Senior goodbye: Charlotte Wray

When I started working at The Appalachian, I figured I would stay for a couple months and then leave, having a little something to tack onto my resume. That...

When I started working at The Appalachian, I figured I would stay for a couple months and then leave, having a little something to tack onto my resume.

That was simply not the case, and in the past two years, I quickly found myself transitioning from the graphic design desk to the news desk and then on to become the chief copy editor and finally, the managing editor.

Looking back, I think it would be easy to laugh at how intimidated I felt when I began working here. Everyone seemed so talented and I didn’t even know what desk I wanted to be on, where my passions lied, and I really didn’t know what I was going to do with my journalism major.

But this is what The Appalachian has given me: a narrowing of my passions and the confidence and connections to achieve my goals. The Appalachian has taught me about the power of asking questions and listening to people tell their stories, proving that though people may say journalism is dying, storytelling is vital to human connection, and that my journalism major actually has an important purpose.

Learning to be a better journalist has taught me to be a better friend: listening closer, paying attention to the tone of someone’s voice, asking the bolder questions, and with this, being encouraged that the world isn’t as terrible as it sometimes may seem.

The Appalachian has done great and innovative work with the newspaper redesign and the switch to better feature writing. I know this place will continue to grow and change as the journalism field changes. This place has helped so many people discover their passions and through trial and error projects, learn how they can carry them into “the real world.”

Going into this “real world,” yes, my resume does feature many positions at The Appalachian, but when I think of my time here, it isn’t about my resume.

The very first time I walked into the newsroom I was given a single goldfish by the former business manager, Paul Heckert. I think this quirky gesture has stuck with me because it made me feel comfortable and welcomed, allowing me to be myself up front. This office is a hodge-podge of people, with their individual quirks, all of which I have come to appreciate and look forward to each production day.

The fact is that I haven’t been a part of The Appalachian as long as many of the other graduating seniors, and I wish I would have started worked here since the moment I arrived at Appalachian State. But with the time I have spent here, the only words that can sum up what I really want to say are simply, “thank you.”

Thank you to Malik Rahili for convincing me to join the graphics desk when I just shrugged my shoulders when asked what I wanted to do. This allowed me to jump into the editing process and learn the newsroom atmosphere early on, making it much harder to leave and write this experience off as just a resume-builder.

Thank you to Stephanie Sansoucy for welcoming me and my funny stories. Your drive to represent The Appalachian well, your friendship and your hilarious remarks in the newsroom mean more to me than you know.

Thank you to Andrew Clausen for passing the managing editor torch on to me and understanding the lack of sleep, frustrating moments and the odd love-hate relationship with this newspaper that comes with this position.

Thank you to Aleah Warner for closely editing all the stories and caring enough to work with reporters so they can become better writers. Your position this semester as chief copy editor is a tedious job and the hard work you have done has not gone unnoticed. Thank you for understanding my AP Style and grammar language, and for your leftover Wendy’s chicken nuggets. I wish you well as managing editor next year, and have a good feeling you’ll leave a lasting impression at The Appalachian.

This newsroom has become my home, both in the sense that I am here five out of seven days a week and because of the people that are here. These people speak my journalism language and have accepted me as I have grown in the past two years.

I have transformed from the quiet graphic designer who came in to silently lay out a page and leave, to the managing editor who talks in weird voices when production goes past 11 p.m. and who comes into the newsroom on days she doesn’t have to out of pure habit.

So, again, thank you to everyone at The Appalachian for two great years. I am sad to leave, but excited to see what the years to come will bring for this publication.

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