Lanah Kopplin will be contributing columns to each Tuesday starting next week. Here's the first installment.

Lanah Kopplin
If there's one thing that's certain in life, it's that it's always changing. You just can't get too comfortable anywhere, because before you know it, times will change. I'm learning that this year. By the time 2005 is over I will have achieved a BS in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin, taken my LSATs and GREs, moved to Texas, aged-out of drum corps, and applied and then started attending my graduate studies, wherever they may be. This is the time in my life where the big decisions are made. What exactly to I want to do with my life? Who do I want to share it with? Where do I want to set up my home? How will I make my impact on the world? These are the questions that pull us away from the comforts of our youth, and throw us into the "grown-up" world. With all of these life changes coming at me, I can sum up my thoughts into two words: I'm scared. I'm not ready for the world to change yet. I'm having the best time of my life here in college. Making dinner with my housemates, learning about the First Amendment, and going to Badger hockey games have become the staple of my college existence. I've finally become comfortable enough on this campus to really know how to have a good time. There's always something to do here -- it's just a matter of finding it. This is what college life is really about. But after December of 2004, my stint as an undergrad here in Madison, Wis., will be over. And what about drum corps? This will be my fifth and final summer on the road. Drum corps has become an integral part of my life. I honestly don't know where I'd be without it. This will be the last time that I can ever put on my white superman uniform, and go out on the field and throw down a show for you, the audience, night after night. Drum corps has always been the easy answer; it's just what I do during the summer. Yes, I know that there is the whole new world of DCA just waiting for me, but it's not the same experience. Not lesser by any means, just not the same. I'm just not ready to give up the full summer tour, sometimes spending less than 16 hours in any one given state. I'm not ready to stand on the field and hear anything other than, "On the field, from Rockford/Love's Park, Illinois, ladies and gentlemen please welcome ... Phantom Regiment!" Change is coming, and there's nothing that I can do about it. If there's one thing that I've learned from drum corps, it's that you have to accept your circumstances and make the best of them. Hopefully I can learn to do the same thing with my life. In the meantime, I hope that you enjoy following me on this journey, as I learn what it truly means to be an age-out and enter into new and exciting chapters of my life. Lanah Kopplin is a third-year euphonium player in the Phantom Regiment, and previously spent a year with the Pioneer. Lanah is a political science major at the University of Wisconsin (she's a Milwaukee native), and will age out in 2005.