I always thought that after I graduated, I’d write a book- something with a title like “Surviving Berklee” or “How to get through: The Berklee User Manual”.  It would be a collection of my own tips, as well as interviews and hindsight from successful students of each major. The purpose of which would be to help new and prospective students. Being in my final semester now, the idea of writing a book is very much present- shouldn’t I have some way to pass the torch?

Recently, I’ve reconsidered the title. The problem with writing a book about ‘surviving’ or ‘getting through’ is that it’s contradictory to the message the book wants to send.  Any successful student shouldn’t be striving to just ‘survive’ or ‘get though’, they should be striving to flourish and kick ass. Actually, that’s tip number one in my book. Mark it (aren’t I a great guy, giving away tips for free? After my book comes out, you’ll have to pay for pearls like that).

I know this column is supposed to be about internships, but anything I could say about being an intern is applicable to being a student, or human being in general, and I’ll use them interchangeably throughout this article. Anyway, back to kicking ass.

1) It’s a good idea to always do well with every task- even the menial ones.

At Berklee, your midterm project shouldn’t be an obstacle between you and a grade- a means to an end. It should be a project which you do to gain something. Something that will help you grow as a musician. Take the time to ask yourself what you’d like to gain from an assignment. Remember, you’re paying $17000 per semester (about $65 per individual class). it should be top priority to take something away from every chance you’re given to learn. Same goes for an internship. If you’re given the task of making phone calls, learn how to talk to people. If you know how to talk to people, learn to talk to people better. Mark it.

2) Learn to write and speak correctly. Not even professionally, just plain correctly- professionally is almost asking too much these days.

A tip on speaking- Eliminate the following words from your vernacular:

Like, y’know, dude, awesome, epic, hella (for all you norcals out there), chill/chillin’, sweet, crazy, norcal (except when referring to the word ‘hella’)

“Like” and “y’know” are, in linguistics, called place-holders. Their purpose in speech is to hold your listener’s attention. Although they’ve become commonplace, someone who does not use placeholders comes off as more mature and eloquent. A simple pause to gather your thoughts before answering a question is much, much, much more effective. Look at it this way, any musician knows that silence is part of the music too, and can even create- dun, dun, dun- suspense!

“Crazy” is a default response to a statement which tells the listener you’re not really listening. Don’t use it. Even if you really are listening, the listener may not think you’ve grasped their commentary as deeply as they wanted.

The rest of the words on that list are overused and have lost their meaning, or are bits of slang which make you sound like a fourteen-year-old teeny bopper. Even if your teeny bopper days aren’t too far behind you, maturity doesn’t go unnoticed among teachers and internship supervisors. Let me repeat that a couple of times:

Maturity doesn’t go unnoticed among teachers.
Maturity doesn’t go unnoticed among internship supervisors. Most importantly-
Maturity doesn’t go unnoticed among people.

Besides, no one wants to work with a teeny bopper. Mark it.

3) A tip on writing- Memorize this list of correctly spelled words:

You’re, NOT ‘your’ OR ‘ur’. The phrase “your not using this word correctly” is incorrect.
A lot, NOT alot.
Going to, NOT gonna.
I don’t know, NOT dunno.
Through, NOT thru.
Their, they’re, there. Learn the difference.
Then, than. Learn the difference.

The list goes on. The first two are really important and project a poor image on a resumé if misspelled. Remember: Maturity doesn’t go unnoticed among interviewers.

Also, it should be noted that the numbers one through ten are to be written out always when referring to a quantity, and optionally when listing items. For example: “I own two cheese-graters” or “Tip No. 1-  ‘Do well. Don’t just do.'”

Speaking and writing correctly are important in portraying both maturity, and a positive image. Mark it. Do you know what else is important in portraying a positive image? Your Facebook, and Email address…

4) Present yourself online the same way you would in person.

Anyone you want to network with will most likely come across one of those two items while doing business with you. Regardless of who it is, MrBend0v3r4M3@yummybunz.com does not convey maturity or seriousness. Neither does that picture of you in the shower with a champagne bottle on Facebook. Mark it.

That’s all for this week, folks. Thanks for reading, and hopefully I’ll be back with more stuff next week. In the meantime, read these fun comics about grammar:



Kyle Pyke is a Contemporary Writing and Production major. He currently interns at Time Bomb Studios in Somerville, MA where he works with both national and unsigned acts to create the best recording experience.