By Ian Currie
Every year as the All-University Sing competition draws near, the Baylor campus readies itself for a festival of music, culture and memorable performances. The nights are filled with wonder as performances crafted over six weeks of intense preparation are realized on stage.
But there is a worrying downside to the Sing festivities. In classrooms across campus, students are finding academic life increasingly hard. In common areas and lounges, friends hardly see each other outside of Sing commitments. Beds remain unused for long periods. The library is frequented less regularly.
Mumbles in early morning classes all point to a common theme: Sing preparation is such a dominating factor in participant’s lives that they have little time for anything else – even areas of their lives that could be regarded as a priority.
Wichita Falls junior Logan Long pointed to three areas of her life that suffered neglect due to Sing: sleep, social life and grades. Long has practiced for six weeks with four two-hour practices each week. As a result of this intense schedule Long said her focus on academics has dwindled.
“I missed tutoring sessions, supplemental instruction or just didn’t have time to do homework or study.” Long said, “I didn’t get a good amount of sleep.”
Maxey Parrish, senior lecturer in the department of journalism, public relations and new media, said there is no doubt that Sing hurts grades.
“Unlike other extra-curricular activities like athletics, there is no infrastructure of support for students partaking in Sing,” Parrish said.
While athletes have tutoring systems and study time, Sing participants have to find their own way through the often treacherous waters of more than half of a semester dedicated to Sing.
“Some students pull it off, but most struggle academically as a result of Sing,” Parrish said.
Waco junior Grayson Wolf, who took part in 2013’s Pigskin Revue, said he also dedicated many hours to the cause of learning a routine. He said he also suffered similar academic problems.
“I was often exhausted from having to do homework late at night,” Wolf said. “I often had to stay up late to study for a test the next day.”
Wolf said professors attempt to be sympathetic to students, but can only give a certain amount of leeway as not everyone partakes in Sing.
“I try to be understanding when students have Sing commitments, but it cannot be an excuse to not keep up with their work,” Parrish said.
Wolf said another area of his life that suffered during Sing preparation was his social life.
“There is less time to pursue relationships that exist outside of Sing,” Wolf said. “If your friends aren’t doing Sing with you, you probably won’t have any time to see them at all.”
Sing takes a massive toll on the lives of its participants, often to negative effect. It is such a huge commitment that students lose the balance that a productive university life often requires.
Parrish has found that while Sing is wonderful, it often results in misplaced priorities.
“Some students delay graduation due to Sing,” Parrish said. “Some students skip internships so they can do Sing.”
Wolf is one of many students that struggle to cope during the Sing period.
“The time constraints and stress, physically, mentally and academically, make it almost not worth it,” Wolf said.
However, both Wolf and Long have said they thoroughly enjoyed their experience of preparing and taking part in the event.
“It’s definitely an experience that a Baylor student should have at least once,” Wolf said.