I arrived to The Appalachian with little but an enthusiasm for sports and a desire to get behind the scenes. I had never written, but I loved reading sports articles – I figured that was requisite enough to give it a shot. I had just decided to change my major, my job and a few relationships I held on to for much too long, and I was just looking for something exciting to occupy my time.
It has taken me figuring out how to say goodbye, however, to realize what I’m now walking away with.
I’m leaving with some amazing memories – like standing on the field during the celebration after Zach Matics secured App State’s first bowl win. Or watching Latrell Gibbs intercept Deshaun Watson’s first pass in Death Valley. Or experiencing the genuine excitement of seeing our newspaper redesign. Or just being a part of the hilarity that always seemed to ensue during late production nights.
I’m also leaving with some lifelong friends. People who have my back and know that I have theirs when it mattered most. I’ll always be a phone call away.
Most importantly, I’m leaving with some wisdom I’d like to impart before I go. It might save you some time and frustration.
Mistakes will happen. Some big, some small. Acknowledge them, accept them and move on. I’ve learned that our fear and guilt surrounding our mistakes tends to outlast people’s attention spans, if we let it.
Time, not money, is your most valuable asset. Invest it wisely.
Build relationships with the people around you. Appreciate them, empathize with them and show them that they can depend on you, even when logic or reason says otherwise. Then, don’t be surprised when they’re willing to run through walls for you.
I’ve always felt that Quaker missionary Etienne de Grellet provided such clarity for how we should treat other people: “I shall pass this way but once; any good that I can do or any kindness I can show to any human being; let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.” The Appalachian has taught me that investing in people is a sure way to consistently be rewarded.
I have so many wonderful people from The Appalachian to thank for helping shape who I’ve become – a list far too excessive for my word count limit. So I’ll settle for just a few, with the hope that those who go unnamed can let memories shared serve as the ultimate token of my appreciation.
To Malik – It has been an honor to serve on an editorial board with you. You taught me how important taking the time to relax and laugh during moments of chaos can be, and during one of the hardest periods of my life thus far, you showed me what true compassion looks like. Thank you.
To Lee – Without getting too sappy, I’ll say that “thank you,” will never truly be thank you enough. Continue to innovate, to push the limits of what’s been done and to lead with your heart. I am humbled to know that I’ve learned more from you than I could ever have hoped to teach. Thank you.
To Aleah – Without you, I don’t know if I’d have ever known The Appalachian existed, let alone become a part of it. I began reading The Appalachian by picking up copies in search for your stories, many of which I still have today. You are strong-willed, resilient and more capable than you know. When things get tough, let this be a reminder, just as you were a reminder for me this year. Thank you.
To the sports desk – I’m so proud of all we accomplished this year. This desk is truly built on your shoulders. Watching each of you grow throughout this year has been one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life. I look forward to your future successes and am honored to think that I had even the slightest hand in helping you get there. Thank you all.