Berklee Blogs

First-hand accounts of the Berklee experience

‘What You’re Supposed to Do’: Finding Success on a Nontraditional Career Path

By Ravi Lad

Album art for the single "Proud" by Ravi

Album art for the single “Proud,” by Ravi

My head was going wild. “Would this be the right choice for me? Am I good enough? Would they approve?” I took a deep breath and clicked “Submit Application.”

I was born and raised in the U.S. of my incredible Mom and Dad—two first-generation immigrants who left their small villages in India to chase a better life. The concept of “what you’re supposed to do” came as second nature to them, and they found great success in it.

What if “what you’re supposed to do” isn’t what I was supposed to do?

It’s no surprise then that I was taught the same. Work hard, focus on your core competencies, and get the grades. This path will lead you towards stability and happiness. It was around this time that I first discovered music. I’d taught myself some piano and played French horn for my school band for eight years. “Just remember though that this music thing is ‘on the side.’” *shrugs* “Okay.”

Next was attending Texas A&M University for petroleum engineering. I weathered one of the industry’s rougher patches and managed to land myself a job out of undergrad. This was it, what all the years of hard work were for!! However, as time passed, I couldn’t help but have this nagging thought:

What if “what you’re supposed to do” isn’t what I was supposed to do?

Armed with this idea and a lot of heart, I took a leap of faith—applying to Berklee Online in 2019 and writing/releasing my first original song “proud” in 2020.

They say finding your purpose is a lot like a sailboat trying to find its way to an island. There are sunny days and foggy days. There are days where the water is calm, and others where it’s rough. Most importantly though, there are gusts of wind (people and experiences) that push you either on or off course. In the end, it’s about reading those signs, taking them in stride, and moving forward. Though I’m not sure what’s awaiting me, I’ve never felt more “on-course” than I do now.


Ravi LadRavi Lad is a petroleum engineer by day, and a Berklee Online student and musician by night. Incorporating a diverse range of alternative, orchestral, and “neo-desi” influences in his music, Ravi is disrupting the status quo both creatively and in his career.

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1 Comment

  1. Tom

    Congrats to the class & Ravi on their great success !!

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