The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

Megan Cochran

By Olivia Provan

Although she claims to be 5’1”, Megan Cochran’s height remains open for debate. While she may not always stick out in a crowd, this Minnesota native holds her own with the big boys. Whether talking Jesus or arguing politics, her accent is hard to miss. We sat down with “Balls” herself to find out what it feels like when you suddenly realize your life calling. MW: Tell us a little about your hometown. Where did you grow up?

MC: My childhood was pretty awesome. I grew up in Albert Lea, Minnesota, about 50 miles south of here. It’s a town of 18,000 people; it’s really conservative, and segregated, like seriously. I had a really great group of friends there, all guys. I only hung out with guys because girls were too catty for me. We were kind of the alternative group; we were the cool kids in town. We like to refer to ourselves as the AL Crew.

Why AL Crew?

Basically, we were the alternative cool kids. You know how it is. A lot of my friends were into garage bands and that kind of punk scene. We had to be creative because our town was so lame. We just started calling ourselves the AL Crew after we went to college just to refer to the whole gang. Wow, I sound like a tool.

Was it total culture shock being from Albert Lea, which you said was conservative, to Macalester?

Macalester was totally different than what I was used to. I definitely understood my political views a lot better when I had to be the underdog in a conservative town. All my friends are conservative but alternative. My family was also really conservative, that’s the way we were raised. I had to be really informed about my political beliefs because I had to be able to back them up in arguments constantly. I was really active in politics in high school. I help start a group in my high school, The Young Progressives. We would throw these political punk rock concerts. A bunch of bands from all over Minnesota came. We invited a bunch of politicians, both Republicans and Democrats, from the surrounding areas to come and speak. Our main objective was to get everyone to agree to run fair and clean elections.

Have your political views changed at all since you came to college?

I have become a lot less politically involved. I kind of fall back on the beliefs of the people around me. It’s just easy to assume that the people around me here pretty much share my opinions on most things. It has been kind of a safe haven in a way. I’m not sure that it’s always a good things, I’m probably not as informed or as involved. But I still get to debate with my dad when I go home, so whatevs.

What was it like going to school so close to home?

I have really appreciated it. My grandparents and a majority of my aunts and uncles live in the Twin Cities so I have really been able to stay connected to my family. Probably even more so than when I lived in Albert Lea. I get to party with my aunt, which is pretty awesome. The Twin Cities are a pretty rockin’ place. It’s nice to be away from the small town and live the life of a big city girl.

You still have a fairly noticeable Minnesota accent; did you get made fun of when you got to Mac?

Oooo, yeah. Big time. People would stop me on while I was walking on campus and ask me to speak. No one could understand me. It was funny because I was from Minnesota and I really didn’t expect for people to react like that. I guess it’s kind of funny, but I had grown up with it my whole life.

How did you know you wanted to be a psychology major?

I came thinking I would be a psychology and political science major. I knew I wanted to impact peoples lives, I thought it was the best direction for me. I realized when I got here that I was totally done tired of politics after doing so much in high school. I knew once I started taking psych classes that it was right for me.

What is your major field of interest within the psych field?

Originally I thought I would own my own practice and do something with clinical psych. But it didn’t really feel right, like it felt too stiff for me. I want to help people on a different level. Like do something more along the lines of social work. I know I can’t have a career without making my spirituality a part of it. That’s why chaplaincy seems right for me, because I can work with people on a spiritual level.

Have you practiced religion throughout your life?

My parents basically made me be confirmed through the Catholic Church. It really upset me at the time. I didn’t have faith as a Catholic, and I didn’t want to subscribe to that belief system. I am a lot more sympathetic to their decision now; I realize they wanted me to have something to fall back on. But I realize that I only thought I had all the answers when I was 17.

So how did you come to find your religion?

I came to Mac hating all organized religion. I hated everything about it, and didn’t believe I was a Christian. I wanted to be the opposite of everything I thought organized religion stood for. But then I got involved with the Lily Program and I did a 180-degree turn. I had an internship with Hospice and that changed everything. I discovered my call to the Christian faith and have been nurturing it ever since.

Tell me about your work with hospice.

I went into it thinking that it would help me decide a career path. But it did a lot more than that. I began the internship wanting to explore grief counseling as a career possibility, and it ended up being kind of personal exploration of my faith. I never saw that coming. It happened when a patient I had grown really close to began to actively die. It was the most truthful, scary, and yet comforting experience I have been a part of. The only way I knew how to relate to him at the time was through a Christian framework. I guess I had an “Ah Ha” moment. I knew that’s where I should be and I should be there as a Christian.

You are, as some might say, a pretty small person? What’s life like at knee level?

Well, I like them tall, dark and handsome, just like any girl. Being vertically challenged makes those relationships a little difficult. Being so little also comes with a lot of perks. People want to help you carry things and take care of you. But I have learned you can never trust someone who hits on you in public when you look like you are 12 years old. I can rock a pair of high heels to make up for it.

What would you say has been the best part of Macalester for you?

My friendships are for sure my favorite of being here. The people that surround me are pretty wonderful. When they aren’t being belligerent. Especially my best girl, Jill, or as I like to call her, Kitten.

Do you feel like you have changed as a person over the last four years?

I think Macalester has changed my life for the better. It opened my small-town girl eyes to what is going on in the greater world. And I learned how to party like a rock star.

Is that how you acquired the nickname “Balls”?

For sure. I got that name sophomore year when Lowery and some other football players realized that I could hang out with the big boys, or the “ballers” as they call themselves. Let me tell you, I still can.

Do you feel that you will leave behind a legacy? Do you want to?

I don’t think the babies will be forgotten anytime soon. Summer ’06 is a legacy in itself.

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