Senior Goodbye: To all the friends I’ve made, you’ll always be with me

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Sam Lineberger

It’s come time for me to pronounce farewells. Like it or not, Commencement is a mere handful of cursory assignments away.

Looking back, I was always aware that this time would come—mostly due to perpetual reminders from well-meaning family members. Unfortunately, I had a difficult time avoiding this kind of premature nostalgia these past four years. Much at this collegiate stage is made of what will be rather than what is; the prevailing thought is that school serves first and foremost as career preparation.Sam_web

I now know better. Nothing has meant as much to me as the times in which I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.
Although rare, a few come immediately to mind, including this spring’s Atlanta ASE trip, seeing the Grand Canyon with my best friend, Nathan Hauke’s class which totally changed how I approach literature, all the Parkway trips, all the freshman nights pacing around campus under a clear Boone sky and getting my first poem published.

I find gratitude in all the friendships I’ve stumbled into, whether spanning all four years, a semester or an evening. Friends, after all, are what have made it all worthwhile. Without all of you—whether or not we’ll remember each other’s names in X amount of years—I would not have grown the way I have.

I know that this comes off as a low-risk statement because change is inevitable, but that doesn’t make it any easier. I want to especially recognize those who challenged me. Agreement is only indicative of surface compatibility; the bravery to challenge a friend or acquaintance is what I even more powerfully long for and have received.

This is the part where I’m supposed to say that Appalachian State University is the greatest school in the world. That’s just silly, but what I am prepared to account for is the satisfaction I’ve found in this community. There are so many passionate student leaders on this campus that it’s difficult for me to wrap my head around.
I initially chose to come to Appalachian because it’s the school that my family attends: my brother Ben and I are fourth-generation Mountaineers. Our Great Mawmaw graduated in the 1920s.

If I’m grateful for anything, then it’s that a cookie-cutter decision turned out much more substantial than I could have expected. No matter what you’re into, chances are there are fellow enthusiasts around waiting to be found. They were right in telling me that college was a prime place to try new things and find new passions.
And you know what, I did. Of course there are regrets – too much time wasted here or there, not enough effort elsewhere.

Regardless, the pervading sense is that I’m much closer to finding what I want. I’m still broke, but I’m getting better at finding out who I need to be. My love goes out to all.

Sam Lineberger, a senior English major from Charlotte, is an A&E reporter.