With week of night consuming rehearsals, College Night is a strenuous commitment with lots to consider in terms of scheduling. Photo by Katie Compton.
Purple and gold is everywhere. From the ribbons strung up around campus to the clothing students wear and, supposedly, the color of the blood pumping through their veins: College Night is here.
Preparation for the nation’s longest running homecoming tradition began as early as late December with both sides holding mixers to welcome new members. On Jan. 7, the sides began holding auditions for their shows. Then, on Jan. 20, the sides revealed their casts and their signs. From then on, for the students in the shows, it’s been an endless rush of going from class to the caf and finally to night swallowing rehearsals.
It’s easy for students to get caught up in the College Night excitement and even easier for them to fall behind in class. With rehearsals that go into the late hours of the night, having to get up for class in the morning can be an exhausting process.
As part of this year’s Purple Side cast, freshman musical theater major Michael Loman understands that this is just the way things have to be.
“When you’re in College Night, it’s kind of a necessity to stay up on your school work because that’s what determines if you get to play or not,” he said. “So, I think for me, knowing that schoolwork comes first before College Night, that’s what keeps me moving forward.”
Rebecca Blankenship, a freshman interior design major and business minor, credits her ability to balance her responsibilities as a Gold Side cast member and student to an early graduation program she was in during high school.
“I developed better time management skills, which is the most significant factor in keeping good grades during the two months of College Night,” Blankenship said. “I basically carry a full backpack around all day so that during dinner break or when the cast takes turns running scenes, I can pull out my books to crank out my study time.”
To take some of the pressure off of their students, some professors plan their syllabus around the College Night activities. Dr. James Day, professor of history, always schedules his first exam of the spring semester after Homecoming weekend.
“Achieving a balance between those activities and the academics presents a great challenge,” Day explained. “However, you’re only in college once, so it’s important to enjoy events like College Night while you’re here.”
Dr. Bruce Finklea, assistant professor of mass communication, adopts a similar attitude by not planning an assignment that requires a lot of outside class time and setting due dates for before or after Homecoming weekend. For students that are juggling the pressure of College Night and academics, Finklea advises that they manage their time wisely and not overextend themselves. According to Finklea, some students love the pressure while others crumble.
“Look at what your responsibilities for class are and finish a couple of assignments early so that way you won’t have to worry about them the week of College Night,” he said. “You can have your cake and eat it too, you just have to plan how you’re going to juggle all of that.”
Ben Kaiser, a junior BFA double concentration art major and Gold Side’s artistic director, has micromanaged his school, work and College Night schedules to the point where they overlap. Kaiser says he is able to get to everything on time and keep his 3.8 cummulative GPA.
As artistic director, Kaiser runs the scene shop, designs and makes his side’s sign and tries to recruit more workers. The art major says there’s never a day that he’s not in the shop.
His most stressful days begin at CVS where he works from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. so he can make it to his art history class at 12:30 p.m. When that class ends at 1:45 p.m., he has 15 minutes before his two hour and 30 minute metal casting class at 2:00 p.m. Then, from 5:30 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. he works on the sets for Gold Side. He’ll start on whatever homework he has when he gets back to his apartment and manages to get to bed around three or five in the morning.
“There are times where the pressure builds up and there are time where I ask myself ‘what am I doing?’ but the the fact of the matter is that I love it,” Kaiser said. “Pushing one’s own limits like this makes me a stronger person and I am proud of what I am able to accomplish.”