Farewell column: Let your passion and kindness shine

Cameron Burnett, Visual Managing Editor

I came to Appalachian State University in fall 2019 as a kid who didn’t know what to major in or aspire to be. After declaring as an Electronic Media/Broadcasting major, I was still lost. Then came January 2020, where I was convinced to come to a full staff meeting for The Appalachian.

Through all my years as a kid, I was a passionate sports fan who shamelessly prided himself in knowing more about the sport and teams than his friends. And yes, I still do. This led me to join the sports desk. My first assignment was a baseball season preview. I had no clue how to set up or handle an interview, but I made my way there and walked into the clubhouse, albeit terrified of speaking to coaches and players that seemed above me at the time.

From then on, telling the stories of athletes became my passion and I found myself at The Appalachian. Covering some of the biggest moments in school history and building connections with the App State community is something I will never let go of, especially interacting with the fanbase on Twitter — never change please.

The Appalachian gave me the opportunities I have today to write about the teams I grew up idolizing, and the kid who looked up to these athletes still lives in every word that I write. College GameDay, dominant seasons and titles, and making the NCAA Tournament were moments I’ll never forget covering. My heart still lies with the one-on-one interviews, getting to know someone whose story hasn’t been told to the masses.

This is just a small portion of what The Appalachian gave me. This is my second family, as corny as it sounds, and I could go on for ages but I’ll spare the trouble. The newsroom became my second home. Making long-lasting friendships with everyone that walked in has had more impact on me than I could have ever imagined. So, thank you for embracing the nerdy sports fan. Everyone I’ve had the pleasure to work and build relationships with over these four years, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

I went through so much in four years as a student and The Appalachian became my safe haven. This organization is the reason I became a kinder person and that stretches beyond anything I will ever achieve as a journalist. There’s a reason I stick to telling the stories of others, but I hope my sentiment reaches through: never give up on yourself, and surround yourself with those who won’t give up on you either.

In the words of Heraclitus, “No man ever steps into the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.”