Grace Koçlar: Saying goodbye is all too easy

Media Credit: Desiree Halpern | Photo Editor

Media Credit: Desiree Halpern | Photo Editor

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.

When I found out I had to write something for The Hatchet, as trivial as it may be to many people, I freaked. I don’t produce content – I edit it. Nevertheless, here I am, and I’m more worried about how to say my goodbye than the goodbye itself. The goodbye is easy. I always know it’s coming. But making sure I say them sufficiently? That’s hard. Welcome to the life of a TCK – a Third Culture Kid. TCKs are defined as people who were raised in a culture outside of their parents’ culture for a significant portion of their developmental years.

I was born in the U.S. to an American mother and a Turkish-born father, moved to Italy for four years, Honduras for one year, Russia for one year, back to the U.S. for four, India for five, England for a little more than two, and now I’m headed back to India. To add more confusion to the equation, my dad lives in Indonesia, so I choose visiting my mum, my dad, or taking an inordinate amount of flights and seeing both. Is it fun? Yes. Do I enjoy it? Absolutely. Would I ever trade it for staying in one place? No. But, it is something I’ve considered.

Saying goodbye is something to which I’ve grown grossly accustomed. “I’ll see you again, don’t worry.” “I plan on coming back soon, I promise!” “We’ll have a reunion before you know it.” Deep in our hearts, we know these aren’t true – we won’t actually see you again and, if we do, then it’s maybe once or twice early on and we fade out. As an article that I’ve recently come to love stated, “The problem with our constant state of transit is that we not only travel through places, but we travel through lives. We leave behind not only physical landmasses, but also groups of people that continue their own lives without us.”

What makes me nervous is that this will again be the case for my Hatchet and GW life. The people at The Hatchet, though low-key crazy and slightly intimidating for their journalistic prowess, are some of the kindest, funniest, most intelligent people I’ve had the honor of meeting. And how do I say goodbye to that, knowing that I’ll be a good 7,480 miles away from them? I’m going to try, but guys, there’s nothing I could ever say that will fully show my gratitude for the home everyone has given me here.

Brandon: Saying “goodbye” to you is the worst: It feels as though I’m losing my partner in crime – the only one who sets me on edge but simultaneously can keep me sane – a shaky word, but sane nonetheless. I have so much admiration for your skill and your enthusiasm for learning a range of topics and for learning them deeply. I have always been enthusiastic about grammar (nerd), but you have this ability to teach me something new every day. You instill this confidence in me that has translated to my everyday life and has made me the editor I am today. But even more than this, I respect you as a person who has given me new ways to think about life and perspectives on politics – despite our clearly different viewpoints on, might I say, very weird topics. I will always think about you when the “i-word” comes up. You are strangely wonderful and I’ve enjoyed every single prodo we’ve gone through together. You’ve taught me more than I could have hoped and you’ve been the perfect team partner for my copy experience. As middle-school-yearbook as this sounds, ~never change~. Your odd sense of humour, questionable ethics (not really, but maybe a little), and indubitable love for your friends have been some of the things I love most about you. Having you as an editor has been a blessing and you’ve gotten me through an experience where I thought I was starting out alone. I have all the faith in the world in you because, no matter what, I know you will be passionate in what you do. You are one of those people I will always remember and look back on with fond memories when I’m senile and decrepit. I also really wish I had more words in here that are spelled the British way just so I could annoy you in print for the rest of time. Thank you for everything, my dear. (P.S. I will always remember when I freaked out at you that the Subway guy tried to touch my new tattoo and you asked me what kind of sandwich I got. For some reason, that was the moment where Hatchet clicked as a home for me.)

Colleen: Naturally, you are someone to whom so many people give their thanks. We knew each other briefly freshman year – and what a ride that was – but I’m so thankful that I had this opportunity to get to know you in a different light and see you in your element. I always knew you’d make it big on The Hatchet – it just made sense for you – but I’m rightfully impressed and in awe of your ability to understand the needs of everyone and keep your sanity with such a heavy workload. We both know my AP style knowledge was severely lacking at the onset of my Hatchet experience, but you continuously encouraged me to be a better, stronger editor. Your affinity for pyramids has always eluded me, but that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate your child-like spirit in the townhouse when you come to visit us up on the third floor. I have had such a great time working with you this year and I appreciate all the help and guidance you’ve given me throughout this volume.

