I used to joke about how my degree in Political Science was a degree in unemployment. Well, the joke's over now. As of last week, I have relocated to the sometimes-great state of Texas. However, I have yet to come across any form of gainful employment.

Lanah Kopplin
It can be so frustrating, turning in application after application, and getting no meaningful response. It's been a major stress on my life. I'm sick of having to ask my parents to help me out with rent money. Now that I'm out in the "real world," it's time that I start to take charge of my life and do things for myself -- by myself. Unfortunately, until I get a job, that task is nothing short of impossible. It's really easy to blame drum corps for this situation. Nobody wants to hire someone who can only work for the next three and a half months, especially if he needs one weekend of each month off. One potential employer wanted me to guarantee two years of service before even considering an interview -- something that is impossible to do in my situation. But if there's one thing that I've learned in drum corps, it's that nothing ever comes the easy way. Sure, it would be easy to blame drum corps for my situation -- very easy, in fact -- but marching this final summer is my choice. I put myself into this dilemma, and I will just have to work that much harder to get myself out. And hey, if I can survive a summer marching euphonium with the Phantom Regiment, I can survive anything! My less–than-fruitful job search reminds me of a rehearsal day back in 2002. Thanks to the passage of time, I can't say with any certainty where this day occurred (although I think it may have been Texas -- ironic, no?). We were changing the drill in the back half of the closer, right before the big hit. That final move leading into the hit was an enormous backwards reshape, that started as a "follow the leader" move and slowly morphed into a large block. Well, that's what the move was supposed to be, in the mind of the great Tony Hall. However, it would be some time before his vision was translated onto the field. On that night, that move was more of a "Try it and see what happens" move, ending with a mad dash into the set of the maestoso. It was a really frustrating night. Again and again we'd run that move, each time to no avail. It seemed like no matter what the staff did, people were still banging horns, running into each other, or both. It didn't help that we had absolutely no idea where we were going, or what we were supposed to be doing. All we had was one set, some "motion," and then our next set. And, of course, we were doing the whole thing backwards, rendering our eyes just slightly above useless. That, really, was the worst part -- not being able to control the situation. It's a lot easier to march a set of drill when you can see the arc forming or the line rotating. ere, we were completely at the mercy of Tony Hall's imagination, which isn't always the safest place to be. Right now, I'm at the mercy of potential employers. Being a newcomer to this area, everything is unknown to me -- my connections are about as useful as my eyes were in that backwards reshape. So, much like that stressful rehearsal day, I am left with a "try it and see" plan of attack, with lots of failures and frustrations left to endure. But in the end, everything will work itself out. If Tony can translate two sets and some "motion" into a drill move, I'm sure that a place of residence and a resume can eventually translate into something that will pay the bills. Until then, I just have to be strong, and keep on trying. Lanah Kopplin is a third-year euphonium player in the Phantom Regiment, and previously spent a year with the Pioneer. Lanah recently graduated from the University of Wisconsin (she's a Milwaukee native) with a political science degree, and will age out in 2005. Past columns by Lanah Kopplin: What a weekend! More than a souvenir Class and competition Learning and understanding the past The College degree Like spring training Finding a drum corps home The Last audition Turkey-induced tryptophan Rhapsody in the chat room Amazing grace Are you ready? Get out there and vote Reflections from Whitewater Methodical hard work and passion Here's to the behind-the-scenes people Drum corps friendships A new column by the Phantom Regiment's Lanah Kopplin