I am sitting at my computer scared to type, scared of what I might reveal. Or worse what I won’t reveal before I leave GW. I can’t hide anymore.
GW never quite fit me right. I had too much peasant stock in me. My Italian immigrant relatives gave up any security they had on that tiny island called Ischia. With the exception of my father who graduated high school and my mother who went to junior college, many of my relatives didn’t even go past the fifth grade. Ultimately, all their sacrifices were for me – so I could someday graduate from a prestigious private university, so I could escape their peasant lives. This graduation, this diploma, belongs to them.
Those peasants – they tell me college is about growing into a better person. I’d like to think I tried to do the right thing, even when others did wrong, even when the right thing was the harder choice. I know many of you think I failed. I’m sorry, a thousand times I’m sorry. But I am sure of one success – the valuable education I received from the characters I encountered here.
Pam – you were the best friend of my four years here, even after you left. I remember sitting in the damp grass on the Quad – the talk that launched our friendship. Seven o’clock dinners at J Street were inspirational no matter what we were eating. Who else could teach me about pretty boys? I always teased you about taking me to Tequila Grill, but I am glad we went. You made me dance. When you said goodbye to GW, a piece of me left too. You saw the best of what I could be, sides of me that no one else here seemed to care about. I’ve never forgiven you for leaving. You made me a typical college kid when everyone else only saw a Hatchet girl. I know you thought I might have missed the best in you, but I didn’t. You are funny, smart and the best-dressed girl I know.
Daphne – you were my stability – a cool, logical head in the eye of a rough storm. In subtle ways, you encouraged me to focus on my career. You seemed to have faith in me always. I can’t believe we spent our whole lives a few blocks away from each other in Jersey, only to find each other at GW. That hometown connection linked us. I always found a little bit of home when I was with you.
Kaitlin & Kelly – you were wild and I loved your impetuous natures. You were everything I could never be.
Mike – you are the nicest person in my book of life so far. I only aspire to be as giving, as generous and as aware as you are. I will always remember you in Philly on St. Patrick’s Day; I never saw someone so much in his own element. I highly respect any man who knows where he comes from and loves where he comes from. I treasure that night at Xando’s. The conversation and the bet were among the most enlightening events of my college career. In addition to waxing philosophical, I noticed you were far gutsier than I had ever imagined. I was assured this was correct after you asked our waitress out at my birthday dinner. When you end up halfway across the world, I think I might be lost. But I know that they need you more than we do. You were meant to be the performer of great deeds.
Jared – you are the reason I am sure higher powers bring people into our lives. We lost our friendship for a while, but God sent you back. What I love about you is that we share as many similarities as differences. And no one has ever been more thoughtful. My 21st birthday was spectacular thanks to you, and I can’t remember a time when someone did something that nice just for me. The letter you sent last year made me remember the time we rested on the swings in that little park in Paramus. That was the moment I knew you weren’t just Alex’s friend; you were my friend too. But you won me over with the balloon at the Greek festival. I often pray that you remember all the great qualities you have to offer people.
Alex – you’ve been my friend since the first grade. I was so comforted to hear I’d find you again in college. Freshman year you guided my destiny, and now it’s time to guide your own. As you take this next step, promise me that you will remember who you truly are – the little boy trading little league errors for zeppoles and standing by Jason when he dodged an attack from Justin Mauro. Freshman year was highlighted by nostalgia – like remembering when Sean’s projectile vomit landed on you in the fifth grade. You included me when I had no one here. But nothing will ever beat trading snacks and terrorizing Sarah with worms after the rain at School #3. Find that little boy within you and be proud of him. He’s my great friend.
Gabe – In the old Italian song Reginella, a man begs a woman to remember him when she’s distracted, to pretend their few moments of friendship actually meant something. I have to ask you to do the same. For my sake, pretend we are friends. To me, you will always be sitting in the hallway with your wiry glasses and a pen tucked behind your ear. I may not know whether to call you my friend, my enemy or an indifferent bystander to my life. But, Gabe, I was anything but indifferent. When freshman year was finished, I missed so many little things I had never noticed before – your realism, your sarcasm, your advice. You told me never to pity myself and never to analyze things people say. You swore there was someone for everyone. I almost believe you. Maybe our paths will cross again in fair Fort Lee.
