By Sean P. Flynn

I remember my first day of kindergarten at Hawthorne School like it was today. I remember being very excited that I would finally get to go to school. I remember at least three kids bawling their eyes out, mortified about leaving their mommies. Now it’s 29 days until graduation, and I’m just as excited about being done with school in May 2000 as I was for starting in September 1983.

Quite frankly, I’m tired of school. I’m tired of papers, tests, notes, cramming for papers, cramming for tests and cramming with insufficient notes. I’m just the unexceptional student that most professors will not remember when I’m president 30 years from now and someone’s trying to write my biography.

I suppose it’s fitting that my college career has been less than stellar academically. I’ve never been a good studier – I finished ranked 102 in my high school class of 374, which put me smack-dab in the 31st percentile. One time I got a 36 on a math test I didn’t study for but was graciously granted a retake. I got a 36 on the retake.

Somehow I got into Georgetown – according to U.S. News and World Report, only 7 percent of Georgetown students were not in the top-25 percent of their high school – and here I usually sacrificed academic excellence for more fun activities.

I once walked out of a EuroCiv class to go to an Orioles baseball game I was reading about in a Washington Post sports section I had hiding under my notebook. The number of times I went to IHOP when I should have been working is innumerable. One Sunday morning this December, six hours after throwing up from excessive partying and with two papers due Tuesday and one due Wednesday, I drove to Antietam National Battlefield. At 2 p.m., while receiving a stirring recounting of the story of Antietam, I leaned back and realized that not only was I still drunk, but my heart was pumping alcohol instead of blood.

The greatest way I found to sluff off my work, though, was The Hoya, where I spent most of the significant hours of my college career. Like most things in my life, it just fell in my lap – as I remember, Jeff Goldstein called me one hellish night at The Hoya and asked me if I wanted to be an assistant. In the end, I spent three years and two months as some sort of editor, including four semesters as senior sports editor – comprising somewhere around 97 issues.

The Hoya was great for me because it was the perfect excuse to not do work. Editorship almost invariably took 40 hours a week, and since I wouldn’t be doing my work even if I had those 40 hours, I needed to be in Leavey 421.

In all truth, being an editor for The Hoya is anything but a glamour job. The terrible hours are almost completely uncompensated – no page editor receives a stipend of any sort. The computers break all the time; when everyone realized I was Mr. Funnyman, everyone would just laugh and say, “That Flynn .” when I yelled about it. On my final issue in November, we were one final look-see, no more than 15 minutes, away from finishing and celebrating, when my computer froze, shut down and erased my pages. Furious, I went down to Vittles and read People for 15 minutes to cool myself down.

But for all the crap that came along with being editor, the camaraderie in the office made up for it tenfold. My theory was this: If I could get done at 11 p.m. but not have fun or I could have fun and finish at 4 a.m., I would always choose the latter.

After a lackluster freshman year in which I spent most of my time bored, wishing I was back in Texas, it was The Hoya that finally provided me a diverse group of people to interact with.

Luck struck during my first semester as editor when Karen Travers stumbled into the office after a night at Champs to become an assistant. Neither of us knew much about making a newspaper, and more often than not we were not done until 4 a.m., but there was never a shortage of laughter. No one took us seriously, but then again neither did we. When the semester was over, I figured there was no reason why I shouldn’t continue doing it.

From that point on, the time spent at The Hoya increased proportional to the amount of fun people who frequented the office. Timmy Llew brought with him his chick music and a constant nagging to drive him somewhere, but he was always there to have fun or to go on a roadtrip. Jonah Nolan was a foul-mouthed smoker who claimed residence in Chicago, London and Ireland but talked like a New Yorker, but something exciting was always going on in the office when he was around. Sarah Walsh was duped into working for The Hoya when Karen ran into her in a Block Party stupor, but her good humor and bossiness (I’ll never bite my nails again) I would never trade for anything. Gregg Blais (Lee Gutterman) and Joe Harten (Ken Phelps) have helped me fulfill (LaMar Hoyt) my lifelong dream of talking only (Jerry Mumphrey) about old baseball players (Jesse Barfield). Alison Banks was quiet at first, but we liked her because she always seemed to be listening to and laughing at the B.S. Karen and I would spew out at the sports computer. Banks turned out to be a certified badass and my future wife.

Seventeen years after it all started, I’m glad school is done. But four years after wishing I were elsewhere, I wish I never had to leave.

Sean P. Flynn is a former sports editor, senior sports editor, member of the editorial board, contributing editor and member of the board of directors for The Hoya.

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