Alexa Millinger: All the nostalgia that’s fit to print

Though I’m sure my dad won’t like to read this after four years of footing GW tuition, I got my college education at The Hatchet.

I didn’t come to GW wanting to be a journalist. I had no idea what I wanted to be, and I still don’t. I showed up at The Hatchet open house an eager freshman hoping to bulk up my resume, with delusions that being the assistant features editor at my high school paper would make me some sort of big shot. But somewhere along the way, I got hooked.

After writing a few articles, I realized I loved the exhilaration of interrogating strangers, the pretentious legitimacy I felt when I introduced myself as “A Reporter For The GW Hatchet,” the satisfaction of seeing my byline in newsprint – no matter how heavily edited my articles were.

It’s no secret that the Hatchet staff is some of the hardest working people on campus. Most of the staff would gladly put their Hatchet duties before schoolwork and social life and there is minimal complaining (most of it is from me) about spending hours on end holed up in the townhouse. On Sundays, while most of GW is still asleep, we have staff meetings, front page meetings, budget meetings and production only to get up the next morning and start the process over. From the outside, it’s hard to see where the motivation comes from. We don’t get a whole lot of praise from students and certainly not the University – we’ve learned to find glory in the small things, like our stories getting picked up by blogs or seeing someone read The Hatchet in class. And I can’t count how many times I’ve had to drop whatever I was doing to run to cover “breaking news” that turned out to be a fire drill.

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But, for me, being a part of the Hatchet family has been motivation enough. From the first time I was invited to a Monday night Froggy dinner, I could tell that this was a tight-knit group. Over four years, The Hatchet has become a place where I feel completely comfortable and I can only hope to find something like this again in my life. This paper has given me some of my best memories and best friends. We have a unique dynamic being each other’s friends and bosses at the same time – yelling at each other over why stories or photos aren’t in one minute and sharing frozen margaritas at T.G.I. Friday’s the next. We have seen each other at our best and our worst. The Hatchet is our job and our fraternity rolled into one. We’re a ragtag bunch of kids with a common passion for quality journalism, a goal to put out a great product twice a week and a quirky sense of humor that – as Alberg pointed out and I’m sure my roommates can attest to – no one else finds funny.

Last fall when we held a reception at the office for Hatchet alumni, I watched former editors gather around and leaf through bound editions from 20, 30, 40 years ago when they were on staff, reminiscing about the stories they covered, the photos they took and the memories they made. I’m fairly confident that we’ll all find ourselves back at 2140 G St in 20 years or so – probably by way of an e-vite from Tim – recalling the hippo debacle, the excitement of covering Obama’s election, Kyle charming her way out of a speeding ticket on the ride to Ocean City and Roper’s odd meowing habit. Amanda couldn’t make the reunion, but she sent a cutout of herself in her place and Nacin sprints in two hours late to announce that he finally finished the new photo budget. Becoming involved in this newspaper is by far the best decision I’ve made in college and it has not only shaped my college career but who I’ve become. Hatchet: You’re an amazingly talented group of people in so many diverse ways, I sincerely wish you all the best of luck – just don’t forget about me.

To my family: You’re my best friends and my biggest fans, I love you. Eric: You have no idea how proud I am to be your sister. Dad: I know I give you a hard time, but you deserve a lot of credit. Thank you for everything. Mom: I miss you every day.

To my former editors – Kaitlyn: Thanks for taking me under your wing. You introduced me into the Hatchet family and taught me how to write, and without you I would not be where I am today. Ceasar: You’ve done a lot for this paper and I know everyone secretly appreciates you. Jake: I was and still am a little scared of you, but I miss you around here. Jess: I’m so glad we’ve become even closer since you graduated, but thank you for being my introduction into the news department.

Ramonas: You’ve been missed around The Hatchet.

Photo: I think I took you guys for granted, but thanks for all your hard work and for not being as uptight as the rest of us. Nick: Best prom date I’ve ever had.

Copy (aka Andrea and Will): I apologize that you’ve had to listen to my crappy music and bad jokes, but thanks for making my production nights bearable.

Production: You have one of the hardest jobs at this paper and you do it so well. There is no one else I’d rather be stuck at the office with at 2 a.m. than you guys. Abnos: We’ll have an A Club reunion sometime. Erica: Stay strong next year

Joanna: I’m going to embarrass you but my first Hatchet memory is of you wearing mistletoe at a Christmas party and everyone talking about how long it would take for a certain former senior news editor to kiss you. You’ve been a great friend to me since, I love you.

Tim: It still baffles me how you can do so much without sleeping. You’re an amazing person, thank you for everything you’ve done for me.

Nat: Your honesty and dependability are refreshing, as an editor and a friend.

Nacin: You’re hard to count on for web-related things, but you’ve been there for me unconditionally and I don’t know what I would do without you.

Diana and Natalie: You two manage to put me in a good mood no matter what’s going on. You’re smart, beautiful girls and you’re well on your way to being huge successes in life.

Amanda: You’re a Hatchet kid, just face it. I wish I had met you sooner because I think you’re awesome.

Kyle: I’m so happy we crossed over from being “Hatchet friends” to just regular friends. You are one of my favorite people in D.C. to spend time with, and I’ve loved all of our adventures and look forward to lots more.

News – Byers: I thoroughly enjoyed watching the transition from sportswriter to EIC. You’re a genuinely good person and I expect big things from you. Sarah: Your hard work makes a visible difference at this paper. Emily: I’m so flattered that you call yourself my protégé. I think you were born to be a Hatcheteer and you have the talent and dedication to succeed.

Roper: I could tell you that you’re a talented and inspiring journalist, but I think you already know that. Your dedication to this paper has set a strong example for everyone and I think The Hatchet will remember you as one of its greatest assets. I’ve learned a lot from you not only as a boss but also as a close friend and I’ll miss seeing you every day.

To my non-Hatchet friends: Thanks for putting up with me even after I sold my soul to The Hatchet. You’re all amazing, beautiful people and I’m so lucky to have you in my life. Deepa and Jess: I couldn’t ask for better or more loyal roommates and best friends. Deepa, you have no idea how much all those production night visits to the office saved me. I love you.

To news writers, new editors and everyone else who is staying on staff: Take good care of The Hatchet. You are the future of this paper and from what I’ve seen, you are well-equipped to lead it.

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