So I guess this is how it ends.
Thirty column inches and my four-year adventure in college journalism is over. And as I sit down to write this, I’m fairly sure this piece will fail to grasp what The Hatchet has come to mean to me.
Before I get too nostalgic, I desperately need to tell this newspaper’s staff something I regret not telling them every day: Thank you. Thank you for being the most dedicated, inspiring group of people I have ever met. Thank you for sacrificing your college careers to produce this amazing paper. But thank you especially for putting up with me for so long, through good times and bad.
I wish I could go back in time and tell you that every step of the way, because I know I didn’t. And sadly, now that I’m leaving, I can’t imagine life without you all. You helped me so much more than I helped you.
If these farewell columns show anything, it’s that everyone’s Hatchet story begins differently. Mine began freshman year, when I was a naive 18-year-old who had just spent too many hours working for his high school radio station. I vividly recall writing those first stories hunched over my desk in Thurston Hall on Friday nights, dodging my roommates as they spilled liquor on my keyboard and my editor as he called me about missing deadlines.
And gradually, what started as a hobby became my entire life. Over time I devoted almost every waking moment to this paper, both physically and mentally – not to mention countless sleepless hours. In return, The Hatchet gave me immense, sometimes overwhelming responsibility. It threw me out of my comfort zone day after day, and taught me to be persistent and tough when the situation required. Few institutions on this campus are as vital and none as categorically real.
On top of all the journalism, I’m thankful I finally got to be a part of a tight-knit group at GW, especially after trying so hard to transfer my freshman year. I never thought I’d take so much pleasure in half-price pizza with friends, driving to a rundown motel on the Maryland shore or even attending two bizarre Hatchet proms. The Hatchet introduced me to the people I never thought I would find at this school.
And it was those people I met along the way, the people who became my friends and mentors, who made the experience unforgettable. In all honesty, it is because of them that I now leave this school so reluctantly.
Alexa – Time and again you exuded grace and enthusiasm when no one else could and kept me grounded when I needed it most. I know I never show it, but I’m going to miss you a lot when you’re gone next year. I appreciate your friendship more than you know.
Byers – Alexa and I decided to promote you to metro news editor after racking our brains for hours over beers at Tonic – which says a lot of positive things about beer. You’ve shown me in recent weeks that you are going to be a fantastic editor in chief. Remember to tell your staff how much you appreciate them. It will make your life a lot easier and the paper a lot better.
Jake – You showed me how to be tough, a lesson I won’t soon forget. You also showed me that The Hatchet is nothing less than a professional operation and made me strive to keep it at that level. Your example and help has made me want to be a career journalist. P.S. You’re going to make some girl mildly happy one day.
Ceasar – You taught me how to write and helped me produce what I consider to be my best work. Don’t get corrupted by politics, stick to coordinating motorcades.
Jess – I’m really glad we’ve kept in touch, though please stop sending me e-mails about the death of newspapers (I’m trying not to think about it).
Kojo – You were simultaneously both an editor and a friend, a rare quality which I’ll always remember.
Natalie – I once joked that a large part of your job is convincing me that everything’s OK, regardless of whatever demonstration of Murphy’s Law is occurring downstairs. I know you do so much more, but you were always a rock when I needed it – and the polished final product continues to amaze me.
Erica – Don’t make everyone wear Snuggies next year, we’re cultish enough as it is. That being said, I know you’re going to do a great job.
Amanda – I never would have guessed that hiring you would be one of the best decisions I ever made as editor in chief. You transformed the arts section this year, and your jokes brightened the darkest of days. One might call this entire article rather post-ironic. No?
Diana – I’m not sure there’s much difference between defending freshman columnists in my office and criminals in a courtroom, so you’ll be a great lawyer. Just remember the whole nose-down-and-to-the-side trick.
Nat – You were a reliable friend and great editor, though I worry you tell too many dirty jokes to have a future in politics.
Scire – You’ve got what it takes. As a reporter, you know how to hold them accountable and you’re not afraid to be cutthroat. Keep being persistent next year, the school will be better for it.
Emily – You’re better than the fake politicians you cover. Remember that.
COPY!!!! – Oh, there you are. Thanks for listening to my rants and not moving downstairs.
Ramonas – My first real friend at The Hatchet and my only Hatchet roommate. I really hope we stay in touch.
Abnos – You are talented in so many ways – design, writing, music. I’m confident that I will brag one day to my co-workers at Denny’s, “Can you believe that I was once that guy’s boss?”
Alberg – A great writer who could always find the human side in sports. You’re one of the funniest people I know. Please don’t let law school suck that out of you.
Viktors – Thanks for all the high fives.
Nacin – A line from “All The President’s Men” comes to mind: “I don’t mind what you did. I mind how you did it.” You have an immense command over the “series of tubes” that is going to make you incredibly successful one day.
Tim – We had our ups and downs, but I’m genuinely happy we ended on a positive note. That’s also a good thing considering you’ll probably be running the world one day.
Howie – What a great partner in crime (or complete lack thereof). If we didn’t have you, the paper wouldn’t be afloat, and not enough people realize that. Please send some of that bacon chocolate to wherever I end up. Molly, Anna, Arron and the rest of the B-Crew – Few people, even in our own office, understand how vital you are to this operation. Thanks for doing what you do.
Kyle – I’m glad we got to be friends. I’ll miss your knack for self-deprecating humor and double entendres.
Joanna – You hate talking about that time we walked around FSK searching for basketball players, but I know you’re going to laugh about it some day (I do all the time).
Nick – I know one day you will reach your goal of being a White House photographer.
Julie – I love you so much. Few had to endure what you did. Your smile is contagious and your free spirit always reminded me that there’s more to life than newspapers. You are a rare gem and I’ll always cherish our time together.
Mom and Dad – Who knew four years ago that all this would happen? You guys have supported me in all of my crazy endeavors, an effort which I largely took for granted. Anyone would be lucky to have such great parents. I love you.
There is so much more to say, but my time is up. I’ll never forget what we did here.
This article appeared in the April 30, 2009 issue of the Hatchet.