Brandon Butler: Down the stairs and into the world

Every time I’ve walked into The Hatchet townhouse – across the street from GW Deli – I’ve walked, or run, up a flight of stairs to get to the editorial offices where I work.

After this article, I will no longer have a need to go up those stairs. In a sense, with this final piece I’m walking down those stairs, out of my cozy home in the ivory tower of The Hatchet and into the real world.

I was never really scared of graduation until now, when I realize it’s only four weeks away. While I’m happy that I will not take another class, write another paper or do another mundane quiz, graduation means a lot of change in my life. But thankfully, in large part because of this paper, I’m ready for that.

Everyone evolves. You change, you get better, you get accustomed to what is happening and you adapt. The more comfortable you are, the better you will be.

While the real world is scary, I have grown over the last four years and I’m infinitely more prepared for whatever is to come because of my past.

I have learned from my successes and my failures. I have learned that change happens, no matter if you try to stop it or not. I’ve learned that change is good, it keeps everyone honest and it makes you better.

I’ve learned that stuff is easier to do with a smile on your face and I’ve learned that if you surround yourself with competent people, you are more likely to do well. I’ve learned the value of support and the value of supporting others who have supported you. It’s clich?, but it’s true.

I’ll be honest, I don’t know exactly what’s coming, I don’t know exactly where I’m going to be in a year. But that’s ok. I’m pretty sure it will all work out just fine. I’ve got people I love, those who love me, great friends and I’m ready to work. What more do you need?

If with change you find success, then you will have learned how to become better. If with change comes failure, you will have learned what mistakes not to make in the future. Keep the things you are doing right, do not be afraid to take risks and try something new.

Don’t be afraid of change, take everything as a learning experience and keep a smile on your face. That’s my biggest piece of advice and how I’ve lived my life: be happy if there’s no reason not to be.

Everyone’s got their story about how they chose their college, but I can honestly say the reason I came to GW was to work for this newspaper. From my days in senior year of high school when I walked into the townhouse on a tour of Foggy Bottom, the first time I walked up those stairs I knew I wanted to work here. And now I have, and it’s been great, but it’s time for me to go down those stairs one last time.

So thanks to everyone who has helped me along the way. If I leave anyone out, well, thanks anyway.

Thanks to my family and my friends. My family has always been there and always loved me. Thanks mom and I love you for being great. Thanks to Dad for your insightfulness, Jeremy for being my main man and Tara for being a big sister. And my dog Truffs, who’s really a duck. I love them all and that’s all I really need.

I’ve lived with the same two people for the last four years and there’s a reason. Jon and Brian are going to be two of my best friends for the rest of my life. It’s been a good ride; it feels like yesterday I met you for the first time on the seventh floor of Thurston. To Mike and Linet: you guys are great too.

To my high school buddies: Nick and the crowd, Phil and my other buddies, and of course, Adam and Abby.

To Julie and Gina: you have meant a lot to me over the last four years, college would have been totally different without you two.

To my editors: Barnett is the greatest editor I’ve ever had; he taught me more than anyone else and his mark is still felt at the paper. Holeywell was crazy and he’s more of my friend than my editor, so thanks for that. To Ceasar whose annoying meticulousness over the last four years has made this paper better. You’re good at what you do, buddy.

To my beloved writers and editors. Jess, you’ll do great next year and beyond; I can never believe how organized you are. To Lizzie, Katie and Marissa who were my news buddies. To Gabe, who’s been in and out of The Hatchet but always been a good friend and will be for a while to come, I’m sure. And Spector who used to be a source of mine when he was in the Senate and now is just my buddy.

To Solomon, Nick, Erin, Sammy and the rest of photo. By default anyone in the news department has a love/hate relationship with photo, but let me just say I love you guys.

To prodo. Woot-woo, Natales and Timmy. I love you guys too. You make every Wednesday and Sunday night bearable. And Tim, get some freakin’ sleep. And Gross is the man too.

To Caitlin: it’s been a long year but a good one.

To Sherman: you’ll do fine next year and the paper will be better for it.

To Ramonas, my mini-me: I never thought I’d meet someone who loves the SA as much as me. I’ve had fun teaching you and watching you. Your turn now. You’ll do just fine in life; you’ve got it.

To Roper who is a damn good reporter and I could drink with all the time. You have great drive. And Elise and Nat, we hired you for a reason.

To President Trachtenberg for helping us break two huge stories this year and to all my professors and my high school, middle school and elementary school teachers, my bosses and everyone else that has helped me along the way. Thank you everyone.

To Julia … What can I say. You’re an amazing person and an even more amazing girlfriend. I love being with you and I can’t wait for us to live in the same city again. I love talking to you everyday through the happy times and all the stresses of our lives. You keep me sane and are the reason I’m happy now. You’re beautiful and your understanding and wit and everything about you is, like I said, amazing.

So with that I leave The Hatchet. I’ve given four years and I’ve given it my all. When I came to GW, I knew I wanted to work here and I’m glad I did. For all the steak and cheeses I’ve eaten in the office, for all the articles I’ve written and edited, for all the work and partying I didn’t do because of The Hatchet, well now I’m done.

I step out into the real world and I’m ready because of this paper. One last time I go down those stairs, only this time I will not be running back up.

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