So, I guess, I’m leaving. I’ve been here a long time, and this feels warranted. It’s no joke that my past (almost) four years of The Appalachian has taken a part of my life and given much more back.
Here’s my brief timeline. First semester of freshman year in college, I joined the paper…for three weeks. Cue conversation about irresponsible, noncommittal Victoria. It took two semesters before I realized that college was actually worth the effort and that I needed to find my place. Then I came back.
Fast forward through a year of copy editing, a year of copy editing even harder, and another year and a half of managing (with a third helping of copy editing). At least I know one unshakeable, set-in-stone skill that sits firmly at the top of my resume. That isn’t the point, though.
Resumes and professional experience and maturity all come secondary to what happened here. What’s primary is how exhausting, how inspiring, how complicating, but most of all, how ultimately gratifying, it’s been to be on this paper.
Recently I’ve been thinking about how, because of The Appalachian, my feet have never felt more firmly planted—yet I’m about to have shaky footing all over again. But if leaving here has taught me anything, it’s that with the right friends, and the right amount of support, I can level out again.
Sitting in an office for 10-plus hours every week and churning out a product that we all can be proud of has never been easy. What makes it doable, though, are the people who are there with you. Without them to give me the push I need (and for me, sometimes, to give them that in return), I would’ve never learned how to handle it all.
I’m not planning on making my eulogy too terribly drawn out. Here’s the most important part.
To Sydney, you’ve been one of the best friends I’ve ever had, and at a time when I feel pretty unsure about most things, of that I’m certain. You’re the only person who could simultaneously contribute to my late-night office outbursts, while also yelling at me to, for the love of god, edit the stories on the page. We had this whole world thrown into our hands at the same time, and without you, I can’t imagine having been able to hold it up. I guess Maleek is okay, too.
To Nora, I see everything I’ve wanted to be since I came to college in you, and even more. You showed up and fit so well into the fabric of my life it’s hard to remember a time when you weren’t in it. You’ve been a really wonderful leader. Remember that your skin is always thicker than it sometimes feels.
To Adrienne Fouts, Ashley Goodman, and Mariah Reneau, there’s nothing like the distinct tenacity of an A&E editor. You are all so deserving of love, and have more talent separately than I could hope to have.
To Reilly and Jules, thank you, in advance, for picking up where I’m leaving off. You’re both incredibly capable women, and there is never going to be a time where we don’t need that.
If you’re reading this despite knowing nothing about me, know this: joining this place may feel daunting, and the hours here might not seem worth it, but I promise they will be. If you don’t find a love for journalism, you’ll find a love for your friends. You might even find a temporary home.
Story by Victoria Haynes, Managing Editor