my mind.

My first day of college, I brought cupcakes (baked my incredible mother, who rarely bakes) and posted sticky notes on all the doors on my floor and the one below me in an attempt to get to know people.

My first year at Berklee, I volunteered to do a lot of bitch work for the Songwriters Club, which led to planning bake sales, concerts, and being passed the torch at the end of the year.

Soon I learned that those people were not people I wanted to be friends with, but that there were others.

Soon I learned that working with people and creating something from nothing can end with a lot of love, as well as a lot of hate.

I also learned that I get bored…rather easily. There are people out there who can do the same work, every day, for YEARS and still find fulfillment. I am not them.

Now that I’m preparing to go into the “real world” where I get paid for people to tell me what to do, instead of paying for people to tell me what to do, this could be a problem. If my future boss wants me to go through endless files, organizing them or purging the system, I have to do it. If I’m told to do the same job every day for a year, I have to do it. Whether I find it fulfilling or not, if I want to earn a living and rise in the ranks, I have to keep doing jobs that I find pointless and unfulfilling.

At least that’s what I’m afraid of.

BUT, having read all the inspirational and productivity blogs I can in my spare time, I know that focusing on what I don’t want will get me exactly there. So Maybe I should focus on what I do want; someplace where I would excel.

I want a job where I am regularly starting new projects. I want to formulate ideas on how to increase efficiency. I want to find talent and creative ways to promote that talent. I want to imagine events and shows, each one different from the other, each with a purpose I believe in. I want to dive into my work, fully enthralled with it, then be able to switch to another endeavor a few months later.

I want more than to raise the sails or lower the anchor, I want to be given the wheel. Should we take this metaphor further? I think so. I want the seas to never remain the same, to shift from calm and slow to vicious and stormy, so my mind never becomes stagnant.

…Is that even possible for a first job?