It’s all too fitting that I’m writing this post when I am.
A 22-page lab report was due this morning. I’m in my campus’ engineering building seeking solace between assignments, at the end of my sixth semester. One hand rests too comfortably on my calculator. The other holds my phone, and my thumb is poised to Shazam the latest tracks from my SoundCloud page playing in the background.
Life as a DJ goes beyond the nights in the booth. Booking meetings, promotional events, set-ups, tear-downs and networking all demand large chunks of time beyond the gigs themselves. We spend hours every week scouring the top charts to stay relevant, and even more hours crate-digging; eyes and ears peeled for that one mashup; edit; or remix that’ll turn heads at the club. When bookings start to pile up, the late nights; physical strain; and constant bass in our ears really start to bear down.
Student DJs are no anomaly nowadays. It doesn’t usually surprise clients or promoters when I tell them that I’m still in school. If anything, it helps juggling everything I’ve already mentioned on top of tests, projects and homework. It can be daunting. What really turns heads is when I tell clients my area of study: civil engineering. What that means is I want to oversee massive construction projects from buildings to bridges to the highways connecting it all. I want to literally make my mark on the world, as the cliche goes.
In the summers, I intern at a construction management firm in the heart of New York City by day and when the work week is over I hop on the train to whatever club I’m booked at that night. But I won’t deny the overlapping of my two worlds can be exhausting at times. The weekend afternoons when I grind away at calculus problems and my mind drifts to my controller in the corner of my dorm room are there. And the late nights when I try and try to be fully present at my gig, but I can’t help but wonder about that test next week or that quiz I took this morning are there.
I’ve got a great support system, though. My girlfriend and my mom keep me sane, organized, and motivated. I have close friends who often offer to tutor me in the school library, and later will meet me at the venue for my set. My clients are often understanding should I have to push a meeting back ten or fifteen minutes to squeeze in a meeting with a professor. My daily planner has become my best friend.
It’s truly a balancing act. Some weekends, especially when midterms and finals draw close, FOMO sets in as I pore over my books while my friends are out partying ’til the sun comes up. But, when I breathe the sigh of relief after finishing a complex homework problem or drop that one remix I found between classes and see the faces of people on the dance floor, it’s all worth it.
Do you juggle a life outside DJing? Let me know in the comments!
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