Senior Goodbye: Malik Rahili


Malik Rahili

You know, it’s kinda funny. From the beginning of this year, I wanted nothing more than to hang up my cape and cowl of editor-in-chief and move on to the “real world.” I spent months counting down the days until graduation, and I got more and more excited that the long nights, stress-filled days and four years of not enough sleep were coming to an end.

But I’m two weeks out from graduation and contrary to popular belief about journalists, I have these damn things called “feelings,” and I’m beginning to realize that this is it – this is the end. I’m starting to become nostalgic as I walk around campus and especially the newsroom.

During the summer of 2012, I was in the car with my girlfriend Rachel, her brother Adam and his now-wife Brittany – two alumni from The Appalachian – and they were all persuading me to join the paper. “You will make some of your best friends” and “You will learn so much about App State” were some of the things they told me.

After being the editor and working for my high school newspaper for three years, I liked the idea of getting back into a newsroom. Plus, it would give me something to do. My one stipulation was that I didn’t want to write. I wanted to lay out the paper because I hated writing. So naturally, I chose to pursue a degree in JOURNALISM.

I emailed the editor-in-chief, Hannah Pomphrey, some design samples, and the next day, I was signed up for summer workshops. I came in the first day as a graphic designer scared, excited and a little hungry. I saw a banner that read “The Appalachian: Putting out twice a week since 1934” and I knew that I was in a good place. Sidenote: I saw this suave looking, cool guy with tattoos and some rad hair. Little did I know that he was going to be my boss and one of the best people I met during my time here.

I thought to myself “I like this place! Maybe I’ll do this for a year or two.” Lol. Fast forward three months and I was promoted to graphics editor. I didn’t know what the hell I was doing, but it was paid and I was having fun. A year and a half later, I was promoted to visual managing editor. And finally someone decided to let me run this show and promoted me to editor-in-chief.

During my four years here, I have created so many amazing memories that it would take the entire paper to write them all down. But times like when I designed the Sun Belt move front page, redesigned the paper three times, played baseball and marker/scissor darts in the office, created hundreds of memes, endured long nights full of laughing and a bit of crying and seeing the paper printed the next day, are some of the best moments I’ve had at The Appalachian.

But these moments would have been nothing without the people here. I owe so much to everyone here that has helped me during my four years.

To Rachel, Adam and Brittany Jennings – thank you so much for getting me to join The Appalachian. Without you guys, I wouldn’t have even thought about joining. And thank you so much for continually supporting and helping me during my time here.

To my mom, dad and sisters – thank you for supporting me in everything I have done at The Appalachian and in college. Also for yelling at me whenever I said I wanted to leave the paper.

To Lizzie McCreary – thank you for hiring me and seeing the potential in me to be the graphics editor. You taught me so much about design and how to effectively run a desk. Who knows where I’d be now if you hadn’t been my editor and promoted me.

To Michael Bragg – you suave looking, cool guy with tattoos and some rad hair. Thank you for being my editor, choosing me to serve on your editorial board and being a great mentor and an even better friend all these years.

To Andrew Clausen, Justin Perry and Stephanie Sansoucy – thank you guys for having my back all these years. Telling me when I have done something great and not holding back when I’ve done something wrong. Because of you guys, we were able to accomplish so many awesome things these four years. We were all here from the very beginning and you guys are some of the best friends I have made while at The Appalachian.

To Allison Dyche –  you have pushed me to be better in everything I do. Instead of saying “Oh that’s great! Good job,” you told me my work was “aight” or “could be better” in an effort to make me a better designer and journalist, even when I wanted to do the bare minimum. Also, without you, my meme skills would be nowhere near where they are now.

To all of the editors I have worked with over the last four years – thank you for the laughs, support and good times. From Chelsey Fisher trying to get me to cheer up on a long production night, Cory Spiers talking about all sorts of video game nonsense, to Gerrit Van Genderen schooling me in what real hip-hop is, the editors I have worked with have been some of the greatest and most hard-working people I have ever met.

To my current editorial board – I can’t even begin to thank you guys. We accomplished so much this year and I have never worked with a group of more talented editors than you all. You guys have done some incredible work this semester and you have made my job of editor-in-chief worth it.

(I swear this is the last one) Finally, to Carl Blankenship – I know you are going to a great job next year as editor-in-chief. I have the upmost confidence in you and your ability to continue improving and innovating The Appalachian. Good luck and if you ever need anything, just call.

So that’s that. This is my last byline in The Appalachian. I am both happy and sad to see this come to an end. In a really cheesy and sappy way to wrap up my time here, I want to use a quote from Jim Halpert from The Office.

“Everything I have I owe to this job…this stupid, wonderful, boring, amazing job.”

This isn’t going to be my last time in Boone or at The Appalachian. I’ll be back to check in on things and maybe play another game of office baseball. But in the meantime, I’m going back to bed.