Berklee Blogs

First-hand accounts of the Berklee experience

Life After Berklee – Growing Pains

Gracie Finnigan-Fox, a 22 year-old Berklee graduate, tells a funny and heart felt story about her immediate life post Berklee. Fox studied Pro Music and now teaches and performs in the land of palm trees – Los Angeles.

My post-grad plan was to pack up the scant belongings I possess and head out to that magical, musical land of Los Angeles. The details of what would happen once I got there were a bit fuzzy in my mind, but I was confident that I could figure it out when the time came.

Of course, life never complies with the plans we so carefully lay, and on May 8th, 2010, I found myself wearing a robe and cap, clutching a diploma and feeling overwhelmed with exhaustion. So instead of jetting straight from Boston to LA, as I had planned, I wound up moving south for the summer to live with my boyfriend and waitress at a rib joint. However, the novelty of doing very little soon wore off and by August, we were cramming our car with suitcases and preparing to trek out to Los Angeles.  To say that the subsequent road trip was a disaster would be an understatement—in the two months we spent traveling, like a pair of characters from On The Road, up to New York, through the mid-West, and over to California, we were robbed of all of our clothes (odd), broke a car window, hit a deer, and totaled the car. We were also close to broke when we reached our destination.

Now I know that if you’re reading this, you’re probably thinking something along the lines of, “this is inspirational how??” but indulge me for a moment. So many of us Berklee kids, myself included, expect fame and fortune to fall directly into our laps as soon as we waltz out of those double doors on Commonwealth Ave. We expect to have contracts and tours lined up, and while that absolutely DOES happen to some, in most cases, the transition from student to working musician is a hap-hazard, messy and glorious one. You may not go through exactly what I did, but it’s likely that you’ll experience some growing pains, and I want you to know that it’s not a sign of failure—it’s perfectly normal. During this period, there were times when I desperately wished I had picked another career—nursing? Zoo keeper? Librarian?—but at the end of the day, I stuck with my dream. And I’m glad I did, because once I got to LA, things really did begin to look up…

In her next post, Gracie tells about what happened once she finally made it to her destination in Los Angeles.


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  1. “The transition from student to working musician is a hap-hazard, messy and glorious one.” Well said…because oh yes it is. When it came down to it I needed to figure out what set me apart from all other talented musicians. And then taking the plunge and never giving up, because the glory will come but it may come slow and that IS in fact very normal
    (even for a Berklee grad).

  2. Mindy Gallagher

    In 1980, I graduated, with exactly the same dream. Only, I didn’t follow through. I got halfway across the country and landed in Minneapolis where a former Berklee roommate lived. Took me many, many years, and a couple of career changes, but am now a working musician. God bless you for not giving up. It is worth it in the end.

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