Departing Editor’s Farewell: Putting college to rest

As my senior year comes to an end and I examine how I spent my four years at GW, I come up with one overwhelming regret, one perfect answer to the “If I could do it all over again” question. Naps, ladies and gentlemen. I would take more naps.

All of you know what I’m talking about. Those days freshman year when your last class ended at 3:15, so you went home and took a nap from 4 to 6 and then woke up refreshed and excited because you could do whatever the hell you wanted without any parental supervision. Yes, those were the days.

Now, four years later, I’m convinced that those days were as good as it gets, because these days, I’m just plain tired. I’m tired when I wake up. I’m tired in class. I’m tired at work and I’m tired at The Hatchet, where my hourly wage rivals that of the nine-year-old Taiwanese girl who made my Nikes.

Part of my fatigue comes from lack of sleep, obviously, but part of my fatigue comes from being tired of so many things at GW. (And yes, this is where I get to list my final complaints; perhaps one of the biggest perks of working for The Hatchet.)

*First and foremost are general curriculum requirements. Basically, I spent 40 grand a year to go here and I’m about to leave without taking all the classes I wanted. Why? Because my GCRs mandated that I take three semesters of science, even though I declared my major sophomore year and it had nothing to do with science.

What GW’s bigwigs apparently don’t understand is that when students don’t care about a class, they don’t learn. They just memorize for exams and then forget as soon as the note cards hit the trash.

Hell, I can barely recall half the classes I took, let alone information I learned in them. If I wanted to be well-rounded, I could have made that decision on my own. If I wanted to take another three journalism classes instead of baby chem and biology, I should have had the option.

*If you’re like me and you want to meet the future workers at your local Department of Motor Vehicles, head over to Rice Hall, where a sunny disposition and friendly manner are always easy to find.

Be it the registrar’s office or the financial aid office, matters of extreme importance to you are treated like detestable annoyances by them. Maybe something goes on in that building that we’re not aware of, like employees getting caned every time they smile, but one thing is certain. Rice Hall is where patience and a good day go to die.

*If The Hatchet does one investigative piece next year, it should look at the GW bookstore. Tony Soprano can only aspire to be as profitable and ruthless as the people running that racket.

You’re going to give me 12 bucks for an 80-dollar book I bought just four months ago? Unless I urinated on that baby, I’m pretty sure its value didn’t depreciate that much. Buy it back for 40 and then resell it for 60 and you’re still making a nice little chunk of change. Am I right?

There are just so many questions we at The Hatchet should answer. For instance, just who exactly determines the buyback prices? Does that person sleep at night? Does he or she buy and sell babies on the black market, too? (If not, I hear that’s a pretty lucrative operation, you heartless bastard.)

*Speaking of books, how about that voluntary library fee? Speaking of fees, how about that graduation fee? Speaking of graduation, how about the graduation speakers this year? Strictly speaking, all of the above stinks.

So right now my parents are wondering why they spent so much money to send me so far away, when it appears I don’t think too highly of this school. But in truth, despite all the things listed above, I would pick GW if given the choice again for a myriad of reasons.

*First and foremost on this list are the students, which may sound surprising since we as a student body constantly rip ourselves for being snobby and rude.

While there are plenty of those kids at GW, I found plenty who were humble and kind, and I was never at a loss for friends. I’m guessing you’ll find obnoxious people everywhere, and maybe we at GW aren’t as bad as we make ourselves out to be.

(Just don’t look at the SA … or some of the fraternities and sororities … or Student Judicial Services … or any guys wearing pink collared shirts …)

*When people come to Washington, they always end up wanting to stay, and that’s why they call it Potomac Fever (no, it has nothing to do with the brown, polluted river inevitably carrying diseases).

I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t explore this city as much as I should have, and now I regret it.

Next to taking more naps, I wish I would have taken more walks, seen more sites and just made more trips off campus. Few cities, if any, combine the excitement of an urban setting with the scenery of water and parks like Washington. If you took out the politicians, this would be the best damn city in the country.

*While at The Hatchet, I covered two sports that made my work fun at times. For one semester, I covered the golf team and coach Scott Allen, with whom I also took a one-semester golf class. While he never fixed my slice or my problems with anything below a seven-iron, he was always honest, forthright and available whenever I needed him.

Since he became a coach at GW, he has also turned a perennially mediocre team into one of the best in the region. Most GW students probably don’t know this because most GW students probably don’t follow golf, but Allen has developed a program in which the school can take pride.

For a year and a half, I covered the women’s basketball team and coach Joe McKeown, and I cannot say enough about him and his program. While I always tried to be objective and balanced in my game stories and features, I will become one of the biggest GW women’s basketball fans the day I graduate.

Even when I criticized the team in my columns, McKeown understood my job and treated me with respect. McKeown also made himself and his players available to me whenever I needed them, and he was always honest and thoughtful. While I’ve heard other people talk about coaches at the Smith Center who act like they own the place and own the people that work there, I’ve never heard someone say a bad thing about McKeown. I have not met a better representative of this University.

*Finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the people I worked with here at The Hatchet. As a staff, this is a unique and special group of people. We all balanced classes and homework and The Hatchet (and in some cases, other jobs, too), and we still put out the best non-daily in this region, according to the Society of Professional Journalists.

We got a lot of criticism and took a lot of heat, and our work often seemed largely unappreciated, but we did our best to inform the GW community twice a week, and I know next year’s staff will do the same.

But as this year ends and our last issues are printed, there’s really only one thing left for me to do. I’m off to take a nice, long nap.

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