Picking up from yesterday and the Berklee admin attitude –
I remember even when I first started, it was a humongous runaround just to try to drop that first English class for which freshmen are automatically registered.
I didn’t want to waste any precious (not to mention expensive) Berklee credits on liberal arts classes that could be completed in other ways.
Seeing a million people and getting a bunch of forms signed to drop one English class is one of many examples of the Berklee runaround.
Granted, I am talking in generalizations. Some professors are wonderfully helpful. Some department chairs are lovely. The MP&E department chair (and practically the whole department) was extremely supportive and incredibly helpful during my open-heart surgery.
Even the Berklee administration actually did help me a lot when I needed it most. In the semester I got sick, a professor advised me to go to the counseling office for help. I practically laugh/cried in his face, knowing no one in any office like that at Berklee is going to help me. But surprisingly, after much prodding, I did go.
I was allowed to withdraw from my semester, even after it was technically over.
Though, that wasn’t Berklee’s doing, per se. An insurance company was the main entity behind that. (I didn’t realize the fees we pay with tuition would turn out to be so helpful…) Berklee did at least point out that I did have that special insurance that I didn’t know about, which could help with the school ramifications from my health issues. So, ultimately, Berklee was involved and helpful.
Credit where it’s due.But in general, I think you have to be extremely diligent at Berklee. I only knew about CLEP tests because I kept my ears wide open, and happened to see a paper in the registrar’s office. I only knew that you could technically declare a major first semester… well, I don’t remember how I learned that.
I just kept reading everything I could get my hands on when I started there. I took all the handouts from the regsitrar’s office. I read all the fine print anywhere. I talked to anyone who knew anything.
(And yes, I realize how hilariously ironic it is that the girl who knows “everything” failed to notice the rule on keeping her catalog year.)
Anyway, my experience with Berklee is not that people want to help you understand how to maximize your time there, and get things done quickly – but instead, many seem to want to put you in the cookie-cutter student box.
I get that. They gotta make money. Plus strategizing can be time intensive. And each one of us at Berklee thinks our life is super special and different. None of us are the most traditional college students. So, I’m sure it’s very hard to deal with thousands of us.
So, Berklee students, look out for yourself. Read everything. (And ask everything.) Be vigilant. Sometimes you will hear things are “not possible.” But oftentimes, they are – if you are a fighter and have the energy to show it.
I’ll talk more about my catalog year and Berklee tomorrow.