Why you Shouldn’t Dread Taking a Summer Semester

by Dom Jones

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that while everyone is off on their cool vacations or doing their awesome LA or NY internships or even just in the bosom of their hometowns for three months of R&R, you’ll be sitting in a classroom, tortured by all of their enjoyment, while scrolling Instagram. I’m here to tell you that it’s just not true, fam. You may be skipping out on a true summer vacation, but you’re getting a head start on the hustle that is the Berklee journey. It’s a trade-off, albeit a difficult one, and one that, if you focus on, you won’t regret. Here are some reasons that you shouldn’t dread sticking around this summer:

It’s cheaper

I mean, I think we can all agree that if we could knock a couple thousand (even a couple hundred) off of the tuition we pay here, we would. Taking summer classes means that you get at least a small savings on what you (or your parents) pay. If you’re looking for educational economy at Berklee, summer is the way to go.

There are less people here

Don’t look at this negatively. With less hustle and bustle on Berklee’s campus and in Boston in general, you can focus on your studies, and maybe bump up your GPA, if need be. You might even meet and/or collaborate with fellow summer-semester-goers that you may not have otherwise noticed during the fall and spring semesters.

You can actually explore Boston (and not just front like you do during normal semesters)

You know how you’ve been promising yourself since your first semester that you’d get out of the Berklee bubble and see what Boston had to offer? You know how you still haven’t done it? Oh, that’s just me? Oh… ok. Anyway, summer’s the perfect time to actually see the sights in Boston. The weather is bearable, thought it may be hot and humid, and with so many families away for summer vacation, you can pretend you’re a tourist for a weekend or two!

You can gig

Networking is a huge facet of attending Berklee, and it’s not just about building relationships with students, faculty, and staff, it’s also about building your Boston buzz as an artist. If this has presented itself as a challenge during the regular semesters, you can spend your summer building those all important relationships with venues and promoters, and getting some gigs under your belt outside of Berklee! (Don’t forget to keep track of them for scholarship renewal, if that applies to you.)

You can finish early (or on time, if you’ve been slacking)

Summer semester is for those of us who want to matriculate faster, but it’s also for those of us who keep taking Ws every semester and have fallen behind. Whichever category you find yourself in, take advantage of summer semesters to accomplish your goal of graduating in three years for the former group and four years for the latter group. If you’re ambitious enough to have two majors, definitely get in there with a summer semester and make sure you’re on the path to finishing in your projected time period.

Productivity is power

Last summer, when I went home, it was all sweet and nice for about the first two weeks, and then I missed Berklee and wanted to come back. Although I had gigs at home throughout the summer, it wasn’t the same as being here, and I felt like leaving for the summer disrupted the scholastic groove I had going. If you’re in the core (Harmony and Ear Training) and you want to stay fresh with those subjects, a summer semester might not be a bad idea. Plus – it’s only a 12 week semester.

You’ll still have fun

Ultimately, no matter where we are, our summers are what we make of them. You shouldn’t dread a summer semester at Berklee because you can still have fun outside of classes, even if you’re taking a full course load. Meet new people, give the 5-weekers some advice, take a day trip to New York, and enjoy the sun!


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