Mike Bland

Why I Quit Berklee Again

I've dropped out of Berklee a second time, both to pace myself and pursue programming again for a little while.

- Boston
Tags: Berklee, personal

I withdrew from Berklee last Friday, June 13. Nothing bad happened to make me drop out; if anything, a whole lot of good things contributed to this decision.

I’ve gained a tremendous amount of knowledge and insight from my four semesters at Berklee so far, but I feel like I need a bit of soak time to really incorporate it all into my being. It began to feel like I was trying to rush through Berklee to get it over with, and to prove something, rather than to take maximum advantage of the opportunity to learn from and connect with other musicians. Given that Berklee has a very liberal returning-student policy, I know that I can come back any time that I’m ready.

On the other hand, I’ve been surprised and overwhelmed at the positive response to my articles on [goto fail][] and Heartbleed, as well as the effort to improve OpenSSL’s automated testing. In the course of this work, other potential opportunities to continue making a positive contribution to society have come to light, opportunities I never could’ve imagined and never could’ve plotted to produce. To reuse a metaphor, it seemed as if there were red lights in one direction and green lights in another.

What I’ve learned from all of this is that I can’t entirely abandon either programming or music; I have to have both as huge, important parts of my life. I am incredibly fortunate and grateful to the universe for giving me the chance to pursue both, and to do so largely on my own terms.