Each year, graduating editors receive a final 30 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 joined The Hatchet in the second half of my freshman year looking to try a different kind of writing. I didn’t know if I wanted to be a journalist; all I knew was that I wanted to write. At the time, I thought it would be something I would do when I felt like it. I never thought I would become a staff member.
Before my senior year, I wasn’t sure I wanted to be a sportswriter. I knew how much work that was, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to focus on that while I was trying to graduate. But I decided to challenge myself and try something new. In the end, I am happy to have made this choice. I’ve learned the value of what good journalism can do, and through the countless hours I’ve spent editing, my own writing has improved.
Working for The Hatchet has helped me develop a keener eye for my creative writing. It taught me to be concise and purposeful without sacrificing page space. It helped my stories flow better and identified what’s relevant and what’s not. You need to be honest with yourself and exercise restraint because you’ll lose your reader if you don’t. You have little time and space to make an impact and relay important information.
During my time as a journalist, I have greatly improved my interviewing skills. I became much better at asking the right kind of questions to evoke authentic and meaningful answers. Before, I hated the idea of interviewing people. I was shy and didn’t know how to talk to strangers. Interviewing people has helped me learn that everyone has a story to tell, and I can learn a lot from the people around me. I don’t need to live a different life to invent new stories and new characters. I just have to listen to what people say. It’s like a gift, a new approach to life. Now I can hear some things people are saying, and I already know there’s a bigger story to dig up. I don’t know if I would have thought that way about people and writing if I hadn’t dabbled in journalism.
As for what’s next, I’ll keep writing as much as I can in every form I can think of. I want to tell stories by any means possible. The Hatchet held me accountable for both the truth and the act of writing itself. As I move on to the next stage of my life, I can’t sit around waiting for the stories to write themselves. I have to reach for the notebook, the computer, the phone, the whiteboard, whatever, and write like I only have a limited amount of time to say what I want to say.
Here are the people who made my stay memorable:
Nouria: It has been a pleasure working with you for the past two years. I knew I could always count on you, even during times when our section seemed to shrink over the weeks or when we were struggling to put stories together. I’m proud of how you’ve continually evolved as a writer and look forward to seeing you lead the section yourself. If you ever need anything, I’m always a phone or text away.
Emily: I can’t thank you enough for all the time and patience you put into helping me become a better journalist and writer, even when I submitted stories that I knew weren’t my best. work. You helped me stay with The Hatchet even during times when I felt like quitting or stepping back. You always made me feel welcome. Thank you for believing in me and my work.
Will be: Thank you for always being consistent in your writing, for working here as long as you have, and for helping new journalists find their way. I’m glad you were there for my first semester as an editor. I don’t know what I would have done without you.
Sports section: I’m proud of the work we’ve done over the year and I’m delighted to see you all continue to do a good job. Thank you for sticking with the team even through the growing pains and times of struggle. While I know some of you might decide to follow a different path after I’m gone, I’m glad I spent my time here with you and hope I helped you become better writers. I wish you happiness and success in whatever you choose to do.
Rohan: You were one of the first friends I made at The Hatchet. I learned a lot working on the pace of women’s basketball alongside you, and I wouldn’t trade anything for those late nights we spent blogging games together. I look forward to seeing where you end up and battling in fantasy football year after year. Go bills!
Shreya: I know our sections haven’t interacted much, but thanks for just being a friend. I always came out of our conversations feeling better about my life choices or more aware of what it means to be human. I look forward to seeing you write both creatively and professionally, and hope we can stay connected as we enter the next stage of our lives.
All the people I interviewed: Thank you for taking the time to talk to me, even when I was asking questions that you may or may not be a fan of. Each of you has enriched my view of the world in ways you can’t even imagine. I hope you’ll come to see me as more than just a journalist if our paths cross again.