Advice on theater you love and classes you hate

    This is the third installment of Ask NBN, our freshman advice column. Taking questions this week is once again Assistant Managing Editor Nick Castele, a Medill sophomore. Have more questions? Ask us at

    New Student Week fades from memory darkly and spottily, like an aging daguerreotype. The Essential NU’s are re-embalmed until next year’s freshmen arrive. Sex Signals and 411 on 911 disappear back into their tombs. The discomfort dissipates. The odd small talk ceases. You are free.

    And just in time. A new onslaught of worries rises on the horizon. Awful classes, auditions, parties cluster tempestuously at the furthest reaches of your vision. The shit nudges closer to the fan.

    Yes, stress thrives and writhes this side of New Student Week. But Ask NBN is here for you, especially if you’re a theater type and/or hate your classes.

    Photo by preetalina – Preeti Desai on Flickr, licensed under the Creative Commons.

    What shows can I audition for? As someone interested in theatre, how, when, and where can I get involved in the shows on campus? I hope you can give me the rundown on student productions!

    Navigating the theater realm is quite complex, but basically the shows fall into two categories: StuCo shows and TI shows. StuCo is a student-run umbrella organization encompassing various performance groups. TI shows are run in cooperation with the theatre department.

    TI auditions for this quarter are all finished, but auditions for StuCo shows are September 25 and 26 in Norris. The ‘Co will put on eight shows this fall: Awake and Sing!, Mr. Marmalade, Taming of the Shrew, Holes, Eclipsed, Eurydice, The Pillowman and Medea.

    None of these are musicals, so leave your 16-bar cut from Thoroughly Modern Millie at home. You’ll need only two contrasting one-minute monologues.

    And don’t let the sheer number of shows daunt you. You’ll have to audition only once, for all of StuCo. The shows’ various directors confer among each other to decide cast lists.

    Callbacks will be emailed on the StuCo listserv the night of the 26th and simultaneously posted on the callboard in the Theatre and Interpretation Center. All callbacks are on the 27th and 28th.

    If you don’t make the cut this time around, fear not! Droves of students — especially freshmen — enter the Northwestern theater universe working the production side of shows. There are positions available producing, doing publicity, props, costumes, you name it. Just ask — upperclassmen who run these shows need all the help they can get.

    Break a leg, everyone, and get ready for Winter Quarter auditions on the weekend of October 4, for both StuCo and TI shows.

    It’s my second day of class and already I hate it. How do I drop?

    Are you sure you want to drop it? If the class is required for your major, consider staying. Unless you positively hate the major you’ve blindly chosen for yourself, hang out for a while. It’s far too early to be certain that it isn’t right for you.

    But what if your grade is going to plummet? When is it right to go pass/no credit? For these questions I’ll defer to columnist Tracy Fuad, who investigated the issue last year.

    You may only choose pass/no credit for “general education classes and/or unrestricted electives,” says the Office of the Registrar’s Web site. You may not go P/NC for first- or second-year classes in French, Spanish, Italian, Latin, Japanese or German. You can only take one class P/NC per quarter.

    Be aware of some deadlines:

    September 28 — the last day to add a class.
    October 9 — the last day to change a course to pass/no credit.
    October 30 — the last day to drop a class. If you want to drop a class after the 30th, you’ll have to schedule a meeting with the dean of your school.

    So, you’ve searched your soul and you’re ready to drop that class. Let’s do this!

    1. Log onto CAESAR.
    2. Click “enroll.”
    3a. Select “drop” from the upper navigation bar. (It’s right between “add” and “swap.”)

    Want to switch to pass/no credit?

    3b. Select “edit” from the upper navigation bar.
    4. Click “Proceed to step 2 of 3.”
    5. There will be a drop-down menu that says “ABC/NC Grading.” Change it to “Pass / Not Pass.”
    6. Sigh with relief.


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