By: Bo Terrill
Student-athletes have a full plate from their schoolwork and practice schedule, but there is another group on campus that has to juggle their passion with the school work. Though their practice hours are not preparing them for a the big game, student actors and their rehearsal schedules prior to productions take up a lot of time.
Meriah Sage is an assistant professor in of the UF theater department and has directed dozens of university productions.
Sage continued to explain how while it depends on the production, student actors can be scheduled up to 19 hours a week prior to a show with no hour cap on the technical week which composes of setting up the setting for the show. But Sage also explained how the work week is much more than just work.
“Students work really hard and I admire them. It’s one of the reasons why I went into [theater],” said Sage. “Students are eager to learn and eager to try things and willing to create and risk in a positive and creative way.”
Sage explained that among the hard work is also the development of a heavily creative space that students carry into their lives post-graduation.
“Students learn and support and mentor and challenge in a positive way, which is an environment I love,” said Sage.
Student-athletes also are able to gain similar life skills within their own sports. Glenn Miehls is the Director of Advising at the University of Findlay.
“Student-athletes participating in a sport and theater… all of those things are very, very valuable,” said Miehls. “Work ethic, practicing outside, organizing, managing time commitments; those are all very valuable life experiences that can very easily be transitioned into a job or workforce situation when you graduate.”
Miehls compared being a student-athlete to having a full-time job. Miehls explained that two to three hour practices five to six days a week, weightlifting, running, or study groups can easily add up to 30-40 hours a week.
However, Miehls wanted to emphasize that academics come first.
“There are times we cannot work around every different practice schedule…we do the best we can,” said Miehls. “We try and talk to the students to see what their practice schedules are and see if we can work around them.”
Jack Adams, a sophomore pharmacy major at UF and also a runner for the cross country and indoor and outdoor track team says running actually helps him deal with his heavy course-load and believes that exercise helps to process things.
“You’ll need a break anyway from classes so that type of exercise helps the brain take time off from what was learned throughout the day,” said Adams.
With the football season ending and basketball season gearing up, student-athletes will be switching workloads over. Now that “Mother Hicks” has passed though, student actors can take a breather until next semester when they start practicing for the musical “Newsies” in February.