Berklee Students Give Advice to Their High School Selves

As the semester kicks off, students reflect on what they wish they knew in high school—from knowing when to slow down to not worrying if My Chemical Romance would reunite.

August 31, 2023

The new semester marks the arrival of new and returning students ready to push their musical journeys forward. But it wasn't all that long ago that many of them were in high school dealing with their own insecurities and wondering whether or not their artistic passions were worth investing in.

In the spirit of "If I knew then what I know now," we asked current and recent students featured in our Student Spotlight series—from undergraduates in Boston to graduate students in Spain and New York—what advice they'd give their younger selves. Here's what they said:

Be Yourself . . .

Aileen (Ping-Chen) Shen: You know what is deep down in your heart; do what you love and are passionate about. Focus, and don’t let the world or other people’s sayings and opinions shake you. Go make music and perform.

Gaby Pedraza: Stop comparing yourself to others. This is such an easy pitfall for all of us musicians and artists. . . . As long as you love what you do, no one will ever be able to bring you down.

. . . But Stay Open

Carolin Bohnemann M.A. '23 (Valencia): Taking a risk and doing something new and getting out of your comfort zone will be worth it. Do not be afraid of moving abroad, living on your own, and studying in a different language, because the people you meet and the memories you make are priceless.

Cindy Latin B.M. '19, M.A. '23 (Berklee NYC): Try anything that sounds cool. Even if it feels like something so far removed from everything you’ve learned so far in life, there’s no better time to start, and sometimes you’ll surprise yourself with how naturally inclined you can be towards new skill sets.

Slow Down . . .

Taijee Shavers B.M. '23: Stop stressing; everything’s going to be okay! My high school self was definitely a nervous wreck. . . . I would honestly just say that he’s in the right place, and he’s going to get everything that he’s worked hard for. It’ll all pay off in the end!

Bahar Badieitabar: Embrace patience and recognize that progress is not always linear. I would encourage myself to trust my efforts and find joy in the journey, rather than become overly fixated on the result.

. . . But Keep Going

Joel Quatrocchi: Just keep going, keep trying. Things might not happen the way or at the time you anticipated. Just hold on a little longer, and do not give in.

Tyesha Kohli: It's okay to lose yourself in the crowd at times when you're trying to learn and grow as a person. You will find your way, even if it takes a while. And it's okay to mess up!

Also, Be . . . Psychic?

Daniel Ramos B.M. '23: There will be an app known as TikTok in the future; post dancing videos there before anyone else does. You will thank me later.

Julia Perry B.M. '23: You don’t need to mourn My Chemical Romance like that; they’re gonna get back together.

Caio Miguel Jiacomini B.M. '23: During the FIFA World Cup 2014 semifinals, Brazil will lose to Germany 7-1. If you convince your parents to bet all of their savings on this result, you will likely be able to afford tuition without a sweat.

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