The ‘Start of Something New’ (and online): If this UC Berkeley semester was a musical

The Walt Disney Company/Courtesy

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This semester has been a lot. Most semesters at UC Berkeley are overwhelming at one point or another, but this semester takes the cake. It might be worth it to see it in a silly and campy light. Maybe then it won’t seem quite as stressful. There is nothing quite as fun and possibly campy as a musical, especially those Disney Channel original movies such as “High School Musical” and “Camp Rock,” so why not make this semester like one of those? Here are the songs that would be in a campy musical set during this semester at UC Berkeley.

“What’s Gonna Go Wrong This Year”

As an introduction song, the students, fresh from winter break, sing out, wondering what’ll happen this semester. They sing of the smoke from fires, of protests and of failed midterms. There is some irony to the song, as it ends with, “At least it can’t get any crazier.” It sets up the musical yet to come.

“Got No Time (to Study)”

This song comes as the midterm season begins in the musical. The students bemoan the stress of having to study while also doing all of their regular school work. It’s a fast song meant to show the quick and frantic nature of average days at UC Berkeley.

“Everything’s Getting Canceled”

A student sings this as their spring break plans are canceled. They are stressed and lament that their one chance to have a break has been dashed. The song, of course, ends with a chorus singing that even in-person classes have been canceled. This prompts the student to realize how small their worries were and how serious things have gotten.

“Through a Screen”

Right after the previous song, this one picks up with students and professors alike trying out remote learning. They mourn all the issues that come with trying to teach and learn “through a screen.” The song is performed through a conference call portal, and there is even a gag of someone singing a heartfelt solo, only to have the audience not hear them because they were muted the entire time.

“Social Distance”

This is a pining love song sung by two lovers. Because of the need for social distancing, they are forced to see each other only through a screen or at least 6 feet apart. They wish to touch but know that it’s wrong and would make things last longer if they do. At the end of the song, they sit by their respective computer screens and are glad that they can at least still see each other whenever they want.

“Pass/No Pass for Every Class’

A voice calls out that people can take a class for a letter grade only if they want to. It’s a signal to start this song, in which some students sing in disbelief, some sing in joy and some sing in disappointment. The song has a section during which individual students sing out a line or two about all the things they’ve had to worry about. They sing of this crisis and how pass/no pass either makes things easier for them or does nothing to solve their problems. In the end, the song shows the audience that everyone is trying to figure things out.

That’s all the songs for up to this point in the semester. Here’s hoping that any other songs based on this semester will be happy and celebratory, or at least have a guarded optimism in them.

Contact Zachariah Nash at [email protected] .