Discourse / Editorials / May 27, 2009

Midterms are not an excuse

My name is Kauk Kauk and I am currently a student studying physics and math who is interested in music and guitar. I prefer a short introduction because this is not a personal essay from ENG 101. This term, I volunteered at the theater department as a sound designer for the production of Marisol. Generally, theater has nothing to do with my major, but I chose to work there, partly because I wanted to see inside the theater and have some new experiences and largely because I enjoy working with sound, music and sound editing software. Of course, I’ve learned many skills from the theater, as I expected. However, I could never imagine the events that followed.

Like I said, I worked as a sound designer for Marisol and I tried really hard for the play. People might think that running sound for theatre is as easy as just pressing the “Play” button at the right time, but the work is a lot more complex and caused me many sleepless nights before and during the performance. Last winter term, I became pissed off at myself for one B+ out of four classes. This term I didn’t have enough time to study so I didn’t do well in my physics and calculus classes. I am hoping for C’s in both of them. So, I talked to the manager of the play. I asked her if I could leave early before the load-in (the process of putting all the stuff back and cleaning the studio). She said to e-mail another person about my situation. I had never seen or talked to this person before. I e-mailed her and explained my situation. I had a mid-term and I wanted to give myself a little time to study.

She replied that midterms were not an excuse and that I’d need to stay until the strike was done.

What? Midterms are not an excuse? So what is an excuse, then? What if someone’s mother was dead at that time and another person said, “Your mom’s funeral is not an excuse. You will need to stay until everything is done?” There is nothing more important to me than my midterm right now: only the end of the world beyond my midterm. I can’t imagine she doesn’t know what a midterm is. Maybe the theater doesn’t have midterms. They will get an A if they worship Shakespeare every night before they go to bed.

I valued my work on the play. I loved the show. One of my best friends, Isaac Miller, played the major role and he is awesome. Nonetheless, because of the woman’s poor choice of words, my point of view on theatre has been changed forever.

Pyie-Phyo Aung

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