Bennet Cerven ’10 has lived many lives: diplomacy student, financial professional, musician. All of these have built off one another and led him down the path he has taken. “I wanted to study something that was political in nature that wasn’t a poli sci degree.”
That is what drew Cerven, a Chicago native, to Seton Hall’s School of Diplomacy and International Relations. He hadn’t had New Jersey on his radar until he decided to come to South Orange, and it would be the first of many choices that would not be obvious initially.
Upon graduation, he landed a job in finance with Cerberus Capital Management, working 80-100 hours a week and living in New York. While he did this for several years, something was missing.
“Honestly, it was adventure,” said Cerven. “I hadn’t had that life adventure I had read about in all the books.”
Music was the medium that allowed Cerven to pursue that goal. As a child he had trained as a violinist, playing in orchestras, and he picked it up again after his time at Seton Hall. He recognized music as a means to blow off steam, and he began playing in groups again and in the subways of New York.
Almost 10 years ago, adventure finally called. Cerven quit his job, packed some clothes and his violin, and bought a one-way ticket to London. He has spent much of the time since then with the group he formed with a friend called “The Trouble Notes,” living in Germany and performing throughout Europe and the United States.
The transition to a self-employed life abroad has not always been easy. “I try not to look back,” said Cerven. “… I’ve either got to swim and find the shore or drown.” But he considers his decision worthwhile, being rewarded with the chance to bring people together through music and with the inspiration he draws from those he meets on tour.
He credits his time at Seton Hall with setting him on his path. “I came to this way of being and this mentality because of the School of Diplomacy,” said Cerven of his growth as a person. “It’s really made me who I am.” | Franklin J. Shobe