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The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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Kaitlyn Jahrling: From the end to the beginning

I’ve realized that as my time at GW passed, each moment was more important than the last. I attribute this correlation to deeper relationships, increased responsibility and forceful introspection. So in the spirit of a purist news article – here is my “inverted pyramid” reflection, which ends up being more like that “backward” episode of Seinfeld.

Most importantly: Friends should always come first (after God and family), but a true friend will want the best for you. A true friend will be willing to visit you no matter where you end up. A true friend will still talk to you even if you sell your soul to The Hatchet (I love you Sarah!).

No matter what insanely bizarre problems you have, there are people with the same problems, trust me. I learned from the Virginia Tech tragedy that things can always get worse but that God is ultimately forgiving. My amazingly supportive and loving family has a mantra, “God only gives you what He knows you can handle,” and I have never found that to be a falsity.

At the risk of further exploiting an event that has been ripped to shreds by media sensationalism, Virginia Tech really did affect me in a profound way. Before I could even read the headlines that day, I saw that my brother had left me an instant message at about 10 a.m.: “I don’t know if you’ve heard but there’s a hell of a story down here.” I read the message at 12:15 p.m., but I didn’t understand the message until I relayed it to my father after listening to him frantically ramble for two minutes. I was apparently the first in my family to hear from Blacksburg.

I didn’t know it before April 16, but this semester my brother has a class in the building next to Norris Hall every Monday. I was frantically working on my thesis that morning and turned my phone off to concentrate. After powering it up I found more messages than even a Hatchet editor should have on a Monday morning. While I listened to the messages my pace quickened to a sprint. “Why was everyone asking me if my brother was alright?” I thought. When I entered my dorm room I leapt to the computer, but before I could read the news I found the best instant message.

Many thanks to my family for being, well, my family. I know I can be really bossy sometimes so simply sticking around is praiseworthy. Shana – you truly are my angel. Dad – you really are a hero. Through every bout of bad news you two are my rock.

For all of my friends, I hope you still consider me a friend after this year.

My roommates deserve special thanks for living with a Hatchet junkie. They’ve endured two semesters of my sometimes-frantic demeanor, the “organized chaos” that is my desk, waking up to find me on the couch – again, five weeks of Lord-knows what kind of disease, “Kojo” screams that have left them deaf, and much, much more. I wish I could expand but I am very conscious that this will end up on the Internet. If you know me, you know what I’m saying. Liztacular – Your random notes of encouragement are always a pick-me-up. Laura – my love for you could fill this whole article.

Ceasar – since you didn’t get to write your own 30 piece, here’s my interpretation of your work at The Hatchet: staring at a computer followed by a year investigating chemicals and bacteria followed by the best year of your life. Did I get it right? You’re the best boss I’ve ever had, mostly because you find the same stupid things funny as I do. Your dedication and drive for excellence is inspiring and I know you’ll be successful wherever you go. Just don’t become a singer. Anyone that’s listened to you sing “What a Girl Wants” knows what I’m talking about.

I like to think I made something happen here. I trained some fantastic writers, who I hope like me as much as I care for them. I’ve left you in very able hands though. At least I can say I was a part of two-dozen incredible lives for two semesters. I learned some things too: the acronym “omfgwtfbbq” means something, some people really want you to meet their mothers and sometimes it’s not obvious that a news article does, in fact, need quotes.

Even if I didn’t change much, I’ve met fantastic people along the way.

Believe it or not, after the endless hours at community meetings and zoning hearings, I aspire to be as active in my future community. The opportunity to report on the 20 Year Campus Plan and Square 54 was truly an honor. I hope I’ve left an accurate chronicle of the intense planning and debate over these projects. Thank you Dorothy, Michael, Joy, Tracy, Ellie, Sherry, Vince, Sarah and David for letting me pick your brains.

Despite some errors, most feedback from the people I had the pleasure of consulting over two years has been positive. I believe I’ve accomplished a lot.

I would change one thing though. What was supposed to be the crowning jewel of my journalistic career at The Hatchet, something that took dozens of hours at community meetings and hearings to understand, ended up horribly garbled on an incredibly well-designed front page (thanks Kyle, especially for only crying for me, Natalie and Tim for making that look so good). I counted, and it only took 4 ‘T’s and 7 ‘b’s to make my article unintelligible.

Maybe the most “Seinfeld” aspect of this whole journey is that my position at The Hatchet was almost accidental. I was considering journalism, but I didn’t report much until the end of sophomore year. I happened to be fascinated by zoning law and quickly became a go-to person for the issue. Even then though, my commitment paled to most Hatcheteers. During my interview, some expressed skepticism that I would make The Hatchet my No. 1 priority after academics. I sometimes wonder if I would have taken the job without the challenge to prove disbelievers wrong.

I never can pass up a good dare.

As promised, I’m ending at the beginning: Michael Barnett assigned me my first story as I checked books out to him at Gelman’s front desk. If he hadn’t pressed me I probably wouldn’t have gotten into reporting at all. As I look for jobs and miserably trudge through pages of my thesis (which is missing a deadline as I write this), I don’t know whether to be thankful for the experience or frustrated by the distraction. Maybe I can just be happy knowing I got the chance to work with the biggest bunch of nut cases I’ve ever met. You guys make me feel normal and dare me to be myself.

– 30 –

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