I doubt I’ve gotten any ledes right the first time. Most of the time, I don’t get it right on the second, third or fourth tries either.
At some point, though, the deadline comes and you let the article go, hoping your last version was your best.
I suspect that even if I could publish a hundred versions of my 30-piece, I would never be able to capture how quickly, and completely, this newspaper became my entire life. It’s time to “let go” though – my deadline is looming – so I’ll try and write down some final thoughts.
When I was hired as campus news editor at the end of my sophomore year, I had written just over two dozen stories. I literally didn’t know what days a week we published before I was on staff but buried myself in the work and soon started walking around like I owned the place. I tend to over-commit myself – in part because I have a half-dozen ideas about what I want to do with my life at a time – but “getting the story,” and the next, soon became my priority. Maybe I should have learned to say “no” to an assignment once in a while (I can see my friends and parents vigorously nodding at this point) but I was hooked.
The Hatchet is an exhilarating place to work. Every day, and every story, has been different than the last. I have written about all aspects of student life, covered drugs and assaults in D.C. courts, jumped into elevators with sources for one last question, had stories picked up by national media, wrote an enterprise piece, spoke with the first lady at the White House, helped see stories the GW community wouldn’t see anywhere else published, and more.
It’s surreal, knowing every word I’m writing here will be printed 12,500 times over in paper and ink tomorrow morning, punctuating the end of my Hatchet days.
I wish I could say more about why I devoted so much time here, how important it is to me to balance out the ever-expanding public relations efforts for the GW community. I could definitely use more space to say how surreal and gut-wrenching it is to turn the page on a job that has been my pride and joy, caused plenty of yelling matches and tears, and was the education of a lifetime. And I’d need a whole other 30-piece to begin to satisfactorily thank and remember this group of talented, hardworking Hatcheteers who loved me at my very best and my very worst.
I’m not often at a loss for words, but right now, I can only say: it was far from perfect, but I wouldn’t rewrite my history here for anything.
We write 30-pieces at The Hatchet for a variety of reasons – vanity, tradition, closure – but we treasure them for one: It’s a chance to tell our fellow editors how we grew to love them like family. We spend the majority of time asking, or more often yelling, less family-friendly variations of the following: “Are you kidding me with this article/photo/whatever!?” So this is my chance to say thank you, love you, and told you so.
+Byers, you’re a natural leader with inspiring honesty, patience and thoughtfulness. You marvel at how much Wingos and Super Tacos I can eat, I marvel at your focus and how often you’ve been right this year. I look forward to being friends when the time comes around that your face no longer reminds me of 15-hour production days. And you stop dressing in colors that should be reserved solely for Easter paraphernalia and sherbet.
+News, congrats on making it through this year with me as your imperfect, impatient superior. Cahn, with one semester of editing under your belt, you were my veteran at the beginning of the year. I will never apologize for not letting you rest on your (considerable) natural talent, especially because you know I think you’re capable of big things. This new staff is lucky to have someone as quick-thinking and dedicated as you at the news reigns. Amy, I’m confident you’ll continue to be dependably hard-working as metro editor. You are super witty (skiing double) and should show it off more. Amanda, you are probably the only Hatchet editor ever to make it through a year without, literally, a single complaint. Just hearing your sunny voice was often enough to make me smile and laugh. Hadas, our paths have intertwined often, from Gellhorn to Sigma Kappa. Much to the delight of our alpha female egos, our power dynamics always found a way to come full circle. You radiate confidence and people can’t help but seek your attention and approval – including me.
+To the wunderkind that is Lauren French, I am so incredibly proud of you. You exceeded my sky-high expectations again and again, with an ingenuity and composure beyond your years. You’re one of the hardest workers I know, your journalistic instincts are rock-solid, and best yet, you’ve always been able to inspire the best in the Hatcheteers around you. I’ve always secretly loved your constant pestering, so don’t ever stop.
+I wondered for a second what I’ll do without twice-a-week doses of Dan Greene before immediately concluding we will continue to hang out, even if it means I have to watch an unsettling WWE clip or two. Dan, in addition to being the most talented writer I know, you’re one of my favorite friend-finds at the paper and I hope you’ll never be too famous to defy gravity with me. Louis, I like you, too.
+Team Copy, you are the perfect mix of snarky and sweet. Anna, merci beaucoup for tolerating, even encouraging, the Glee obsession. Rachel, you are passionate, intelligent and superbly well-dressed. You should have been an editor long ago. I’m a little sad we only found each other near the end of four years here.
+I have to mention a few more people and things that made my time here at the paper unforgettable: the Bad News Bears, the legendarily inextinguishable Tim Gowa (who is my match in more ways than either of us would like to admit), Gelman’s 24-hour Starbucks, Justin’s hats, Lyndsey (my twin, only well-behaved and nice), the thankless prodo people who bring this paper together (especially Connor and Rachel), peanut M&Ms, the beautiful Michelle (your hard work and incredible photos never go unnoticed), and dailypuppy.com.
+To every editor who ever took the time to give me feedback and help, including Alexa, Ramonas, Sherman, Jess Calefati, Ceasar, and Kaitlyn Jahrling, thank you.
+Roper, easily the most influential person in my Hatchet career, seeking your respect was a constant, but frequently fruitless, quest of mine. Thank you for being patient with the self-righteous sophomore who sent you countless e-mails about your every edit. Thank you too for challenging me with everything from an enterprise piece to court dates with an allegedly violent SA senator and for teaching me the craft you love and know so well. Meow!
+Viktors, you have a singular ability to make me happy in even my worst moods. I love you.
+A heartfelt shoutout to those who kept me tethered, however precariously, to the real world during my time at The Hatchet, especially Zoe, Dani, Shannon, Beth, Kira and my SK sisters. Thank you for being loyal and understanding, even as you were telling me to just quit already.
+Finally, the biggest thank you to my family. Joey, you’re my favorite brother and I know you’ll be successful no matter which college you choose. Mom and Dad, you gave me my love of reading, the opportunity to go to any school I’d like, and more encouragement and support any daughter could ever ask for. Most importantly, you gave me the inspiration to be good at something that changes the world for the better. -30-