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8 Things I Learnt from my Masters

The past weekend, I graduated from Boston Conservatory at Berklee. I officially have a Master of Music! 🎉👩🏻‍🎓

My two years at BoCo went by so so quickly. I have grown so much, gained so many new experiences and made so many friends. It's sad that it ended so abruptly considering the situation, but I am still grateful that I managed to end the semester with a bang 💥I still got my recital, plenty of performances and managed to somehow enjoy life so it was a good semester regardless 💁🏻‍♀️

I can't say that I know what's going to happen next, or that I'm secretly not freaking out at the unpredictability of the future 😱 However, since I gained so much for myself, I hope that sharing my experiences and what I gained might help others.

💡Whether you might be considering to pursue further education, or if you're headed for grad school and want to know how to make the most of it, perhaps this will give you some insights and ideas whatever it may be.

1. Stay organised and disciplined 🗂 Grad school is not a walk in the park. Since everyone is already a young adult, we are pretty much left up to our own devices. Many things will come your way and you need to make have a good system of organisation to combat this. Write things down in your calendar, take note of deadlines, make sure you keep things on track. 📊Nobody is going to chase you for that essay or submission, or to practice more for the performance in 2 weeks 🎻, or to rehearse more with your pianist. You are the only one who is responsible for your own self, your own growth and your own education. Whether you get things done is truly by your own discipline.

2. Say yes! 🙆🏻‍♀️

Yes yes yes! Say yes to so many things. Many new opportunities and experiences will come your way. Grad school is such a good time to try new things and experiment. 👩🏻‍🔬These opportunities helped me figure out better what I liked and disliked, how I worked best, what gets me inspired and what ticks me off 😡Saying yes to things made me have more new experiences and meet even more people. I wish I had so much more time and energy to say yes to even more things because I can see how much good can come out of saying yes to things 🙌🏻

3. But also say no.. 🙅🏻‍♀️ Do I sound silly yet? Of course, say yes to so many things. But yet, know how to say no as well. 🚫No is not a taboo word because you don't have to be a people pleaser all the time. No to one thing, can mean yes to another since your ⏰time and energy is freed up for that other thing! No does save you some sanity, especially if it does not align with your goals, or if it was not something that you wanted to do in the first place. No helps you create more time for yourself to recharge, rest and have so much more energy for those things you say actually yes to. Say yes to so many things! But also remember to say no to some. 🙆🏻‍♀️🙅🏻‍♀️

4. Challenge and push yourself 🏋🏻‍♀️ Grad school for me was like two years which I could just keep pushing and finding my limits. Being placed in a new environment, new culture, and around new people really made me so uncomfortable 🤢, but because of that I had to grow from it. This was the perfect time for me to try new things and keep pushing myself. I made myself go for competitions, prepare more performances and practice with bigger goals in mind ⛳️ I was lucky that my teachers and professors gave me so much space to find my own form of expression and flourish in my own way 🌻, while not being afraid to fail. And oh I failed so so much. There are so many times which I felt terrible and not good enough. I have cried so much in practice rooms or backstage 🤫But these experiences were essential for my growth. School is really the perfect place for this because the community wants the best for you. Once I'm out in the professional world, it is entirely different.

5. Celebrate your accomplishments 🏅and don't go crazy over your failures 🤬

There will also be some failures and that's okay. 🤖We are not robots which can optimise every move and enable every positive outcome. Don't beat yourself up over failures because failing doesn't mean you lost. You just found out what not to do. Learn from those things, keep your head high and keep going for that next win. 🙌🏻

And after working so hard, there will be many many wins. Sometimes, we work so hard for such a long time that once we achieve it, we go yay and move on to the next project ➡️When you achieve something, celebrate it! 🍾 Reward yourself for all that effort that you put in. Whether it is to go for a night out, buy a new bag or book, or even treat yourself to a good meal. It is important to celebrate your wins because it strengthens why you did all that hard work and recognise your achievements.

6. Build your support system of friends 👫

One of the reasons why I could get through school, was because of the community I had. I got to know so many new people in school and these friends were the ones who helped me get through so many things. They brought me coffee to light my afternoons up ☕️, and beers after those long intense days 🍻 They have cried with me and supported me. I doubt I would have got through grad school as a sane person without these people.

Whether you need more or less of it, we thrive on human interaction. We are not meant to be lone creatures 🦒Build a good support system to stay of sound mind 😂

7. Take time to rest and recharge 💆🏻‍♀️

While you are out there achieving great things at peak productivity, also remember to rest 😴 We are truly not robots (although sometimes things would be easier if we were). Unfortunately, our brains are not meant to do work 100% of the time. We need to recharge not only our brain but also our souls to avoid any sort of burn-out 🔥If things start to get on your nerves more often, you get more frustrated and more stressed, schedule in some self-care times or even days to take care of yourself. Recharging allows yourself to feel more filled and up for things! 🚰Only then can you also give more to your craft or your work. Do something you really enjoy and don't worry about "wasting time." Take time to read, go for a walk or just sit with your own thoughts.

⏳It's not wasting time if you can recharge for better productivity.

8. Never stop learning 📚 Learning can come from anything and everything. Even on a stroll, observing the world teaches you many things 🧠Grad school was when I learnt so much from every little thing - both in music knowledge and even life lessons. Even after graduating, the learning doesn't stop. There is so much knowledge out there that is readily available nowadays. I encourage you to keep reading and finding out things that you don't know. Constant learning helps me to keep improving and growing, engages my brain more and challenges myself 🧗🏻‍♀️Never stop learning because you never know what you are going to find.

xx, lishan

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