Sarah: You are quite literally the reason I joined The Hatchet. Your Facebook post read: Do you like grammar? Then apply for this position at The Hatchet! And all I could think was, “Yes, I do love grammar.” And here I am, trying to express my gratitude. Throughout the first few months when I was still my awkward newcomer self, you were always right there next to me, sitting at the Ops table. I could count on you being there every prodo: Your presence provided me the confidence to be more open and let myself be part of that third floor vibe. I’m proud of the pieces you’ve produced as well as your work ethic – never buckling under the pressure to readers who don’t agree with you and standing strong with your writers. And let’s not forget our memorable Alt Breaks trip to Alabama together – how cute that you were in SpOps. You’ve been a lovely person to have by my side throughout this entire experience, so thank you.

Des: Hey girl hey. You are one of the most genuinely kind people I know and it has always lightened my mood to be around you. You have this amazing ability that few people possess to make those near you feel at ease regardless of the situation. Thanks for indulging my rants about my language classes – and for loving language just as much as I do. You have a great spirit about you that will allow you to connect with anyone everywhere – from your travels to places like Armenia to your ability to pick up languages and connect with people on their level. I love our (sadly) short-lived exchange of baby goat videos. I’m so excited for what’s to come for you because you deserve the best. I’ll be following your adventures at Columbia with the utmost enthusiasm.

Melissa: Thanks for being my prom date and being awkward Hatchet rookies together. I’m glad that you were by my side to help ease the transition into Hatchet life. I’m excited for what you’ll do with Ops and to read the pieces you produce with your team. I’ll be sad when you have your new Hatchet prom date and will watch jealously from afar. It’s ok. I’m not bitter or anything.

Sam: I have never met someone so obsessed with black and death, but it works. It sounds so elementary to say, but you are so, so funny. Honestly, a hoot. And your, um, enthusiasm for following all news regarding One Direction never ceases to make me laugh. And I both love and appreciate your incessant nudging at Brandon to actually do his work – a true miracle when he lets you place articles. Thank you for being a part of my Hatchet life and for your dedication every Sunday – one of the very few staying until the end.

Katie: You led by example in how to “deal” with Brandon when you don’t fully understand what he’s even trying to say (sorry, Brandon). Thank you for connecting with me on a Disney level and answering all of my LGBTQ questions – I’ve always felt comfortable enough to come to you and admit ignorance in certain situations. I appreciate that you always treated it with sensitivity.

Zach: Thanks for being weird. Your fake grumpiness is what I look forward to because I know it’s just a show for how much you love all of us and this paper. I really enjoy your transition to the third floor, finally understanding that it’s clearly the best floor in the townhouse. You carry this paper on your back and I hope you know how much I – and I’m sure the rest of our staff – appreciate it. This paper wouldn’t exist without you, and that is something I don’t take for granted.

Ellie: You will rock this, love. You are incredibly strong and ambitious and have already proven yourself to be more than capable of running this paper. I know you will make it your own and create a home for everyone on staff for Vol. 113. Your beautiful disposition has made approaching you easy and working with you fun. I know you don’t need it, but good luck.

To my non-Hatchet friends: You are all so amazing for understanding that I can never see you on Sundays and that I get a bit snappy Wednesday nights when I’m trying to focus on my work but maintain a conversation at the same time.

Karley: My time at GW would be nothing without you. You are my rock and you’ve made our dorm a home to which I love coming back. Even though you’ve told me to quit Hatchet numerous times so that we could have our Sundays together, you’ve been undoubtedly one of my biggest supporters. Leaving you is going to be one of the hardest things I do.

Lian: Meeting you this year has been both a curse and a blessing: We’ve become like sisters, but we only had one year together. I appreciate the devotion you have to all of your friends – you truly are so loyal and so loving.

Tural: My best friend fake boyfriend. What a run we have had. All four years at GW, I knew I could rely on you – even in our rough times. I am so grateful for your friendship and your selflessness, and I can’t believe our time together on campus has run its course. I am so proud of all you have accomplished and who you’ve become.

My family: Thank you for supporting me throughout this university endeavour, making sure I actually get through it. I owe my entire experience at GW to you all. I know it hasn’t been easy with us being continents apart, but your love and dedication have made this whole thing worthwhile. Here’s to (hopefully) graduating and finally become a real-life adult.

And thank you once again, my Hatchet friends, for your friendship and commitment. It has never gone unnoticed and will always be remembered.

Hopefully my goodbyes aren’t actually goodbyes.

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