What is a big passion of yours?
“Music, definitely. My family has always been really connected to music. My dad gigged around Minneapolis as a drummer after he got out of school. I grew up watching my brother and sister play their respective instruments as well, with my brother being a drummer and my sister being a clarinet player. I went to a ton of concerts of theirs growing up and it had a really big impact on my life. I play drums as well now. “
Did that play any part in deciding your career path?
“Oh, I would love to be a music major, but I’m honestly more interested in job security. Not to devalue music majors, I think it’s an amazing talent and awesome to be a music major, and the world needs them, but I want to give my kids the opportunities I had growing up and I feel that that wouldn’t be the best way for me to do that.
I’m actually planning on graduating with an economics degree. I have a plan regarding this place called “Jazz Central” in Minneapolis where some gigs go down, but it’s run kind of poorly, in my opinion. So I would like to eventually buy that and revamp it. I’d put a restaurant in there, a little coffee shop, a little bar, and make it a place to gig again, not just a place that used to be hopping.”
What is a big challenge you’ve faced and how did you deal with it?
“I think my biggest challenge happened last year. I took calculus and a computer science course. What happened was that I had been talking to my brother and he suggested I check out computer science, since he’s a computer science guy himself. I said ‘Okay, I’ll try it out!’ I really liked computer science, even if it was a little tough sometimes. However, I had never had any calculus classes before, plus I’ve never been the best at math. I just thought ‘Maybe I wasn’t putting enough effort in.’ I decided to try it, and it did not work very well. For the first time in my life, no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t do well at something, and it was the most failure I experienced in my life.
I would spend as much time as I possibly could at the tutors, and I would think I finally got a handle on the material, but then I’d go take a test and get a C, D, sometimes even an F. I talked to my parents about this which made me be truly vulnerable for the first time in front of them. I’m close to my parents and we care about each other, but I’ve never been that exposed with them so I kind of had to be like ‘Hey, life sucks right now, I don’t know what I’m doing and I could use some help,’ and they were supportive as always.
It felt nice to connect with them one-on-one and they told me about their struggles. I got to see them as normal people just doing their best to raise a family. I ended up passing calculus in the end, with a C+. I’ve gotten plenty of A’s, but that C+ is the best grade I ever got.”
Beneath The Crown was created by Nick Theisen (‘15). It is inspired by Humans of New York (HONY) and aims to bring the community of Gustavus Adolphus College closer together by providing the perspectives of the many different people who live and work at the school.