Well, it’s finally here.Four years ago, I thought this day was unreachable. The day that has motivated me through the all-nighters, midterms and final papers. The day in which I can finally stand up and be proud to say I am a graduate of Appalachian State University. Looking back, my undergraduate career can be compared to the competitive edge in the movie “Talladega Nights.” There have definitely been ups and downs, but I feel like I’ve ended up on top with the “if you ain’t first, you’re last” kind of attitude. Although I may not have a multimillion dollar NASCAR deal sponsored by Powerade, I sure will feel like a champ when I walk across that stage come May. Being able to shake our beloved Chancellor’s hand will be almost as exciting as throwing grandpa Chip’s war medals off the bridge.As an undergraduate at Appalachian, there are five keys to success that helped keep me ahead of the pack.Make school your first priority. The only place I want to be getting kicked out of is Applebee’s on the weekend with the family.Eat at Los. I can’t criticize the other restaurant because I have never been there, but that is the way it will remain. Enjoy Boone when the weather is nice. Go to places like Howard’s Knob, Hebron and “Boone Beach.” This is definitely a good way of keeping your mind off classes.Enjoy Boone when the weather is not so nice. As all of you have experienced this semester, Appalachian is notorious for snow. When classes are cancelled, go outside and ski or hike a mountain. Chances are we may never live in a place again that gets snow like this.Slow down and be yourself. In college, it is easy to get caught up in clubs, classes and part-time jobs. If you don’t take a moment to slow down and enjoy the experience, it’ll be gone before you know it.Now here comes the part in my victory speech where I have to thank my sponsors. I’d like to first off thank my parents. They’re the ones who have provided my corporate sponsorship and kept this team afloat. Without their support, I’d for sure be delivering pizzas on a bike for a living. I’d also like to thank all my friends who put up with all my nonsense over the years and still call me their friends. Having those people to help you out of the worst situations and be the El Diablo to your Magic Man means the world.Here’s the one question everybody wants to know. Am I ready to graduate? Yes, I am. Will I miss being a student at Appalachian? Yes, I will.Shake and bake.
Abele, a senior appropriate technology major from Morresville, is an intern videographer.