“Marathon” is a word that’s been bouncing around in my head for a few years now. I wanted to run my first marathon in 2015, but my parents urged me to wait until I aged out from drum corps and finish college before I did my first full. I filled the void with half-marathons as best I could, but since coming off tour in 2016 (yes, over a year ago), my sights have been set on finishing 26.2. I started working at Fleet Feet, found myself surrounded by distance runners and constantly helping people who were pushing themselves to complete their goals, and kept chugging on my own path.
I’ve been procrastinating returning to writing pretty hardcore since I got home. I also knew that I would need to ease myself back in, and I didn’t think that getting to work on this entry would be the way to do that. Instead, I wrote about four different cover letters and, well, now here we are. It’s time to dive into the blog post I’ve been dreading to write for the last five years. The post that’s supposed to put what drum corps has meant to me into roughly 1,000 words. I doubt we’re going to make it…but if there’s anything that drum corps has taught me, it’s that I’ll do my best. And most of the time, that’s enough.
I’m not going to lie and say that I had no idea what to expect when I moved in to the University Center for my Freshman year at Columbia. I had expectations — I had huge expectations. I knew I was paying a huge amount of money to go to this school, and I expected them to deliver on every one of those expectations. That was my first lesson: don’t have too many expectations for the big things. Because it’ll probably turn out not how you were expecting at all, and be entirely different…but maybe, that’s what you need.
I wanted to write a big long mushy post highlighting some of the best parts of my college career, but in typical fashion with the rest of my life right now, I totally ran out of time. Plus, I have quite a few pages highlighting each semester already, so why should I make the final one be any different? Plus, the last five months have been so jam-packed with things (both really difficult and really wonderful), so I can’t short-change my last semester.
[Originally written and read this for Mel Kooda’s funeral held in McGregor, Minnesota on April 22nd, 2017.]
What I turn to in times of what I’ll call “writer’s block,” is list-making. I guess I had a little bit of an issue kicking this one off, and I think it’s because I knew once I started writing this piece, that at some point… it would be done. And then that’s it. The reality of both of my grandparents no longer being just a phone call away has sunk in a little bit more.
So what I’ve got for you today is a list of things (in no particular order), that I learned from my Grandpa, with the help of my sister, Kenzie.
1.Take chances in your career
Here’s what you haven’t read about my trip to Austin, TX for SXSW so far…
Last week, I had the pleasure of spending seven days in Austin, Texas. Not only was it great being in Austin, but it was also a pretty popular time to be there. South by Southwest (or SXSW) is the interactive, film, music, and comedy festival that completely takes over the city for almost two full weeks. As part of the completion of my interdisciplinary degree at Columbia College, I was able to attend the festival as part of the AEMMP Digital Distribution & Promotions Practicum course. For my project in class, I was able to incorporate something I was planning on doing down there, anyway. I got to write about all of the bands (good and bad) that I was able to catch, and it was published over on Atwood Magazine. If you’re interested in the music portion of my experience, click on the day-header for those ramblings. This post will serve more in the nitty-gritty of the trip, and what you won’t find on a publication. Thus, “What You Didn’t Read about SXSW Already”
Wednesday morning. I’m at my on-campus job, talking about weekend plans with some co-workers, discussing something, but it’s not important what. In the middle of the conversation, my watch starts buzzing. Then my phone is ringing from somewhere in my backpack. Then my computer recognizes what’s happening.
“Kathy Kooda (mom) calling…” I knew something had to be up. Most of the family had taken a much-needed vacation, and was spending the week in the Dominican Republic. My co-workers voices blurred out, I fished my phone from out of its hiding spot, and answered.
My sister was on the other end, blubbering, “Sissy?” Something was definitely up. I couldn’t understand much, but I had gotten all I needed. “Grandma died.”