Procrastination song becomes study aide

A YouTube ode to SUST 1000

- December 12, 2011

Uytae Lee strums a few chords in the lobby of the Mona Campbell Building (Ryan McNutt photo)
Uytae Lee strums a few chords in the lobby of the Mona Campbell Building (Ryan McNutt photo)

When it comes to procrastinating during exam season, most students resort to the standards: Internet, coffee breaks, video games and the like.

Uytae Lee did something a little different: he not only wrote a song about his sustainability class and procrastinating, but he made an entire stop-motion animation video for it.

“I’d been studying for a few hours and it had gotten a bit boring,” says the first-year student, majoring in Community Design and Environment, Sustainability and Society (ESS). “My notes were all in front of me, so I just picked up my ukulele and started strumming a few chords and singing my study notes to myself, and it just came out as a song.”

The song, “Studying for Sustainability,” meshes together insights from the SUST 1000 course material with quick asides about how Mr. Lee should, really, get back to his studies. Set to a video that he made edited together from drawings on his whiteboard, the song is a hit with his classmates and professors.

“It’s not just a great song and animation, but it’s also a very good study guide for the class,” said Steve Mannell, director of the College of Sustainability, who, suffice to say, was quite the fan of the video: he couldn’t stop laughing along with it.

Mr. Lee, originally from Langley, B.C., has played the ukulele since he was in elementary school. In addition to his YouTube videos—which include covers of “Over the Rainbow” and “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” alongside original songs like his Occupy ode “Why Can’t We Get Along”—he regularly performs at open mics and was a winner at the College of Sustainability’s YESSSSS No-Talent Show this past November.

“It’s just easy to pick up and play,” says Mr. Lee of the ukulele. “It’s portable, chords are simple and it’s easy just to jam with people on the spot...I can just find my way around it.”

While music is mostly a hobby for him, he appreciates the reaction from his classmates to the video.

“They said it helped them study, which is kind of neat that people benefitted from my procrastinating!”


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