Being an International Music Student
Noshi here with another self-centered (kind of) blog post.
As many of you might have known, I am not from the US, despite my accent being very misleading to some. And as such, I always thought there were things I wish I knew when I first started on this journey that I know now. I mean, this is strictly if you're going to a 4-year college in the US. So, keep that filtered disclaimer in mind.
Do I always end my intro with a disclaimer? #selfconscious
Also, this post has a bunch of pictures of me. So yay. Embarrassment.
Make as many friends as possible as soon as possible.
Okay. Don't kill me, but this is so important. Because before I left Nassau, I was so quiet, people barely knew who I was. Heck, at a certain point in senior high, a handful of my classmates thought I was mute. And this actually resulted in a lot of barriers/missed opportunities back there. Luckily, though, I did have a set of very close friends, family and actually my family's name to help me along the way. (I mean...not my family name but like...people knew my uncles and whatever. Yay. No need to talk.)
In a foreign country, you don't have that. Or...not a ton of that the way you do back at home. So, you have to really put yourself out there like I did. Like this mute, barely visible, very sheltered boy introduced himself to every single human being in the city (whom I didn't think was a serial killer), you should too. I mean, it's going to be awkward and super painful for the vast majority of hyper-sensitive creatives like us, but early on, before the agendas are set in, you tend to find the people you want in your life and who want you around. Also, if you're a good judge of character, you can befriend some future career builders. Haha.
Note. Do not...under any circumstance...befriend someone you think would be good for your career. That's a whole different thing. That's business. I'm talking about forming friendships and bonds here. These are probably much more precious than just business bonds, and you can crash at each other's place in an emergency. Just saying.
Be picky with your professors and your degree track.
I haven't the slightest clue how or why I got into the habit of hyper planning my entire academic life, but wow did that help out. I mean, given, I've been called slightly obsessive with my unidirectional focus on success in entertainment, but here's a myth that needs to be destroyed.
You do not need to know everything to plan.
Try to think of what you do know. Like okay... You want to be a musician. What's one interesting thing about that? Jamming? Fill yourself up with as many practical courses as possible, OR do this thing where some of my friends got rid of the minor courses they didn't care about so that everything else was what they loved. Writing? Cool. Maybe you SUCK as a composer or songwriter. So, maybe do a lot of theory, OR you can't take all the classes that get you to those second/third semester writing classes.
And about that professor... Not matter what you do, your professor is super important. It's a huge percentage of why a school or program is good. And that's beyond how well they teach. For example, I was both interested in and completely stupified (that's a word) by composing for percussion. I'd never so much as hit a hand drum, but percussion was so interestingly intriguing, especially in classical music where it seemed almost completely unrestricted. So, as I entered my compositional (also...a word....?) track, I looked for professors who were percussionists or had that extra oomph of percussion knowledge.
These professors are people, too. Surprise. lol So, a lot of the time, you can tell just by chatting with them, what they are particularly interested in and excited about; proud sometimes. Which brings me to my last point on this topic. Talk to your professors! I mean...I never made friends, I thought that was weird. (MOST good students do.) But I did think having a few conversations with them outside of class teaches you a lot of things that aren't on the syllabus.
Internships can happen at any time.
Um. Nobody told me this. And kudos to you if you knew, but NOBODY TOLD ME THIS. So you really don't have to wait until you graduate to work at an internship. These things are insanely commonly unpaid. (Furiously immoral, but whatever.) So, paying for college/university and deciding to stay on as a cute innocent internist here in the good ol' USofA will make you broke. Broke broke. Lots of brokeness.
So, hey. Consider a light semester (Summer?) and a light internship combo. How 'bout that? See because internships are so much more important than ANYBODY TELLS YOU. Did I mention that nobody told me this? And since you're a free creative mind bold enough to study the arts in this economy, go for whatever that's remotely in your field. Aside from the knowledge you gain about your own career, it helps you build up a lot of other skills like dealing with people you're not allowed to befriend, time management with out-of-your-control schedules, commutes to Mars and so on.
Stay in touch with your family and friends back home.
Listen. I did not. LOL
The excuse was that all of this was incredibly busy. I had no time or energy. I hated being on the phone and blah blah blah blah. I'm sure that's not most people, but it was me; not really keeping in contact. And for a time, my brothers thought I disliked them. Whew. What they didn't know is that I spoke about how I felt like 1/3 of a human being without them around. (Two. I have two brothers.) But you know, not all people are like you or think like you, even if you share the same game files. So, you have to make the time and the effort.
My entire household hates speaking on the phone and hates being on camera. So, I mean, partially, that worked out. lol Today, it's all about Whatsapp, Instagram and Messenger; mostly Whatsapp - the Caribbean. We chat every day like I do my friends and colleagues. And well, actually, I almost exclusively only speak to my family on Whatsapp. Go figure. But my point is, our relationship is so strong, we almost forget we're not in the same country. (We are in the same timezone, though...for now?)
See now, here is where I should post a picture of my brothers and myself, but low and behold, we ain't gat none to share. Oof. This is generational. My family hates being on camera, and not seeing each other in the flesh for five years absolutely does not change that. Go judge ya left eye.
Be selfish. Be generous. Accept kindness.
I mean, that's a lot of things, but they're all connected.
Being selfish is important, and I really think there is a better word for this, but I'm far too lazy to search through my vocabulary or that of Thesaurus.com (bonus advice! Use this website a lot.). But what I mean is that you are just as important as everybody else. Your mental health and need for downtime is just as important as the need to study and work. Sometimes, you're going to have to break some hearts and make people feel some type of way so you could sit home in bed liking everybody's posts on Instagram but saying you didn't have time to go to your bff's roommate's dog's bday party. I mean, honestly, this happens.
Being generous doesn't mean giving out money or even things. Contrary...or...relative to taking time for yourself means giving time to others. Maybe one day, you feel like a complete bat case and decide to wake up 8AM in the morning and catch a friend online at the same time. Say hi. Catch up. Offer to fall asleep two hours later at DD's (If yall don't know this acronym, then, Idk what to tell you). Our assets are more than money. It's our time, our attention, our talent and yeah okay money and things some times. Like one of my better off friends absolutely dug me out of an extreme bill that was trying its best to make me actual homeless.
Which actually flows right into "accept kindness". My late Grandmother said something very prolific about that, and of course I forgot the exact words because lol, sorry. I can feel the glare from the afterlife. I think she just told me that when someone lends a helping hand, do not be too proud to take it. And, you know, you may think or feel one way or another about this. But you don't know what's going on in that person's mind or what compelled them. Sometimes giving...one of our many assets...helps us in other ways that are just below the surface. Plus, you can give back. Full circle, that.
Okay, I'm getting hungry. So, I'm going to end this blog post here. Surely, I will speak more about this on a later date. Or maybe I'll actually have a new Youtube video up on our channel discussing it. Haha. Haaa... Time.