Singing her swan song with tears, smile

An eerie silence pervades the newsroom after I copy edit the last story of the night. The ever-present laughter has subsided, the phone’s incessant ringing has ceased and the bustling newsroom stands empty. Indeed, my own days of going “off to make the paper” and “staying up late to bring you the news” are over as I trade my berth in that coveted staff box for one of an alumna. I sing my swan song with tears and a smile as the end is here.

Acting as a student journalist in a city inundated with media outlets and a campus of critical peers can be difficult at times. Campus media members’ efforts and motives are often questioned by students, faculty, administrators and even friends. Many asked why I dedicated time and lost sleep to a microcosm called The Hatchet.

I’ll steal my answer from a fellow staffer – it’s The Hatchet. Plain and simple. My Hatchet heydays let me integrate my passions for GW, D.C. and journalism. Keeping a pulse on campus allowed me to give something back to the University and its greater community by providing information and hopefully provoking thought during my Hatchet tenure.

Still, I came without a hidden agenda or premeditated malice. I did not intentionally strive for sensationalism, misquote student leaders or tarnish the image of a professor. Remember, The Hatchet prides itself on being a training ground. The Hatchet served as my guinea pig, as I honed my craft under its wings, with the critique and insight of those both inside and outside The Hatchet. Working both the Sunday and the Wednesday issues, I witnessed the entire editorial board perform the incredible. The sacrifices and dedication of fellow Hatchet editors and writers never ceased to amaze me, as they truly partake in the 24-hour news cycle. The jovial and upbeat attitudes proved contagious and made working even the latest of hours bearable.

I thank editors from now and the past for teaching me a thing or two about GW, D.C., journalism and friendship. From each of you, I take something different to guide me in future pursuits.

Becky, your media savvy ways and incessant upbeat attitude kept me smiling, no matter what the hour. As head magazine librarian, I am glad I successfully shaped your periodical preferences as I learned the finer points of journalism and happiness from a fun and bright editor in chief.

Dave, your unrelenting commitment to The Hatchet and solid journalistic philosophies often left me spellbound. Any newspaper will be lucky to benefit from your knowledge, drive and expertise.

Dustin, I know The Hatchet will be in good hands with your conscientious and focused ways. Just don’t let any copyediting gaffes slip along the way.

Margaret, your superior graphics talent and selfless dedication to The Hatchet amaze me. Receiving your genuine gratitude made doing even the mundane worth my while.

Matt, your photographic wizardry saved many potential disasters. Your sports savvy and managerial skills will make your section nothing less than stellar.

Theresa and Gayle, you may have been the sweet “babies” this year, but you are both far from novices now. I was lucky to witness your superior journalistic prowesses. Remember me when you run your own newspapers.

Rich, your wit may come at the expense of others, but it always brought a smile to my face. When I need a lawyer in my next libel case, I’ll keep you in mind.

Ali, your spunk, pep and bubbliness are contagious. May you take my spot as head magazine librarian.

Josh, your photographic skills will make the moon over Miami glow. Of course, I will be your critiquing ombudsman when I venture south for some sun.

Kathryn, your sweet and smiling Californian ways brightened even cloudy Sundays. May you be my teen magazine partner in crime.

Helder, you always made me smile and drew me into a crowd – a tough feat indeed. Your intellect, humor and observant eyes are a unique and rare combination.

Matt, no story stands too challenging or difficult for you. With journalism in your blood, you’re destined for a Pulitzer.

Francesca, you endured some tough critics over the years, yet remained strong nonetheless. Your tenacity, drive and heart of gold should serve as an example to us all.

Shruti, you gave me so much from the start – insight into California culture, a California letter lunch confidante and a patient editor. I am grateful you were my job source, venting board and most importantly, a true friend.

One of my mantras is that the people make the place. From each of my friends, not all of whom could be named, I take a piece of them and will carry it forever. You all touched and shaped my life so much that any heartfelt gratitude would not thank you enough for giving me the quintessential college experience.

Christy, you made me see the lighter side of life with your contagious optimism and amazing intellect. Any profession of the week will be lucky to experience your wonders, as have I.

Adam, our friendship from day one defied my rule that sources are not your friends. If I abided that rule, I wouldn’t have satiated my editing juices at all hours, acquired your male perspective on it all or witnessed your superhumanism. Yes, you may be behind if you are not ahead, but thanks for teaching me that life happens when you are planning for other things.

Aarti, Laura, Stacey and Theresa, we private school snobs did more than just Jamaica me crazy. No one could make beaches, burns, the bitch and most of all, bonding, better. We did the last college hurrah in stereotypical style and more importantly, together. Your unrelenting support of all my endeavors and constant attention to my happiness made college nothing but fun and memorable. Short Hills Mall here we come.

Onward to my “freshman friends” who truly know me better than I know myself at times.

Shannon, you win the Felsen metanalyzer award as you often read me better than I read myself. You taught me the finer points of Cleveland, communication and friendship with a splash of cheer and thoughtful insight. I just hope I didn’t make you too crazy along the way.

Theresa, there’s so many memories from the roller coaster called college we rode together that I can’t pick just one. Look out New York and Boston. Here’s $500, TML – your Midas touch will turn it and everything else you touch into gold. Just don’t use my money for shopping, okay?

Steve, whether it’s a humorous banter, a therapy session or a serious talk, I am a better person for it. You’ve taught me how to laugh, enjoy life and yes, have fun. I will say it again – you truly are an amazing person with talent, humor and a go-get `em attitude on your side. Let us know when one of us wins that bet, okay?

Brittany, together we explored, vented and reflected about D.C., GW and life. You were always there with a shoulder to cry on, act as a personal cheerleader and or listen to my “Biblical” dreams. I think we challenged the philosophy that roommates cannot be friends. My, how we changed and grew – together. We will change and grow even more, perhaps apart, yet always together.

Mom, dad and Rick, you’ve stood by me in every shortcoming, success, tear and smile, offering advice and support 24-7. I am lucky and grateful that I am not alone as that song plays softly amid my thoughts.

I sing my swan song with tears and a smile as the end is here.

-Stacey Felsen’s future plans include pursuing both an editorship and her own gossip column for People magazine. She will also strive to fulfill her Biblical dreams. If you don’t know what that means, ask her.

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