Male lead wasn’t something that I thought I would ever have the privilege of saying, but in the first week back from Christmas break, I was surprised to be able to call myself Prince Charming in the musical Cinderella, which as luck should have it, is male lead. As soon as parts were assigned, practices were in full swing and that meant sacrifices had to be made. The early stages of stress began to whisper in my ear.

After schedules were handed out, I was extremely limited on my work hours, and therefore felt an empty space in my pocket from where money should have been. The money stress wasn’t such a big deal until the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities decided to slap me with a $250 confirmation fee, $25 housing application fee, $200 Housing confirmation fee and other costs for other things for other people and for other businesses. So the broke life continued on well into the musical season and probably will continue well after that. Though the money stress may seem like enough, it doesn’t stop there.

At first, practices started at five and ended before the basketball and hockey games started. Then it cut into half time, and before you knew it I was missing entire games all together. Not that that was too much of a big deal, but it’s one of those little things you don’t think about until you don’t have them.

The biggest amount of stress stemmed from the impact I allowed the musical season to have on my grades. Note how I said “I allowed.” The hardest thing by far this year wasn’t memorizing lines or songs or eliminating the awkwardness of not one, but two kisses. It was the struggle to maintain good grades.

The gradually increasing musical practices started to get to me. While I was at practice, I was practicing. That meant I wasn’t typing away on my keyboard while I didn’t have a scene, but instead I just sat somewhere and did nothing. Then when I returned home late at night and somehow exhausted, I would crash…HARD. Some nights I didn’t even take out my contacts, and if I wasn’t taking out my contacts, I was NOT going to be taking out AP Biology homework or thinking about the latest blog post I had to type. Nope. Instead, I let things slowly slip out of hand like most students do towards the end of a semester–until crunch time had to sink in.

Stress really didn’t hit me until crunch time did as usual. The worst part? It’s not the end of the semester, which means I WILL be doing this process again at the end of the semester with everyone else that procrastinates. I know that I shouldn’t procrastinate, as does everyone else, but it just happens, and when it does we feel as if it’s the most stress we’ve ever felt in our entire lives. Sadly, failing a class is not an option. If I were to fail a class, all of the lines everyone had memorized would abruptly come to an end because I couldn’t finish my work. So, I added that to my list. What is this list, you may ask? Well since you’re full of questions as usual, I’ll tell you.

As at the end of every musical, I do a lot of reflection. I list off the things I learned from beginning to end.

So here’s my list:

  1. Never sell yourself short. Maybe you want a lead role in a musical, or maybe you want to be admitted to Harvard. Whatever your goal is, you have to try instead of beating yourself up before you actually do something to achieve it.
  2. If you’re stressed out, do something about it. If you are really upset that you couldn’t hang out with your friends at a basketball game, hang out on the weekend (as long it’s not the Big Honkin’ Rehearsal from 1pm-9:30pm on a Sunday) and do something. If you’re having stress from being broke, figure out where your money is going and look for cheaper alternatives and things you really don’t need. Most importantly, if you’re stressed out about your grades, you need to tell someone that can help (i.e: the teachers for the classes you’re stressed out about). Also, you need to give yourself a realization that if you don’t get crackin’ and do something about it, it will only hurt you in the end when you’re too far buried to catch up.
  3. Learn to say no sometimes. I learned early on that I was taking too much on. If someone asked me to help them with their Spanish homework or Math homework, I immediately said yes and helped them even if I was doing my own homework. That only puts you further behind.
  4. Don’t get sick the week of the show. I don’t know if I need to go into more detail here. It just sucks.
  5. If you can’t think of the right line to say, make something up that sounds real. In the beginning, I forgot my lines a lot, but I had to play it off and move on as if I hadn’t messed up. This is a great life lesson, too.Here comes my metaphor. Life is a forgotten line that you make up, hope it works and move on as if nothing happened. In the future, you’re “making up” skills get better until you forget that you ever had a different line there at all.
  6. When stressed, surround yourself with things that make you happy. As I write this I am feeling stressed, but instead of sleeping, I made myself lasagna, I’m jamming out to my music and sitting up in my bed in my favorite sweatshirt.

So, though the stress around me may be too much to handle sometimes, it’s those moments when I’m sitting in my bed, eating lasagna in my favorite sweatshirt and listening to my favorite music that makes the stress just a little easier to handle.

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Paw Print Editor in Chief Devin Newby writes the weekly sports column "The Final Buzzer."