Caitlin Carroll: Time for some belated thank you’s

We don’t say “thank you” enough at The Hatchet. It’s just too easy not to stop and appreciate what we’ve done – probably because stopping (and feeling satisfied) isn’t something we’re very familiar with.

There are always new stories, new photos, new columns, new layouts, new headlines, new opportunities for something not to be the best it could be and new staff member scapegoats. We’re always starting anew and we’ve got printed proof of it. We hold people amazingly accountable – someone didn’t get that interview, missed a deadline or misspelled a name – whatever it was, you can count on not getting away with it. Drank too much over the weekend and did something stupid? Someone on staff knows about it, so now we all know about it and you’re never going to live it down with us.

We pour so much of ourselves into this and take so much pride in our work; the inevitable shortcomings or missed opportunities don’t go unnoticed. Unfortunately, we don’t adequately acknowledge all the things that go right day after day and all the efforts that exceeded expectations.

For these same reasons, we also don’t thank The Hatchet enough. Probably because we don’t frequently feel compelled to say things like, “Thank you Hatchet, for keeping me up until 3 a.m.” Or, “I really appreciate you, Hatchet. I would so much rather be spending time with you right now than accepting that invitation to have fun with my friends.” We feel like The Hatchet owns us, and it’s only natural to complain about your keeper. And although we tend to complain more than we compliment, each of us has a deep-seated dedication and admiration for this place. There’s no other reasoning on the side of sanity that would keep us coming back. We just don’t say “thank you” enough (I know I don’t) or focus on what everyone does to make The Hatchet happen.

As graduation nears for us seniors, we’re all forced to think more about what being here means. A few recent discussions with staff members at The Hatchet’s G Street townhouse have given me an even greater appreciation for something I already feel indebted to. These discussions have centered around a mutual feeling of awe when posing the question: what do you do after leaving here? How do people fill the void in time and commitment when their time as a Hatchet staff member is over? Obviously, whatever post-graduation plans we have should come to mind. But, for some reason, it doesn’t seem as though anything could compare. The only conclusion I’ve been able to muster up is that I’m going to need a hobby. And so I’ve decided I’m going to take up hip-hop dancing. Seriously.

Reflecting on my time here, I feel lucky to have had something in college that felt so important and had such a great impact on me that I (and people I work with) have uncertainty about what life would be like without it. Throughout four years, I’ve been a news reporter, assistant news editor, campus news editor, features editor and editor in chief. If college is supposed to be the most integral time for self-discovery, then there’s nothing that has shaped me more than my time here.

The Hatchet can be a harsh lesson in self-awareness, but one that I’m glad I’ve had. If I had this year to do again, I definitely would have done some things differently. By the same token, I never would choose to do it over again because it’d be hard to match what a great year it was for us.

The Hatchet has given me so many laughs and so many proud moments. From my first news story that got handed back to me in a million different pieces, to building a features section that I loved to editing the whole shebang this year, I don’t think this experience could’ve been much better.

On that note, some thank you’s that are way overdue:

Barnett – Thank you for giving me confidence in my reporting, writing and editing. You’re a nutcase, but you taught me a lot, and your strange way of encouragement is something I suffered without this year.

Ryan and the business office – All those color ads at the beginning of the year kept us on our toes. Thanks for being the overlooked force behind the newspaper.

Erin and Brendan – You both make The Hatchet a crazy good time when you’re here. I’m always grateful for your attitudes and senses of humor.

Brandon – Nothing ever gets you down, which amazes me. If everyone had the enthusiasm and heart you do, the newspaper would be better for it.

Ceasar – You drive me crazy and I won’t miss your e-mails. But, when you finally do leave here – as a five-year editorial staff member – you will likely have contributed much more to this newspaper than anyone. If you spend all your energy on what’s important, you’re definitely on track to do that.

Howie – You make The Hatchet go round. Thanks for everything you did this year and putting up with my constant rescheduling. (Thank goodness you are here 9 to 5).

Nadia – Thanks for staying up much later than you wanted to.

Greg Gross – You never, ever complain, which says a lot about you. I hope The Hatchet has done as much for you as you’ve done for it.

Maura and Sarah – The Insider is awesome, which I never had a doubt about. Thanks for keeping at it.

Jeffrey – I guess I did take some chances on you, but I never felt like I was. You have a unique take on things and more than made up for your lack of experience.

Katie and Marissa – The Life section is near and dear to my heart – thanks for keeping it in such good hands.

Kyle, Natalie, Allie and Tim – You guys breathe so much life into ‘Da Hatchet.’ Some of my best times this year (and God knows the best gossip) happened down in that production room.

Ladies of the news department – Being a news editor is an incredibly demanding job. You guys should feel pretty proud of yourselves for having been in the trenches and more than survived it.

Jake – As long as you slow down and talk a little less (and not at all about certain subjects, maybe), I know you’ll bring The Hatchet great things. And by the way, you’re not psychic. But I promise that’s the only time I’ve ever lied to you.

Gabe and Kyle – You have very frequently been the reasonable and articulate voices of The Hatchet when we needed it.

Ben and Nick – With Erin, you guys held down the photo desk and were always there to make us consider photos more.

Claire – The Hatchet’s grammar queen – knowing you were proofing pages always put me at ease.

Joanna – I love how riled up you get watching sports in the office and fighting with Jake. You bring a lot to the section (namely other sports).

Jonny – Thanks for being a bonedog.

Ladies and gents from the second floor (plus J) – everything would have been much more difficult without a family away from home. Thanks for being there.

The new Hatchet crew -You guys have already shown a level of dedication to The Hatchet that rivals staff members older than you. Thank you for letting me know that The Hatchet’s only going to get better. I’ll come by and visit when I’m here next year for grad school. Tell me when it gets annoying.

And for all of the missed thank you’s – the shout-outs I should’ve given throughout the year and for everyone who helps make The Hatchet what it is – thank you.

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