7 Things Freshmen need to hear from Upperclassmen

by Dom Jones

1st semesters are few coming into the Spring semester, but they exist. Beyond being kind and giving directions on how to get to certain classrooms, there is wisdom that upperclassmen can offer to the newbies, without being condescending and which would help them navigate Berklee (and sometimes life) in a much better way. Here’s my top 10:

7. You’re special, but you’re not special.

Yes, you can sing (or play) your face off, but you know that you’ve now just immersed yourself into a place where the majority of students can also do that as well, right? Confidence is key in this business, but don’t get so cocky that everyone hates you within your first two weeks. Relax. Your runs will make room for you.

6. Don’t be that person who fails ACI.

We know. We all think it’s not a very useful class, but it’s required of you, and do you really want to be the person retaking it next semester? Buckle down because at the end of the day, it’s one of the few easy (well, easier) A’s you’re going to get during your Berklee career.

5. The RAs are cool, but they will still write you up for breaking the rules.

Oh, you thought you were going to hotbox or play beer pong in your room with your RA because that’s your homie now? It’s their job to help you acclimate to life on campus. It’s also their job to ensure there is no underage drinking, no drug use, and that residents are being responsible. Don’t get so comfortable that you forget that.

4. The Freshman 15 is real, boo. 

You may be juiced that the Caf has burgers, fries, nuggets, and an assortment of other kinds of junk food available to you every day, but trying eating that exclusively all semester and see if you don’t look like a cute and chubby version of yourself by the end of the semester. There’s nothing wrong with body changes, but we should be a little health conscious as well. Mix in that salad bar they have downstairs sometimes, too.

3. If you’re flailing in the class, go to office hours.

To a professor, nothing’s worse than someone who has sporadically done the homework, had lukewarm participation in class, done poorly on every test, and then shows up the week before finals asking what they can do to turn their D into a B. That teacher is giving you major side-eye and has no compassion for your situation. You will know when you’re flailing at the latest by midterms. If you hit every office hour consistently after that, you teacher is much more likely to work with you to get that grade up, because they see you putting in the extra effort.

2. It’s not the end of the world if you don’t get picked for the first thing you audition for.

Oh, you weren’t chosen for Singer’s Night and you didn’t get a Caf Show? It’s your first semester. Relax. First of all, you’re competing with people who are in their last semester and are almost guaranteed to get what they go out for. Secondly, rejection is a part of life and a huge part of the business we find ourselves aspiring to join. Get the feedback from the audition, and keep it moving.


We know, we know. You met the person you’re going to spend the rest of your life with in the practice rooms. You guys were both playing that new Bruno Mars single, your eyes met across the hallway, and you knew. You’re young, this is college, you have like 8 classes. We’re not saying don’t date, but don’t get so wrapped up in your love affair that everything you came here to do takes a backseat. Networking means meeting more than one person, so keep it light. Music should be your main focus right now. Actually practice, actually write music, actually dig deeply into whatever major(s) you choose, actually do internships whether your major requires it or not. This four (or five) years will fly by in a flash.



About the Author

Dom Jones is a dual major in Music Business and Songwriting, and her work has been published in Huffington Post, Teen Vogue, Blavity and Ebony.com. She released her debut album, Wingspan, in 2014 and her follow up EP, Blackbird in 2016. Find out more about her at iamdomjones.com