It’s been almost seven years and I still yearn for my old life in Philadelphia. Just now, I was beginning to clean my apartment with Bon Iver playing in the background, pjs on, hair up — and I started to feel like I was back in my first apartment in East Falls. Apartment 6. You know what’s funny? My apartment number right now…is apartment 6. It’s even the exact same metal number sign.

Maybe it yearns for me too…apartment 6 re-do?

I moved to Philly to put space between my life in NJ and my future self. Right out of highschool, I got into Berklee College of Music as a vocalist. It was my dream school. I was going to major in voice and become as excellent a singer as I could. I’d spent four years envisioning the shows I’d be apart of, the extensive musical knowledge I’d have, and my adult life starting in the dreamy & cobblestoned city of Boston. Finding out that I was accepted was one of my proudest moments.

The reality is, this school was an obscene amount of money and doing something “not as conventional” I believe was a hard sell to justify — taking out loans would end up being far more than six figures…by my third semester.

My highschool GPA was 2.5 when I graduated. I knew that Berklee only needed me to understand music, be creative, and to sing with practiced, intentional technique. I had that in the bag. Singing and guitar lessons once a week, music theory classes and chorus at school, and the time I spent writing, performing, and recording every week made me feel maybe a bit overly confident.

Well, as it turns out, you can have a 0.0 GPA (exaggerating) and be accepted into Berklee as a MUSICIAN, but since MINE was so dang low I was a “diploma student,”(basically academic probation they told me). Yeah, hard sell on that loan co-sign. So 13 year old me who had toured the school, walked by the harbor, and drank boba tea from the market was needless to say heart b r o k e n. After a year of flailing around in community college, I couldn’t shake the yearning for the next step in my life. If it wasn’t Boston, then it had to be somewhere else.

While in the mist of my confusion and despair, not knowing what I was going to do, my best friend Karra received an acceptance letter from the Pensilvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Also duh, she’s a crazy good artist and one of the smartest people I know. When she asked me to be her roommate and embark on a journey to live on our own, I of course said yes.

to be continued….




songwriter — writer — dog lover — lover of flowers

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Recommended from Medium

How To Make Your Tanzania Safari Trip More Enthralling

Where Are The Agberos

How To Prepare Your Wallet For A Move To Los Angeles

The Temple Trail of Tamil Nadu

Living in Tehran in 2019!

Three Hiking Spots in Western New York

The Strength of Vision

Getting Lost in Maudslay State Park

From the perspective of a person walking their dog on a crushed stone trail leading to a stone bridge. Trees and shrubs along the side of the trails. There’s a small tan dog with a red harness.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Ashley McKinley

Ashley McKinley

songwriter — writer — dog lover — lover of flowers

More from Medium

Empowering Female Artists | Break the Bias

Daggers for Breakfast.

Sound Baths and Flexy Things