by Lily Lyons
By the end of finals, sleep starts to feel as rare as a Berklee student who only plays triads. For those last few days, all of our hopes and dreams about our music careers disappear and we only aspire to be under the covers, gently losing consciousness. We start to complain competitively with our friends about who slept the least, and feel a perverse sense of pride when we win with our 30 minute 3:00am nap. But we don’t stop daydreaming about real dreaming. The idea of not having to wake up early panicked that we’re missing a deadline is just too sexy. When Saturday morning—ahem, afternoon—rolls around we can finally awaken late and fully rested, without any guilt for sleeping in, and it will be bliss.
2. Eating real food
Finals had us all like: ‘this chip counts as lunch right?’ or ‘but caffeine is nourishing!’ Come winter break and we will no longer have to live off of double shots of espresso and pop tarts. If there’s one thing our friends and family are bound to do over the holidays, it’s feed us lots of good food. Endless amounts of good food. And those of us who stay in Boston will get to treat ourselves to our favorite restaurant or cook up a mini-feast after all the finals stress. We’ll remember what it’s like to not be constantly hungry and exhausted and that’s a beautiful thing.
3. Actually practicing the skills we’ve learned
If you’re anything like me, you like taking a few days off after the semester ends but then you get restless to be doing something. You may still be too exhausted to be productive but you shuffle out of bed in your pajamas and pick up an instrument and mess around a bit. It’s in these moments, when you’re not under pressure, that you really find out how all those secondary dominants and low interval limits make sense. Or maybe you’re find yourself reading an article about Spotify and you can apply what you learned about streaming royalties in your business class. We learn so much in so many different subjects at once when we’re at Berklee, and it can take that break time to process all the cool things we’ve been exposed to.
4. Remembering that music can be fun
On the other hand, sometimes we’re overwhelmed with the theory and the production concepts and writing techniques. Break can be a time for us to step back a little and remember why we do music in the first place. We get to make music for ourselves, for the little kid in us that got excited singing along to our parents’ records, or first picked up a violin mesmerized. We can write the songs we’ve wanted to write, play the shows we’ve wanted to play, and take the creative risks we haven’t taken while we’ve been worried about grades.
5. Celebrating our accomplishments
Finals are finally over! We lost hours of sleep and sanity and went through some crazy highs and lows. No matter the outcome, at a certain point we have to give ourselves credit for every hour in spent a tiny dark room bent over our instruments practicing, for pulling all-nighters to create music that moves people. We’ve all had to fight in various ways to get to this school and thrive, and we need to acknowledge that and be kind to ourselves. The beginning of winter break is a moment to step back and think about the progress we made and be proud…until next semester when it starts all over again.
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE THINGS TO DO OVER BREAK? LET US KNOW IN THE COMMENTS!