Farewell column: Let your story guide you

Will Hofmann, Enterprise Editor

I did not come to college knowing what I wanted to do. 

I searched hard. I took biology, chemistry, psychology and religious studies courses, among others. Some said I was “wasting my time.” 

I remember a phone call with my parents where they asked me, over and over again, “Have you decided on your major?” or “What are you interested in?” 

Truthfully, I didn’t really know, but I wasn’t against taking the risk.

During the beginning of my sophomore year, I was fortunate enough to wander into registering for the introduction journalism class, COM 1300 Journalism Matters. With Volha Kananovich as my guide, I never looked back.

As a result, I joined The Appalachian as a junior who had waded through a tall grass of classes, a pandemic and being a part of multiple, wonderful on-campus organizations. I don’t regret a second of it. 

Though I bet many were sometimes annoyed by my occasional pointless pretentious rambling, I am so thankful that my editorial board welcomed me with open arms and served as a constant reminder of how privileged I was to know such a loving, caring and thoughtful group of people. Another thanks goes to our wonderful adviser, Dr. Allison Bennett Dyche, who always answered my endless questions.

You all do not know how much you have impacted my life. You changed me.

The same goes to my wonderful group of friends, who stuck with me through freshman year, a pandemic and a time when it is easier than ever to tune out one another. You guys constantly cheered me on, gave me reasons to laugh and pushed me to be a better person.

It has made me so proud to also be a part of our local, community focused bakery, which has given me an even deeper sense of place and understanding, alongside many many friends. 

However, I think some of my best writing has gone unpublished.

It’s the writing I did in conversation with others. The different perspectives my friends have brought to my life. The different ways that so many caring members of this community have engaged with me in a meaningful and thoughtful way. It’s all here, at this moment, and will be here forever. 

Yet, we must find that something comes after. 

For those I leave at The Appalachian, always remember that saying hello to one another, finding friendship in community and having an open mind always sets the stage for the best stories. The kind of stories that express the empathy, care and understanding that this world requires. 

As for me, I again find myself at a crossroads; I don’t really know what I want to do next. 

But, if there’s a lesson to be learned from this whole thing, maybe I don’t need to know anything beyond this: just go, put your foot in the door and figure out what you love. There is no guide, but the stories we make together.