30 Piece: Snapshots of a college experience

My adventure began when the airport shuttle carrying my parents turned the corner and disappeared from sight. I began my walk back to Thurston, knowing that a great four-year journey lie ahead. All that I had known and experienced in Seattle became a distant reality three time zones away. My new reality became the streets and sights of Washington, D.C.

Where it all began: Thurston 710. A kind of crazy twist of fate brought all of us jokers together – a NROTC drop-out born in Vietnam with an upbringing in Germany, a typical Catholic student from Cleveland by day but like any college student by night, a sharp-tongued lad from Connecticut with a stripe of bleached hair, a “super Jew” who blared his alarm clock at the crack of dawn to schlep to synagogue and, of course, the guy from New Jersey – who watches “Scooby Doo.”

Khai, Ken, Jeremy, Moishe and Matt, you guys are the reason why I stuck around for four years. You helped make GW my first home away from home. Coming back to the room was like being in a real life sitcom. From Moishe going on a strict diet of apple sauce and oatmeal, to Khai’s “wrestling,” to Ken introducing us to Starcraft, to Matt’s MP3 collection and Jeremy’s guitar playing, that first year will forever be a part of me, and I will look forward to our reunions in the future.

Pirouz, Ben, Quan, Thai, Brad and Vish – you’re reasons why GW means so much. We’ll have great stories and photo memories to talk about in the future.

It’s funny how a single decision can open up a world of possibilities. Stepping through the threshold of a townhouse on G Street one ordinary day of freshman year, just wanting to take photographs, would prelude a phone call invitation to be assistant photo editor two years later. Now I go everywhere with a camera in hand.

When you’re carrying around a camera, you’re holding in your hands the ability to capture light. Peering through a viewfinder allows you to frame a snapshot and by clicking the shutter, you freeze a snippet of time, about a fraction of a second onto a small strip of film. I spent a greater part of my four years at GW seeing through a lens.

I remember my first real assignment as an editor at the Hatchet. It was to play paparazzi at the District Courthouse. On that assignment I met then-Editor in Chief Rich Murphy. Being new to the newspaper business, I had no idea that he was the big man, or in other words, my boss. On that assignment, I got to know a great friend who would lead the Hatchet through a great year. It was during that first year as an editor that I would become part of a family.

Fearless leaders Rich, Russ and Jason: You three have been an inspiration and made me proud to work for such a great newspaper. Rich, I always enjoyed our chats and hearing your wisdom on politics or the current buzz around GW – I hope to be photographing your victory speech some day. Russ, you are a great friend to whom I respect and admire. Your dedication to the paper always pushes me to strive for better photos. Steiny, your witty comments make this place grin and laugh at your humor. It’s been a pleasure working with you.

The news bunch, I admire all your dedication and I couldn’t imagine The Hatchet without you all: Kate, we’ve come so far with the Hatchet ever since our photo/reporter duet at the fashion show; Mosheh, I knew you’d have a place in the staff box since you caught my attention last year with clutch reporting; Amanda, thanks for dishing out the photo assignments so we could do our jobs better this semester. And Trevor, if you manage to stay out of trouble, I know you’ll hit it big someday.

The sports team Sean and Lauren: thanks for trying your best to give us the space to show off. Sean, you’ve been a great friend and I wish you luck with the search. Lauren, I can’t believe you give away your grandmother’s brownies!

The features ladies Cindy, Salma and Beth: Even though we grumbled, we secretly like taking photos for your pages. When we are in sync, the pages rival the front page. Thanks for working so closely with me to come up with some great photo ideas. I will miss working with you next year.

Arts/Ops/Design/Hatchet-style lady: Andy, it’s always a pleasure. Safdie, make sure to keep that mirror polished. I will miss your smile, Gladys. You make a great pasta pesto.

Erin, I know I’m here too late when you show up! It’s been great to
work with you.

The production team, the true heroes on staff, you put our paper together. Evan, Chanin, Liz, Shannon and Will, you all made me want to work harder knowing how much time you put in to our paper. Thanks for putting up with our phone calls from upstairs.

Steve and Jenny, thanks for keeping The Hatchet together. Steve, you are a great man with vision. The Hatchet would not be what it is today without you.

To the photo staff: Joe you have poured your heart and soul into The Hatchet. Keep it up next year, and it will take you places. Matt, you are always willing to go the extra mile, and I’ve really appreciated your consistency. Brandon, your enthusiasm and artistic talent have brought punch to the paper. Liz, wish you got here sooner. We will miss you next year. And to all of you who have taken photos for The Hatchet, thanks for making our paper so great.

To Andrew and Chris: I envy you guys for the journey you are about to begin. Every once in a while, mix up a batch of new fixer because you always have to keep your spirits up even when it gets tough and stressful working those late nights while your buddies are out partying.

To the one who had faith in me, Grant. Where would I be without your trust in my photography? Countless hours and negative sleeves later, we’re about to pass the loupe to another great team. I hope one day we will cross paths in the field, draped with three digital camera bodies and photo passes to go anywhere we want.

So now this adventure has come to an end. What you have seen in The Hatchet these past four years is what I have seen, and I hope my work has given you a picture of who I am.
-Michael Itti has been a Hatchet editor since fall 2000.
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