Singing in the Shower: Mostly a Balancing Act

Hannah Lieberman – I am a supreme nerd when it comes to musical theatre. Well, I’m actually a nerd when it comes to most things (re: I play competitive scrabble), but musicals happen to be one of my biggest obsessions. I’ve been in musicals my whole life. My childhood was filled with impromptu performances at dinner parties and rushing from one rehearsal to the next. And as a lifelong lover of all things Broadway, I actually have some friends from high school who are pursuing degrees specifically in musical theatre performance.

I find myself sometimes jealous of these friends: they get to spend their whole days, entire semesters immersed in voice lessons and dance classes. No one ever replies to their dated My Fair Lady references with puzzled looks. Their lives revolve around the stage.

Such is not the case for me. Unlike my friends, I chose to go to Davidson so I could be a well-rounded, liberal arts-educated student. I may not get to focus solely on musicals, but that’s because I pursue so many of my passions in my time here. As a double major in Theatre and Political Science, I have to split my days between Cunningham and Chambers, and as a Bonner scholar, I fill any free time I have left not only with rehearsals for shows but with the scholarship’s 240 annual hours of service.

I’m someone who likes to keep busy, and the life I’ve built for myself in Davidson certainly allows for that. Normally, I can find a good balance between Bonner and theatre, and sometimes they even complement each other (like in Sharon Green’s Theatre for Social Justice class last spring). Occasionally, I even have time for a nap. But there are moments when the worlds clash and seem to compete with each other, each pulling at me until I’m spread too thin. Each year, I seem to get a little better at the balancing act. Here are a few things I’ve learned:

I’m not that special.

There are Bonners who are athletes. There are pre-med double majors who play in the orchestra and have workstudy. Everyone at Davidson is crazy busy.

…But it’s okay to pat myself on the back sometimes

Being in tech week for a show is like adding a full-time job on top of schoolwork, and then adding Bonner to that is like running a marathon while filling out the FAFSA. So a treat-yourself mentality is sometimes necessary to get through the day. I find that calling my grandparents and having them “ooh” and “aah” over my busy schedule gets the job done.

You can’t make everyone happy all of the time

Sometimes I simply can’t go to OOPS! practice because I have a Bonner meeting. Sometimes I can’t get around to memorizing lines because I have to write a policy memo. It was a tough lesson for me to learn, but I’ve come to accept that having to make sacrifices is an inevitable reality at Davidson.

…but sometimes you get lucky

I am incredibly lucky that my Bonner work is so in tune with my passions. As an intern at WDAV (the classical public radio station next to Sustainability Co-Op), I get my service hours while listening to instrumentals of my favorite musicals. It’s a match made in over-involved- Davidson-student heaven.

Service is pretty darn humbling.

It’s hard to complain about being busy doing the stuff you love when you discuss poverty, inequality, and injustice at weekly Bonner meetings. Service is a great way to put my really privileged life in perspective.

ALWAYS find time to do the things you love.

That super annoying soprano who thinks the elevator is her personal rehearsal space? That’s me. But hey, the acoustics are phenomenal, and I don’t have the time to go to Sloan and sing through Sweeney Todd in a practice room, so I gotta take advantage of my fifteen second ride up to 4th Belk. I don’t regret double majoring, tutoring on the weekends, or being in the musical while getting my Bonner hours- but sometimes the only time I can give to my inner musical aficionado or scrabble nerd or politics junkie is a fleeting moment. That’s just a fact of life, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. And that’s why I’ll never apologize for belting Les Mis in the shower.

Hannah Lieberman ’18 is a Theatre and Political Science double-major from Charlotte, North Carolina. Contact her at halieberman@davidson.edu.