Rachel Lee: Sorry I’m not sorry for the best four years

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.

This came so much sooner than I ever expected.

Days ago, I was finishing my thesis for a major I never expected to have, working, searching for a cat for this photo – failed – and wondering when I even had time to write this. I was bitterly resentful of the broken fast-forward button that somehow put me here.

Time has literally flown. I strolled up to The Hatchet table at the Colonial Inauguration student fair four years ago, thinking that four years would be an eternity. I knew that I was going to find a way to work on the school newspaper, hopefully designing it.

What I would soon realize is that it was one of the best decisions I ever made.

I still cannot comprehend how so many incredibly talented and impossibly dedicated people have produced 236 issues since that time. It is mind-boggling to think back on the time spent with those people.

Within weeks of starting freshman year, I was training as a production assistant. I sat downstairs in 2140 G and began learning the wondrous world of InCopy and workflows. I didn’t know anyone on staff and did not even have another freshman partner-in-awkwardness.

I stopped worrying very quickly because the staff was so welcoming and friendly. I got to know them – to understand their jokes, quirks and dynamics. Coming on to staff and growing comfortable with others is nearly inevitable – you see them almost as much as your roommates – especially if later, they become your roommates.

On production days, the more I saw, learned and practiced, the more I loved designing. I still do and always will, regardless of where my career path leads.

Gradually, I became used to the weekly pattern of losing all free time Wednesdays and Sundays, avoiding early classes Mondays and Thursdays and eating at the GW Deli an infinite number of times, because it’s the closest place. It was a routine – to be sure – but a comforting one.

After five semesters on prodo and eventually becoming production manager, I went abroad for a semester. When I returned this year, it was to a different role on staff: special issues editor. I both edited and designed the special issues, and reviewed them on prodo days as well, so each one was time-consuming. I challenged myself to be more creative than ever with designs, and ultimately seeing a polished final product to be proud of was rewarding.

I had joined The Hatchet expecting to happily churn out page designs forever. Then suddenly I had my first byline, and found myself working with writers, editing, proofreading – and I enjoyed it. I appreciate immensely the skills that both roles have given me.

Secretly, though, I am still a designer at heart. I’ll never fully leave behind the semi-unstable office chair parked in front of a prodo computer.

I don’t regret a single minute of my time on staff, or any other way I have spent my time at GW. For the inordinate amount of hours I spent at The Hatchet, sorry I’m not sorry.

There is no way to adequately address here exactly what four staffs of The Hatchet, outside friends and family have meant to me. So here’s one sorry: for half-assing all the thanks I wish I could give. I would need another whole thesis to do them justice.

To Natalie, Erica and Abnos – Prodo was a microcosm of my first feeling at home with The Hatchet in general, and that’s entirely thanks to you guys and your amazing work. I could never have hoped to learn half of anything I know now without such talented mentors and friends.

Natalie – I think I got all the sass I have from you, since you first proved that it could come in small packages and rule over everyone else (even Roper). I always admired you for knowing everything and somehow having the patience to impart it to others.

Erica – You and I had quite a ride together, and did it all alone more than a couple of times. And I’m not referring to anything inappropriate, or that time we were both Britney Spears (although that was hot). The townhouse isn’t the same without your bright, smiling and laughing self, but I count our prodo nights together as some of the best memories.

Abnos – You were the first friendly face I talked to at the CI student org fair, so thank you for your warm welcome. It hasn’t been quite as fun since your talented page designs, random outbursts and joke headlines left 2140.

Justin and Tim – Thank you for both being, at various times, many things: jokesters, friends, great listeners, understanding and sassy people and definitely also good talkers. I don’t think either of you fully realize what a stabilizing and positive force you were for so many people on staff. But I’ll never forgive your incessant jabs about my slow eating habits.

French – Your ability to continue such a high caliber of work with endless energy for not one, but two years, is something that will always astound me. Your own work, as well as pushing two staffs to produce their best work, has resulted in a great product. I can’t believe we are here now, but congrats on finishing one hell of a two-year run. I imagine you have done so while secretly watching more cute videos of baby animals than you let on.

Allison, Cory, Lauren and Madeline – You all have done amazing things above and beyond what any previous prodo team has. Plus, there could not be anyone more of a joy for staff to work with. I know they like your tunes. Allison – Keep up the amazing work. I know that you will always be exactly as great as you want to be. Cory – I’m still sad prodo couldn’t keep you, but The Hatchet will always benefit no matter which team you work for.

Teams photo and multimedia – I am at a loss for words at how consistently visually stunning your work truly is. I’ve seen work in past years, recent years and a combination of the above, and couldn’t begin to compliment you all individually. I would actually need a novel to thank so many of the very most talented individuals I know.

Michelle – In particular, you are amazing. Time and time again you have proved that talent, kindness and kicking ass are your M.O. Never change.

Doug – I simply must have your friendship always, for the “meows,” and because you are one of the best people I know. I can haz?

Connor – I don’t care what anyone says, I take all the credit for hiring you to staff for prodo. Therefore, I saved the Internet by proxy. You are great, and please never stop laughing.

718 – My heart has stretched a million times since you all became friends in my life. Everything is simply happier with you guys around, and I simultaneously respect you and love you more than I ever thought possible. Lyndsey – Our friendship is one of the best things The Hatchet has given me. You have killed it at every role you’ve taken on, and made working here a pleasure for others. Wherever we are in the future, if it includes Bernie-ing and whale-speaking, I wouldn’t hate it. Annu – Hatcheteers are lucky for being so very well-developed next year, I know it. So does #linda. I love you, our friendship and our constant laughter endlessly. You are my sunshine. Priya – You will be stellar next year. Don’t ever forget your wonderful passion: It’s the best tool to keep in your belt – besides maybe a portable coffee maker.

To anyone who has ever been an anchor for me outside of The Hatchet – you know who you are, and I could never thank you enough. One “rock” for most people is probably enough, but I’ve been fortunate to have many. Thank you in particular to Alex Feigin – I’m so happy we found our friendship in London. To Mom, Dad and the rest of the fam – your support has never faltered, and your encouragement means more than you know. I love you.

I have never, and never will, regret any happy memories from the last four years. An unbelievable amount of them are related to The Hatchet.

Sorry I’m not sorry. YOHO: You Only Hatchet Once. I’m so glad I did. -30-

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