When sitting at my desk, I have a watch, cell phone, laptop and desk clock all ticking away. A constant reminder that time does not stop. Actually, I have a slight obsession with time: planning my time, knowing the time, counting down the time.
Time plays a prominent role in Hamilton. Alexander Hamilton, portrayed in the musical by Lin-Manuel Miranda, feels the burden of time working against him throughout the show. When first introduced, Hamilton claims, “And there’s a million things I haven’t done /But just you wait, just you wait…”
Aaron Burr, the musical’s narrator, Hamilton’s antagonist and our country’s eventual vice president, sees time as a ally. Burr sings “I’m not falling behind or running late / I’m not standing still / I am lying in wait … I’m willing to wait for it”
“Just You Wait” vs “Wait for It”
Hamilton and Burr, in the musical, are strikingly similar and yet complete opposites. Hamilton is blunt, non-stop and never hesitates. Burr, in contrast, is patient, quietly waiting for his chance to shine. Burr believes he has control over himself not time; Hamilton – with all his hubris – believes he can speed up time.
Burr and Hamilton both represent extreme conceptions of time. Burr could wait his entire life; Hamilton speeds his life up so much he dies at a young age. How do you balance “not throwing away your shot” without “jumping the gun” in everyday life?
In an interview with The New Yorker, Miranda explained, “Burr is every bit as smart as Hamilton, and every bit as gifted, and he comes from the same amount of loss as Hamilton. But because of the way they are wired Burr hangs back where Hamilton charges forward. I feel like I have been Burr in my life as many times as I have been Hamilton. I think we’ve all had moments where we’ve seen friends and colleagues zoom past us, either to success, or to marriage, or to homeownership, while we lingered where we were—broke, single, jobless. And you tell yourself, ‘Wait for it.’ ”
My senior year is quickly winding down. I have two weeks left in my last full-time semester. In January, I’ll be taking my two capstone. In May, I’ll graduate. Over the next semester my goal is to not throw away my shot but also to wait for it. I’m going to make the most of these last few months in college and set my self up for future success but I have no intention of rushing through my senior year. I will balance the days I feel rushed, like Hamilton, with the days where I “wait for it.”