Farewell column: Better late than never


Jake Markland, Reporter

I was late to the party but late is better than never.  

At first, I wasn’t even sure what party to go to. I thought as a freshman that Greek life would be a good place to start and decided to pursue that. It brought me some valuable experiences and connected me, directly or indirectly, to a handful of people who are now very important to me. 

Despite all the good these organizations can potentially do in terms of service and philanthropic work, this path provided me with only a small sense of personal fulfillment. It left me feeling that I could be doing more as a member of the App State and Boone communities. 

I figured it was probably time that I, as a student studying journalism, join the student newspaper. 

I sent an email to the former news editor in August 2020, addressing her as “Ms. Broyles” because I didn’t know how old she was, and I wanted to make a professional first impression, having no idea how close of friendships I would later form with The Appalachian staff. 

Things immediately fell into place. I learned more about writing, storytelling and about myself in my first few months at the student paper than I did in any of my college career up to that point. I felt fulfilled; I felt I was actually doing something valuable. 

Through my writing, I was able to tell students about sustainability initiatives at the university that could impact their lives, show them the tension the 2020 presidential election was creating at App State, and, in my very first article, why their textbooks weren’t ready to be picked up yet. 

My time with The Appalachian, first as a news reporter, then as the associate news editor, and finally, as the news editor, has been the most formative experience during my time at App State because it has been the only experience that made me feel like I was doing something important. 

Better late than never. 

P.S. Shoutout to the news desk. Never forget how important the work you do is.