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Reflecting on Four years with the Observer

Tae Andrews | Monday, April 28, 2008

Dear readers, friends, fans, enemies, apathetic readers and people who intended to open to the Viewpoint section but inadvertently opened to Scene instead,

This will be the last time I ever write to you. As a college student, anyways – I can’t promise I won’t make a cameo with a Letter to the Editor in the Viewpoint section at some point in my life as an alumnus.

Watching the days dwindle down on my remaining collegiate career, I feel much the same as I imagine a lame-duck president must while playing out the string of his remaining weeks in office, with the exception being, of course, that I don’t get to pardon anyone. Alright, well maybe The Rover.

Rover, I forgive you for your assaults on my section and apologize for laying the proverbial smack down on you guys. Much as General William Tecumseh Sherman did to the Confederate South during his march to the sea, my “scorched earth” rhetoric decimated your readership and fan base, and I’m sorry. Many trees had to die to make our little war possible, and so I’d like to apologize to the environment as well. There, that’s better. Cathartic even. I’m glad I got that off my chest.

There’s a new breed replacing the old guard here at The Observer, moving in to run Notre Dame’s hottest student-run newspaper, and I trust they will take good care of you in the years to come. I leave you in their very capable hands.

In journalism, whenever you can’t come up with the words you want to express yourself with, you can quote someone famous. It’s great. In the words of the immortal Baltimore Sun columnist H.L. Mencken, “… as I look back over a misspent life, I find myself more and more convinced that I had more fun doing news reporting than in any other enterprise. It is really the life of kings.” As I look over a misspent collegiate career, I realize that more than anything else I’ve done here at Notre Dame, I enjoyed nearly every minute of my time writing and editing for The Observer.

As such, I’d like to encourage anyone and everyone so inclined to write for The Observer. You get to put your voice out there, drop some knowledge on the masses and discuss hot-button issues such as the Vagina Monologues. Besides, if you’re like me, it’ll be no problem putting in late nights at the office because you probably aren’t doing homework anyway.

Working for The Observer is also a great way to pick up chicks (or dudes, depending on your persuasion). I can’t tell you how many times attractive, buxom young jezebels have approached me at parties. The dialogue typically goes something like this: “Oh, you’re Tae Andrews? The Tae Andrews? I’m such a big fan of yours!” to which I invariably reply, “I get that a lot.” The point is, earning a few Observer bylines will quickly put you on a social prestige level approaching that of a football player or a trust fund baby. You can also create a pen name for yourself (in case you’ve been wondering, I’ve also graced these pages as the one and the same T. Edward Andrews). It helps keep people on their toes.

Sad as I am to leave, I feel I’ve accomplished just about everything I could have here at The Observer. Throughout my time, I’ve written a few good stories, a few truly awful ones and a whole mess that fell somewhere in the middle. Regardless of how well we did, our stories were, as always, designed to inform, entertain and sometimes provoke. I hope you’ve enjoyed them; if you haven’t, feel free to crumple them up and I suppose I don’t need to tell you where you can stick them.

I also attained the No. 1 spot on The Observer drinking rankings (and if you think you’ve partied hearty, try hanging out with 50+ uninhibited student journalists. In case you haven’t seen them, our Observer cups bear the motto, “The drinking team with the journalism problem.”).

All in all, I’ve learned a lot here at ND: how to man up, a profane set of different lyrics to the Michigan fight song, the value of a power hour, the value of service, how to love thee some Notre Dame, how to hate thee some USC, how to celebrate St. Patty’s Day, how to incorporate “Here Come the Irish” into my iPod workout playlist, what a special and unique place The Grotto is, why Stanford Hall has always been and will always be the premier men’s dormitory on campus, how important good friends are and why Notre Dame is the best college in the world.

To my fellow seniors preparing to become alumni in one capacity or another (and although my inner grammarian winces as I write this), in the words of Charles Wright in his hit song, “Express Yourself,” “Whatever you do, do it good.” There, now that I’ve quoted both H.L. Mencken and Charles Wright, in the same column nonetheless, I can retire in peace.

Underclassmen who still have remaining years of eligibility here at Notre Dame, I say this to you: enjoy it now, because you will miss it later. As for me, I’m off to explore the strange realm they call “the real world.”