Kate Hayes

When I was about to graduate high school, I never thought that I would end up graduating from Appalachian with a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree or that I would grow to love this university as much as I do. During senior year in high school I was actually busy applying for Navy Scholarships because I had participated in NJROTC every year in high school. When I wasn’t awarded the scholarship, I started to panic and scramble to find a school. I settled on UNC-Asheville nestled near the Pisgah National Forest. I loved my first year there, but something was missing. There wasn’t a sense of community for me. I started looking into other schools in the mountains of Western North Carolina and came across Appalachian. My mom and aunt both graduated from App years before, but when I was looking at schools it just seemed too big for me. I decided to give it a chance and came to open house and went on a tour. It shocked me how willing everyone was to lend a helping hand and take all the time I needed to get my questions answered. When I was worried about by credit transferring in, one of the credit evaluators Traci Hartley, sat down with me for at least an hour and helped me understand how everything was supposed to work and what I needed to do to make it happen! Fast forward to when I arrived at Appalachian, the Transfer Student Mentors made all the difference in my transition because they welcomed me with open arms and invited me to all sorts of events where I could meet people. I had to push myself out of my comfort zone, but it’s been THE most rewarding experience of my life! I’ve grown more than I ever thought I could and I’ve had gotten to do so many fun things! From concerts to football games and from professional conferences to giving an orientation speech, App has opened so many doors for me to take advantage of.

There’s something to be said about the “Appalachian family,” and that’s truly one of the reasons that I have stayed here as long as I have. It may be a bit cliché, but I hope that every incoming transfer student is able to experience the same feeling! I don’t want you all to have the same experience as I have because part of what makes App great is being able to find yourself, but I hope each of you find a home here. I’ll finish my graduate degree this December, but I have a feeling Boone hasn’t seen the last of me. 

Published: May 8, 2017 8:23am