Editor's Note: Each spring, The Appalachian gives its staff members the chance to say goodbye to the academic year with a more personal column.
Created on Wednesday, 02 May 2012 20:44
I had to be pushing 20 years old before I ever thought about being a student.
Up until my "sophomore" year of college, school was just a place that I had to be if I wanted to be eligible to play sports, not to mention that's where my friends and the girls were during the day. Being the son of two former educators, it always bothered my parents that I loved gaining knowledge but I was a dreadful student.
When I decided to take some time off from school the second time, I only had to install one hardwood floor to realize the blue-collar game wasn't my bag. I had always played and followed sports religiously, and for the majority of my life people have told me that I should be involved with sports for my career, because it was my passion.
So my journey began when I became the Terrell Owens of college students - meaning I switched where I attended every year or so, and only had small stretches of productivity yet still showed small glimpses of potential.
After being here and there, I decided it was time to get out of Greenville after pulling close to a three-year stretch in that lovely area.
When I was accepted into Appalachian State in 2010, I quickly remembered why it wasn't a place I was interested in when I graduated high school. Orientation had about a foot of snow, and my face literally felt like it was being cut off from the wind.
When it started getting warmer, I vividly remember the day I walked out of Walker and saw three things I had never witnessed in 15 years. There was a seemingly 50-on-50 Ultimate Frisbee game being played in the mud, a guy walking a tight rope and three other fellas practicing their juggling act.
At the time I remember thinking three things: Where's the lion tamer and clown car, and where am I?
Admittedly, the first few months were a culture shock for me. But the whole time I have been here, the professors and people of Boone have been as nice and helpful as anywhere I have been in the United States.
The professors at Appalachian State have taught me all the tools to be a successful sports print writer, documentary maker and even a web designer. I never said I necessarily mastered these tools, but every opportunity was given to do so.
My family always preached that a person should work in a field they are passionate about. I can say that I firmly believe that every professor I have had in the English and Communication departments really love what they are teaching about.
I want to thank Dr. Jean Dehart, Dr. Joyce Wise Dodd, Roger Gonce, David Freeman, Dr. Lynette Holman, Dr. Cindy Spurlock, Dr. Bill Brewer, Dr. Kristina Groover, Dr. Lynn Saunders and Dr. Olga Zatepilina for their patience and acceptance of my personality and skill level.
Three of my "tougher" professors personality-wise were probably my favorite classes to take in college, as I'm talking about Dr. Calvin Hall, Dr. Larry Taylor and Dr. Paul Gates. Three intimidating personalities in their own different ways, but they were always completely fair and helpful to me. In fact, I think Dr. Gates liked me so much, he invited me back for another semester so I could really understand his Com Law teachings.
The people I really want to give recognition to are the staff and former staff of The Appalachian. Justin Herberger, Liles Neal, Meghan Frick, Brittany Penland, Jake Amberg and the artist formerly known as Rand Jo Kitts have been unbelievable in the way they treated me from day one on the staff in 2010. I think very highly of all six off these people, and I also appreciate their patience with "TWood" time. While working in the field, I learned more on The Appalachian staff than I could ever learn in a classroom.
I also want to thank the athletic department for their compliance and assistance in every way.
As I leave the town of Boone, I will miss walking down Sanford Mall because what once was foreign, I nowappreciate and enjoy.
My travels and life experiences have me on about my eighth life, but I will always have a place in my heart for the area that broadened my horizons: Appalachian State University.
Initially I was going to pay homage to the English department and have some witty haikus to end my senior farewell, but instead I'm going out with one of my favorite (but overused) quotes from middle school by the great Bobby Frost.
"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference."
Wood, a senior journalism major from Richmond, Va., is a sports reporter.