Many of us have had our challenges attending Berklee, whether it be academic, artistic, or personal challenges. Bravely, senior Tyesha Simpson penned this open letter to Berklee on her Facebook page and gave us permission to repost it here. Let us know in the comments if it resonates with you:
Once upon a time you were a dream to us. A dream that felt so untouchable. And then we somehow touched you. As we opened our acceptance letters of hope, we cried because we knew that this chapter would be something that could only take us further than we’ve ever been in our musical journeys. But here we are entering what was supposed to be our last year of college but now our second semester of “taking time off” cause we can’t seem to afford to come back. Come back to a school that made us feel so welcomed and cared for at one point. A point that seems so faint to us now. Or maybe we actually are going into our last year of Berklee but not as joyful as we thought we would be, but actually stressed and depressed because we never got the big scholarship we worked so hard for all these years. The Berklee performance center shows we devoted so much time into day in and day out. Some nights not even sleeping because we are arranging shows for you.. Practicing backgrounds for you… Practicing dance moves for you. Spending too much time forgetting about ourselves. But where were the leaders at that were supposed to remind us to take time to focus on ourselves because none of this Berklee world really exist once you graduate? I don’t think there’s a class for that, huh? What about the international students that leave their families across the world to come here to live their dreams but can’t fully live because they can’t even make a true living… Not just because student jobs on campus barely pay but because a lot of them are only getting $2,500 worth of scholarships per semester when a year at Berklee is $40,000 a year and that’s not counting the $18,000 a year you pay to stay on campus. How does this work, Berklee?
As a Berklee student, I wake up and I thank God that I’m here and that even though I’m not where I want to be financially, I still get to study where I dreamed of being at one time. And The best part is that I get to meet beautiful students every day! And not because Berklee made them beautiful but they learned that on their own.
No colleagues, we are not Berklee but know that Berklee thinks that they are us. And in order for Berklee to change, we have to realize that it doesn’t change without us. They feed off of someone making it big from Berklee, even if that person struggled getting any help from them while they were here. They DO NOT own us… Nor our music! We have the power to say no. We are here because we pay to be here. (But even if we weren’t here, we can still be who we dream of becoming!) That puts us in control of us. Not the other way around. Remember that you are NOT oppressed by Berklee unless you allow your mind to be. Take what you can while you’re here but know that you are a unique artist created by God. NEVER give up because of where you stand at Berklee. This is a small piece to your big journey in life. Berklee is not the end of your world. This is supposed to be a place of learning and gaining confidence but somehow more kids come out sad and unprepared for the world of music. Something is wrong here. When will you choose to listen to us? Your students are hurting and they’ve been hurting for a long time now!
An artist that happens to go to a music school who’s name I don’t even know anymore. Xoxo
Class of 2017 ❤️✌🏾️ Let’s finish strong.
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF TYESHA’S LETTER? SOUND OFF IN THE COMMENTS!