Erin Shea: Holy guacamole! It’s over!

Every year, all the graduating seniors in the editorial office get 30 inches to write whatever they want. Usually, this includes tidbits of wisdom and nostalgia-evoking stories about the first time that person walked into The Hatchet office. My 30 piece is going to be all this and more … so prepare yourself for 6,300 characters of jibber-jabbering claptrap. Enjoy.

Working at The Hatchet has sometimes made me feel like I have a secret identity. Sure, Clark Kent may get to disappear into a telephone booth and reemerge in tight spandex and a sweet red cape, but I get to don a totally awkward-looking camera backpack, stuff a reporter’s notebook in my pocket and tuck a sparkly pen behind my ear.

My roommates are probably the only ones who truly understand how many hours I spend at that precious little townhouse at 2140 G St. In fact, I am convinced that if I am one day kidnapped and sold into slavery, the ladies I live with will just assume I’m still at The Hatchet.

I started working for the paper in 2003 as an overzealous freshman. I literally do not think I turned down one assignment, which unfortunately says more about my floundering social life that year rather than my work ethic. I often elicit skeptical looks when I tell our photographers that we used to use film in the photo department, which has since gone completely digital. Yes, that’s right, boys – I would develop in the (gasp!) darkroom. We would scan negatives. We couldn’t use the Facebook to search for caption information when we forgot to get names of people in our photos. We would walk eight miles in the snow to Watergate to get our color film developed. Oh, the days of yore.

But seriously, I can honestly say that working at The Hatchet has been my favorite part about attending GW. I feel like I know so much more about the SA, the administration and Square 54 than the average GW student – and that’s just through osmosis. I’ve had the opportunity to photograph the President of the United States and Kevin Federline. I’ve driven a pick-up truck to Philadelphia to photograph women’s basketball. I’ve had the celestial pleasure of going on three different retreats to Ocean City, Md., and if you’ve ever been to that lovely locale before, I think you know what I’m talking about. These opportunities are all in a day’s work, my friend.

I think what I will miss most about working at The Hatchet is the colleagues with which I have been forced to interact with all day long on Sundays and Wednesdays. My fellow Hatcheteers have made me think critically about this institution we attend rather than just going along for the ride. They’ve taught me how to get along with all kinds of personalities. More importantly, they’ve forced me to compare Charlie Chang’s take-out with Hunan Peking’s.

Now that Commencement is only a stone’s throw away and I still don’t have a job, I’ve started feeling nostalgic for my time here at 2140 G St. I know that this is probably the most politically incorrect workplace on the face of the planet. I lament the fact that next year I’ll probably have to wear pointy-toed shoes and a suit jacket to work rather than the same stained jeans and T-shirt I had been wearing the night before.

I’ve had spontaneous dance parties at The Hatchet (Mogavero), shot-gunned beers at places I shouldn’t have (Brendan and Sam … sorry Howie), and met my Facebook husband there (you’re still my longest relationship to date, Kyle). Not to mention the great naps I’ve taken on that nasty couch. Somehow I don’t think these kinds of shenanigans will be happening at my future place of employment.

To my photog boys: I probably won’t go down in history as a great photo editor, but you have to admit next year is going to be a hell of a lot more boring without me. D.J. Jazzy Ben: Remember when I hated you? Now I can’t get enough of your show tunes. Nickalicious: That story of finding a strange drunk blonde chick passed out in your bed will be forever engrained in my mind. Don’t shave your beard or your face will get cold. Alex: Please don’t ever change your cell phone song. We don’t need no education. Ryder: You are always full of surprises. It was great seeing you at Senior Night. You four are going to make a great team next year. And remember, photos don’t fill space, but make sure they’re as big as possible anyway. Fighting with production is fun!

For future staffers, I have some words of wisdom for you. When you can’t find any pens in the office, check between the couch cushions. Sure, you’ll be disgusted by what you find, but I swear there’s more writing utensils in there than in Ceasar’s desk drawer.

To my family (my real one and my GW one), thank you for always being in my corner of the ring. Emily: I will be the one in the audience laughing obnoxiously when you’re a big-time comedian. You can be sure of that. Jessie: When you’re poor and in medical school, I’ll buy you drinks. I expect you to repay me when you’re a successful doctor and I’m living in my parents’ basement. Whitney: I will be first in line at the grand opening of your coffee shop/music venue/record store. Please make sure the bouncer lets me in. Tara: Always my partner in crime, I think you know we’ve only hit the tip of the iceberg of the adventures we’ve got left in us. Kristin: When I am eating popcorn and watching your pretty face on the silver screen, I am going to yell very loudly in the movie theater that you’re my friend. People will have to shush me. Alex: When is my friendship bracelet going to be finished? You’re holding out on me! Thank you for making decisions for me because I can’t do it myself. To all my other homies: thanks for making my four years here so enjoyable – I hope I’ve done a little of that for you, too. And most importantly, Mom, Dad, Brian and Dan: I know you’ve always got my back and I hope you know I’ve always got yours. Much love to you always.

So now that all the photos are picked out, cropped, sized, saved, toned and captioned, it comes time for me to steal a phrase from one of the celebrity blogs to which I am sorely addicted.

Peace the spork out.

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