Alumnus hikes Appalachian Trail
After receiving his bachelor’s degree in social science and his teaching license in 2012, Radford University alumnus Andrew Frazier took one last big adventure before starting his career. He packed his bags and began a five-and-a-half month journey on the Appalachian Trail.
Frazier completed the trip and learned very quickly that he took simple things in life for granted, “I was alone in Massachusetts for a week straight. You don’t realize how important human interaction is until you don’t have it for certain amount of time,” he said.
As he made his way through the Appalachian mountain range, he began to meet others and finished the journey with them. Frazier mostly camped throughout his hike while occasionally stayed in hostels.
“The trail cuts through some towns or is just a few miles away from one, so we would stop if we needed food or a shower,” he explained.
Frazier discovered that the mental aspects of the hike were more challenging than the physical ones. “I could have stopped in any town and decided to go home right then and there, but I wouldn’t have accomplished what I started,” he said. “In the end, you’re left with great memories and friends. It’s bittersweet.”
Although the views and time with nature were appreciated by Frazier during his journey, he found that the community aspect of the hike was what he valued most. “There is always people who are willing to give you what you need without question, I began to appreciate the good in humanity,” he said. “Churches would let us stay and give us free showers; if we needed food there was always someone willing to give us something to eat.”
Sometimes I wished I could have been a recreational major so I could be outside, but joining RU Outdoors allowed me to do what I enjoyed while completing my social science major and teaching license
After completing the Appalachian Trail, Frazier became a soccer coach and teacher at Giles High School. Frazier attended the same school and played for the same team when he was younger. Under Frazier’s guidance, the team has been undefeated in the regular season for five consecutive seasons and has come just short of winning the state title.
Frazier relates his accomplishment of hiking the trail to his students. He is from the same rural area and encourages them that they can do whatever they put their mind to.
“I try to teach them not to let the small town they’re from decide what they can and can’t do,” he said. “I help them see their full potential, they can be successful outside or within the area in which they live.”
Frazier also suggests that his students take the volunteer opportunity to work at the national trail.
When first starting his college career, Frazier was unsure of what he wanted to do after college. As time passed, he realized that he wanted to become a teacher.
“I really liked the way Radford used their cohort system, everyone in the major would go off on their own to teach their classes and come back to collaborate with each other and learn from each other’s experiences,” Frazier said. “The system definitely helped me with my career as a teacher.”
During his time at Radford, Frazier found that there was a lot of things to do that interested him outside of his major.
“Radford has a lot of extracurricular activities for students such as sports, clubs, and in my case, RU Outdoors.” Frazier said. “Sometimes I wished I could have been a recreational major so I could be outside, but joining RU Outdoors allowed me to do what I enjoyed while completing my social science major and teaching license.”