Seth – how I know you were disappointed in me so many times for so many reasons. We could have been greater friends if The Hatchet and the IFC did not exist. Then again, we may not have still known each other (in this our senior year) had it not been for The Hatchet and the IFC. I will always remember you coming to my Thurston room in your flannel pajamas; we debated the true meaning of shoe trees and the benefits of fraternity life. That fire in you will never be extinguished. You yell. You talk with your hands. You stand up for your beliefs even to the highest of authorities. And GW needs more people like you.
Scooter – you were another thorn in my side who happened to be one of GW’s greatest assets. I know you had some harsh words for me freshman year. But I would like to think we developed mutual respect and, perhaps even, admiration for each other’s work.
Steven – you are one of my favorite talkers. I haven’t even left yet, and I already miss our marathon conversations. I’m sorry if I didn’t give you enough credit for courageously covering the oh-so-controversial frat boys. You did more than hold your own. So, stand proud and ignore our favorite critics. Remember – the penguin should never get the last laugh.
Theresa – I am sorry The Hatchet failed to be your haven. Please remember to value yourself always and never do anything out of mere obligation. Know that some of us appreciated you.
Gayle – I would be remiss if I didn’t applaud your exemplary writing skills. The pages of The Hatchet will not be the same without your signature style or the traces of your kind heart.
Russ – I wish I truly had an effect on you.
Margaret – I wish I could travel back in time and meet you sooner. Our nights at the Lion assured me that we could have been great friends all along. You are the one who always considers everyone’s feelings and strives to treat people according to the Golden Rule. I’m sure you will find success because you value love, something most young people take for granted.
Ali – I’ve always admired your ability to be a feminist and a flirt, a brain and a beauty. I never learned how to be a feminine feminist, but you seemed to flow into both acts so easily. I foresee great things for you.
Dustin – so many nights, I thanked God you were our leader. Your calm nature saved us a million times. I’m sorry I failed you with all the news-team drama this year. The disappointment I caused you is my greatest regret at GW.
Berger – I must thank you. Much of my professional success is, at least partially, a result of my desire to prove you wrong about me. You always were a great reporter and, once in a while, a dear
David Holt – I will always be a fan. You are one of the most charming people I know. I loved it when you put on Dustin’s glasses and your leather jacket for me . so cute! Most importantly, your literary grace is a gift that you must share with those around you.
Zach – Promise me you will exploit your journalism skills and make the sports section part of who you are. When you told me you weren’t ready to say good bye to your friends, I was overwhelmed by your compassion.
Besser – you are an artist. You taught me the importance of photo, and its ability to tell a story just as well as any of my words.
Grant – your candid innocence and generous spirit radiated the editorial offices. These gifts were a necessity this year.
Rich – you were the one who wanted the daunting task of leading The Hatchet, once called the most bad-ass student organization on campus. You persevered as soon as you accepted the job. So, we should all breathe easy about the future.
Gladys – Atlanta was fantastic. You were a great roommie, and I’m sorry we didn’t have more time to spend with each other this year.
Pieter – you made The Hatchet look pretty and were patient with us temperamental editors. Now you are one of us. Promise you won’t lose your sanity like most of us did.
Neil, Matt and Evan – I know you were all taken for granted. Somehow, we forget that the paper could never get published without you. I definitely will miss the late-night antics of the production department.
Ashley and Melissa – your copy editing skills saved us more than once.
Steve and Mike – thanks for being the grown-ups who support us all the time.
Shruti – First you were my teacher and then you were my friend. Now, you are both.
Helder – Despite your constant criticism of The Hatchet, I valued our discussions and our peasant connections.
Becky and Dave – thanks for being the first editors to stand up to some of my critics for me.
Lisa, Pascal, Yash, Jen and Erin – I know I don’t get to see any of you these days. But I will never forget the days and nights on the seventh floor.
Mike M., Jeff, Tim, Maury, Dusty and Kevin – I know you think I have forgotten you. But I remember all the good you did for me when I faced tough times freshman year.
Angela – thanks for being the sole paisana in my GW life.
Tom M. – I hold fond memories of your weekend in Fort Lee.
Geoff – I’m so glad you sat next to me in stat class, even if you turned out to be the guy using The Hatchet for toilet paper.