Lisa Miller: Finding love in a Hatchet place

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.

Dear Hatchet,

They say you find love when you’re least expecting it.

I was an unsuspecting sophomore when you came into my life. A self-proclaimed sorority biddie in the midst of a second-year slump, I decided to reply to an ad for grammar-savvy copy editor hopefuls.

“Do you like to have fun? Enjoy late nights? Can you name the AP abbreviations for all 50 states?” the advertisement read, or something in that vein. The answer to all those questions was resoundingly: Yes. So I replied.

A few dates (interviews) later, I was yours (hired).

At first, I wasn’t sure what to make of you, Hatchet. I’ll admit I felt out of place. Your friends seemed effortlessly cool. They had a strange yet hilarious sense of humor. Your townhouse was brimming with random shit – adorably cluttered and radiating character. There was never a shortage of snacks or baked goods. Someone was perpetually asleep on your couch.

But despite all these quirks, before I knew it, you and I were inseparable. You took up all my free time. You kept me awake all night long, into the early hours of morning. When things went well, I loved you. And when things went awry – the sudden development of breaking news or an InCopy crash – I wondered if you were worth it.

Suddenly, your friends were my friends. Your words were my words. You and I were indefinitely intertwined. I was Lisa Miller: Hatchet editor. I had found meaning. I had found passion.

Then came time for my semester abroad. I debated leaving you, Hatchet. I pondered the pros and cons. I worried that if I left, you’d replace me and never want me back.

I went to Italy and we kept in touch. I read you every week. I stayed connected through social media and Skype. As my time away from you progressed, I realized more and more how much I missed our caffeine-fueled late nights, our nerdy debates over dangling modifiers, our passionate renditions of Broadway showtunes.

I came back from studying abroad and we had a renewed connection. As your features editor, my love for you grew and changed and though we had our ups and downs, it was always my goal first and foremost to make you proud.

Hatchet, you were the great love of my college years. You changed my life. You swept me off my feet and into the fast-paced, exhilarating world of journalism. You brought me friends, memories, and an endless supply of coffee and French fries.

But, my love, all good things must come to an end. Time will march onward. New editors will fall in love with you, and you, with them. I’m confident we will both find happiness.

Take solace in knowing you were my first true love. I’ll miss you. I’ll visit soon. I know we’ll always be friends.

Truly though, The Hatchet has been more than my pseudo-boyfriend over the past two and a half years. My love for this paper grew from the incredible amalgam of personalities that make up its staff. Here’s looking at you, kids:

Priya – You took a huge leap of faith when you made me features editor, but I’m so grateful you did. Thank you for sharing my love of all things spicy and caffeinated. I consider baking those pumpkin squares one of the best decisions of my life. You have led this paper with grace and poise and I’m incredibly proud to have called you my editor in chief. I know I’ll always be able to count on you to get food and have nerdy chats with me.

Cory – There are great, great things ahead for you. You are one of the most innovative, smart and relentlessly passionate people I know. Though next year you’ll be at The Hatchet’s helm, to me you’ll always be that freshman production designer who sang “RENT” and “Wicked” duets with me at 3 a.m. Stay spirited and stay awesome.

Amanda – I have always admired your ability to be both hilarious and profound at the exact same time. Thank you for witnessing and encouraging my addictions to Tetris, weird reality TV and late night snacking. There is no one else I would have rather spent countless loopy, late night hours discussing everything and anything with. I know, I know, I just ended that sentence on a preposition.

Jordan – Jay-Z-Mont. You were the first person from The Hatchet to friend me on Facebook when I joined staff. Thank you for being one of the kindest, most welcoming people I have ever met. Visit me in the city next year and we’ll have another Jeopardy party.

Traynor – My biddie-partner-in-crime, what can I say? I’m so glad we had the chance to bond this year. I’ve be consistently awed by how passionate you are about everything you do, how you can make the most unremarkable sporting event seem riveting and how fiercely loyal you are to your friends. I can’t wait to see what you do in the future.

Allison – Thank you, thank you, thank you. I’m not sure I’ve said that enough over the past few years. Thank you for printing my page. Thank you for designing it. Thank you for being snarky. Thank you for letting me eat your food. Thank you for listening to my crazy stories and rehashing my Saturday nights and calling me out on my biddiness and being such a fun person to spend far too many hours around.

Josh & Karolina – I would never have been able to survive this year without you two. Jperlz, I missed you (and Just Joshin’) tons this semester. Next year, I know you’ll do great things for the development of the paper. Karolina, you have already proved to be an incredible features editor. Take advantage of every opportunity this crazy, awesome job provides you with and never stop writing about music. You’re so good at it. I know you’ll be a great editor for Olivia and Allison. I wish you all the best of luck and I’m here for you if you ever need me.

Ermey – If it weren’t for you going abroad in the fall of junior year, I’d probably never have been on staff. And if it weren’t for me going abroad in the spring of junior you, you’d probably never have been on staff. So really, we have each other to thank for all of this. I’m glad we finally got to hang outside the many English classes we’ve shared over the years. Your sense of humor is epic. Your Jeopardy skills are mighty fine.

Gabe – Gabriel, Gabriel. You are genuinely one of the funniest people I know. Those voices you do… your musical renditions… your fearlessness in expressing your unedited opinions. You’ve never ceased to make me laugh, so thank you. Please stay in touch. If you pursue a career in comedy, I’ll always be your number one fan.

French – if you’re reading this, hi! I was terrified of you when I came on staff but that terror soon turned into admiration and friendship. Your humor and energy made those late nights of copy editing totally worth it.I’ll always appreciate your confidence in me.

To all the editors who came before me, to all those I worked with in volumes 108 & 109 – thank you for devoting your time and energy to this paper. It’s a group effort, only as strong as it’s weakest link and thanks to you all we’ve proved to be a relentless and resilient bunch.

To my writers – Thank you for being brilliant and always on top of your game. You are the eyes and ears of this campus and have told incredible stories this year. Stay inquisitive.

To all my friends, thank you for putting up with the crazy, workaholicness that comes along with being a Hatchet editor. Paige, Marisa, Allison, Kristen – you all collectively have provided me with unparalleled love and support over the past four years. Sarah, you’ve always been my cheerleader from afar, my voice of reason and my reliable reality check – I’m so glad to have had you in my life for so long.

To my family — Mom, thank you for answering my frantic phone calls, for sending me the best care packages and for shamelessly promoting my successes to everyone you meet. Dad, thank you for being there for me always, for putting your humor to use at the perfect moments, and for still referring to my school’s mascot as “the colonels.” Robin, you are somehow the wiser and cooler of the two of us. I’ll always edit your papers as long as you let me steal your clothes. Deal? Alisha, you are my rock. Thank you for our hour-long phone calls, for letting me loaf around your house, for talking me out of my craziness and for talking me into some of the smartest decisions I’ve made.

There’s a certain fondness you hold for your first love, and it’s a fondness I undoubtedly have for this paper and this staff. I’m forever grateful for all of it, for all of you. Thank you for finding me when I least expected it. –30–

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