Each year, graduating editors are given 30 final column inches – “30” was historically used to signify the end of a story – to reflect on their time at The Hatchet, published in the final issues of the year.
I’ve thought about this day for months. The day my Hatchet career would end. The day my Hatchet responsibilities would disappear. The day I could once again hang out with my friends Sunday and Wednesday nights, and at points, I wished it would come quicker.
But as I sat down to write this final column, my last piece in this paper, I didn’t feel a sense of relief or joy. Instead I thought about the past four years, the hundreds of stories I’ve been lucky enough to write, the thousands of moments that have come to define my time here at GW, and it finally became real that this is the end, that my time at The Hatchet would be over the second these words hit the newsstands, and I wanted to take all those thoughts back.
But, as this storied tradition goes, I get 30 final column inches to say goodbye, so bear with me here – I have a few final things I need to say.
As a faceless byline slapped onto more than 200 stories in this newspaper, it would be easy to assume that I don’t care about GW, its students or its faculty. That the negative stories my name is attached to represent a personal vendetta I have against the administration, faculty members and student leaders. It’d be easy to assume that because I’ve never been vocal about what I think about this University, that I don’t care about it.
It was my job as an assistant, campus and finally senior news editor that forbade me from showing any personal bias toward the people and departments I covered, and forced me to live the past four years as an outside observer of GW culture, rather than as an active participant.
So now that my time as a Hatcheteer is over, I can let you in on a secret that some of you who have read my stories over the past few years may never have guessed: I love GW.
From the second I visited campus way back in November 2005, I knew I wanted to come here. I applied early and never looked back.
Deciding to go to GW and joining The Hatchet were the best decisions I’ve made in my short lifetime. The past four years here have awarded me opportunities I never could have dreamed I’d experience by the age of 21, experiences I am eternally grateful for. The people I’ve met and the events I’ve lived through all wouldn’t have been possible had I chosen to go to school somewhere else, had I not stopped by 2140 G St. during CI, had my first editor Andrew Ramonas not put his blind trust into an awkward freshman with no reporting experience.
I wrote what I wrote because I truly believed it would make the University better. That’s what journalism is all about. It’s about accountability. It’s about showing those without access to information what’s going on and letting them determine for themselves whether or not to mobilize and spark change. It’s the stories that held people accountable for their actions and the stories that inspired people to make changes on campus that I’m most proud of.
Over the course of the past four years, I’ve learned so much about myself and other people. I’ve grown thick skin, I’ve gained confidence and I’ve made the best friends I ever could have asked for. I’m eternally grateful for the ride I’ve had.
That doesn’t mean I always loved every second of my time here. I did my fair share of complaining (sorry French) about the long hours, the lack of sleep, the lack of time to go out and have the ability to make poor decisions like the rest of my peers. But now that this four-year-long ride is coming to a sudden, abrupt end, I want to take it all back. For, as annoying as those sacrifices were in the moment, they are better than the thought of not being part of The Hatchet at all.
What I’ll miss most about this place is not the reporting – I’ll get to be a reporter for the rest of my life. Instead it’s the people I’ve been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to work with that I will sorely miss, and who I can’t leave this place without thanking.
Roper and Alexa: Thanks for hiring me during my sophomore year. Being a part of your staff was an honor, and it turned around what had otherwise been a rough year for me.
Scire: Your mentorship and constant pushing for perfection made me into the editor and reporter I am today. Thank you.
French: I’m sorry for all the complaining I did in your office during late production nights. You are the strongest person I’ve ever met, and you do your job with a confidence and grace that not many people could emulate. The Hatchet is lucky you’re staying on for another year.
Morgenstern: You far exceeded any expectations French and I had for you coming in. You had some of the most difficult stories to cover this year and you covered them well. You’re going places, I know it.
Amy D: You are one of the hardest working people at this paper, and were my veteran coming into the year. I don’t know what I would have done without you. I can’t wait for the invitation to your and Hari’s wedding.
Priya: Getting to watch you grow as a reporter and editor has been one of the most satisfying things for me. I can’t wait to come back and see your “What Would Cahn Do” poster you have hanging on the wall.
Andrea: Moving you over to the news staff was one of the best decisions French and I made. You do your work with a quiet confidence that commands the respect of others. I can’t wait to read your bylines from Malaysia.
Becky: I wouldn’t have survived long prodo nights without you. Our interesting topics of conversation never failed to make me laugh, and I’m so glad we got closer this year, even if that means I have to be friends with Louis too.
Louis: I not-so-secretly love your taunting. You make prodo nights fun. Stick shift.
Gabe: I’ll miss you, you yenta, and your Jewish grandpa impressions. America gained a great comrade this year.
Anne: First impressions aren’t always correct. I’m so glad to have become friends with you since that awkward Metro ride.
Traynor: Thanks for laughing at my immature jokes. You are a heck of a sports writer and a strong woman. I can’t wait to say I knew you way back when.
Justin: I’ll miss your corny questions. Never stop asking them.
Miranda: You’re the best friend I’ve ever had, and getting to bring you into my Hatchet life made for the greatest senior year I could have ever imagined. Thanks for always listening to my complaints about The Hatchet, even when I’m sure you couldn’t stand to hear another word of it. Your advice and friendship means the world to me.
To my non-Hatchet friends, Kelly, Husna and Joe: We’ve had some epic times over the past four years. I still laugh when I think about Zeds, the smelly hallway, Kelly’s hospital boot and the vacuum incident. I love you guys.
To Mom, Dad and Russ: None of this would have been possible without you. You are my best friends and my biggest cheerleaders. We’ve been through a whole heck of a lot together, and getting to see you in the audience at graduation will make it the proudest day of my life. I love you all so much.
Today is my 22nd birthday. It marks the start of a new year, and the end of the most amazing chapter of my life thus far. But, it’s my time to leave; all good things must come to an end at some point. To all the future Hatcheteers, hold your heads high and keep the University and its community accountable for its actions. And, most importantly, cherish your time at 2140 G; it’ll pass you by faster than you know. -30-
This article appeared in the April 25, 2011 issue of the Hatchet.