Senior Goodbye: In college and life, taking risks is worth it


Alexander McCall

Just eight weeks after beginning my college journey, I made the decision to transfer from a small, liberal arts college to study journalism at a much larger university.

I chose Appalachian State University, and I committed. I didn’t know very many people, and I wasn’t even sure I wanted to be a journalist.Alex_web

I’ve not always felt incredibly attached to Appalachian, and I’ve wondered how things might be different if I had taken a different path – but I don’t think I’d change it. As I prepare to look at Boone from my rear-view mirror, I’m glad I made those choices.

I wandered into Plemmons 217 in March 2011 looking for work as a photographer. Since then, I’ve had the pleasure of working at The Appalachian in many different capacities.

I’m proud of the work my colleagues and I have done. I’m proud of the relationships I’ve built. I’m even proud of some of the jokes I’ve made.

It took me almost two years to discover my honest passion for journalism, and there are a few lessons I’ve learned along the way.

It’s OK to be lost. It’s OK to feel challenged and doubtful and nervous. You don’t need all the answers to life to find real success. It is often life’s mysteries that make it most exciting. Focus on learning more about yourself.

Second, everyone has a story to tell, and those stories are worth hearing. Listen attentively. I promise you can live without your phone for a few minutes. Contrary to society’s deep-seated belief, things still happen even if they’re not documented with social media.

Don’t be afraid to chase your dreams. It might mean taking a risk or putting yourself outside your comfort zone, but don’t be scared to do what’s right for you.

Journalism reminds me to look at the world in new, innovative ways. Whether or not you’re a reporter, we should all seek to see things through new sets of eyes.

To my parents, friends, family and loved ones: Thank you. Thank you for your love and endless encouragement.
To the Appalachian student body: Keep making this community a better place. Hold your student media accountable. It exists to inform and serve you.

To the staff of The Appalachian: Remember that everyone’s voice deserves to be heard. Pursue the unusual, do good work and recognize that what you’re doing matters, even when people say otherwise.

I owe many thanks to my journalism professors Calvin Hall, Carolyn Edy and Lynette Holman for inspiring and training me.

Don’t be afraid to put on your boots and explore. You never know what’s out there until you see it for yourself.

Alexander McCall, a senior journalism major from Statesville, is the social media manager. He was the A&E editor from May 2013 to January 2014.