By the second day of Colonial Inauguration I was pretty sure I had made a mistake. I felt miserable, out of place and ended up staying with my mom in her hotel room instead of Thurston. I hadn’t met anyone I wanted to be roommates with and was pretty sure I wasn’t ever going to like the fight song enough to be a part of GW.
I had just about decided I had picked the wrong college when my mom met me after a small group activity with a copy of The Hatchet’s CI guide.
There I learned that there are a lot of kids who hate CI. And that didn’t mean I wouldn’t find my place at GW.
My mom had already taken the next step for me. The editor in chief, Michael Barnett, had handed her the paper – so she gave him my e-mail and told him that I was interested in joining the paper. I’d been a newspaper geek since my freshman year in high school, so this wasn’t a far reach. She must have made an especially good impression. Within my second week of school I had a job in the production department of The Hatchet.
GW is a pretty big school and most people have an activity, or seven, which defines their college career – The Hatchet was mine.
Working at The Hatchet is definitely a job – there were many nights when I didn’t come home till after 3 a.m. It is stressful. I messed up, sometimes badly (sorry Roper and Kojo .). And I got paid, starting my freshman year.
In production I didn’t get to meet any celebrities or politicians. I have no press passes or bylines, although I do have about 100 anonymous front pages. Prodo is the behind the scenes work, but it is one of the few positions on staff where a freshman gets to make 2140 G Street their home.
Having a mailing address that let me bypass package services was just the beginning of what The Hatchet gave me. I had the townhouse where I ate, slept and just hung out. I got to go to two proms, four Thanksgivings, Ocean City and one epic trip to Bethesda to track down an alleged drug dealer (Roper takes his job very seriously).
I knew I was really a part of staff when Johnny and Ceasar duct-taped me to a desk chair and left me downstairs during a staff meeting. This is a place where affection is shown through the shit we give one another – and I was a part of it.
This didn’t end my freshman year. When, as a junior, I decided not to go abroad, the editorial board gave me a “thumbs up” in their monthly round-up. Talk about a place where I felt I belonged.
For me, working at The Hatchet was about the people.
There were my two first bosses: Sarah Brown who took me under her wing and gave me advice on everything from classes to roommates and Johnny Heinz, who helped me develop the tough skin it takes to be a member of The Hatchet.
There is Jake Sherman, who probably gave (and gives) me more crap than anyone else on staff, but who also always makes me feel appreciated. Tim, who played a variety of roles in my life: from masseuse to therapist to bodyguard on 2 a.m. walks home. Roper, whose biggest downfall is probably being too dedicated to The Hatchet. Alexa and Joanna were the first who bridged the gap for me between “Hatchet” and “real” friends. Jojo, from California to special projects, you’re someone I can always count on. Alexa-Lou, my party partner in crime and who had the fastest-ever transformation into a Hatchet geek.
The freshmen crew: Claire, Nick and Natalie, who gave me a sense of belonging to The Hatchet in our own right. Caitlin, who showed me that you can both be nice and be a good editor (who would have known?). Erica and Abnos, who I like to take credit for teaching even though I know they were already more talented than me when they joined staff. Howie, Aaron, Anna and Molly who are the true behind-the-scenes backbone of The Hatchet, and also some of the most fun people on staff.
Sam, there is actually no reason anyone from production needs to get to staff meeting an hour early – unless they are trying to get noticed by a certain someone. Thanks for putting up with my ridiculousness and, above all, being an amazing friend.
Hatchet kids do whatever it takes to put out a product that I am proud of twice a week. We may yell and scream and get a little burnt-out along the way – but at the end of the day these are the people who prepared me for the real world and gave me a pretty rocking college experience.
Although The Hatchet might be my defining college activity, it was not what defined college. I would be leaving out a big portion of college if I did not include the amazing collection of friends I met through everything not Hatchet related. From the sixth floor of HOVA to Ecuador to the Civil War, I am so glad I had my non-Hatchet experiences to introduce me to such a great group of friends.
Thank you especially to my roommates who put up with phone calls to the printer at ungodly hours of the night and knew every Hatchet person by name, even if they had never met them. And a special shout out (for the wedding book) to Emma, who probably isn’t the best roommate in Ivory, but is definitely one of the best friends.
Most of all I want to thank my family. Griff and Claire – I’m really lucky to have siblings I also consider friends. If I can take getting made fun of by you two, I can take it from anyone, and I mean that in only the most loving way. Mom and Dad, for always thinking so highly about everything I do, you’ve even convinced me some of the time. I love you. And Mom, I’m really glad you came with me to CI.
In the four years since CI all of us seniors have taken different paths and created different experiences for ourselves.?? I feel lucky that I had The Hatchet as mine.