Departing Seniors: Thirty inches of Snow

A few things need to be cleared up before I say goodbye. My time at GW should be over in less than three weeks, but it is not. I am not graduating, but I will in eight semesters because I took a semester off, so it is technically on time, just Snow time. So this really isn’t a goodbye as much as it is a reflection on my four years of Hatchet life.

So here’s what I have to clear up.

First, I would not trade being a Human Services major for anything. I think that everyone should be required to take a class that incorporates service learning into the curriculum. We live in a city that needs a lot of help, and we have the ability to offer that help. It would be a lot more useful than taking baby chem or another general curriculum requirement that offers no real-world help to me or what I want to do.

Second, I am functionally literate. I know how to read and write. Which ties into the last thing I need to clear up: I am the Dick in “The Morning After.” I do not know how it happened, but I think it was out of laziness, of trying to find someone else to do it, but it is a role that has given me a chance to express the views of all my friends at their least proper moments. It has been fun and entertaining. Sorry, Mom, it’s true.

Being a Hatcheteer means dropping everything to go to a stupid event for the sake of not having (fill in pointless student group here) be upset because they weren’t the snapshot and someone forgot to tell you that the event was going on. It means being on every listserv. The perks involve getting into every event, endless supply of extensions, and knowing more about the university than the SA, 4-RIDE drivers, UPD and STAR tour guides combined (and yes their order of knowledge is close to that order).

The Hatchet has taught me many valuable lessons, and I will never forget walking into the office in September 2000. The experiences I have had have shaped who I am today. For one, I cannot get anything done anymore unless I am on a deadline, which has morphed into me not being able to write a paper unless there are the same number of pages required as there are hours until the paper in due.

Being at protests I don’t believe in; being on the streets of Washington, D.C., on September 11 and hearing the President’s policy speeches have made me appreciate how important covering these events are. The ability to give people front-row seats is an amazing feeling, and one I doubt I would have understood without The Hatchet.

One of the most beautiful things about working at a newspaper is that each issue, we start with a blank page, and it is our job to fill it. On stories that happen close to deadline, the page will already have everything on it except the picture. Looking at that page with the empty space and knowing that if your picture isn’t good everyone will see a blank page – or a picture that doesn’t tell the story – the next day gives a rush of adrenaline that is unmatched by most things.

The time when the newsroom is the busiest is on production nights, when everyone is filling their pages. At that moment, pictures and stories are already being assigned for the next issue. That is my favorite time, when the two issues meld together – one at an infancy stage, and the other almost complete.

On most days the things I have gotten to cover have made me want to see and experience more of what the world has to offer, but on some other days they just make me appreciate how lucky I am. In my four years, we have all seen a lot – from the Supreme Court case to decide the 2000 presidential election, and then the inauguration, to World Bank protests, to September 11, to all-night SA elections, to trips to the Atlantic 10 basketball tournaments.

I have had the pleasure of covering so many amazing events but have also had the unfortunate task of covering members of our community in tough situations. One of the biggest disappointments in my time at The Hatchet is that I lost some friends because of pictures I took. The Hatchet demands that editors criticize our community and friends – to watch and report on them in times of anguish and times they are not proud of.

In the 100 years of Hatchet history, we have angered, we have saddened but very rarely have we disappointed, and that is what I am most of proud of. We try to be everywhere, and the stories and pictures we provide will be GW’s history – they will inform, they will help make things better – and I truly believe that.

At the same time, The Hatchet is a fun place; we have fun, we work hard and for the most part we play hard. The couches have taken a beating, the carpet is stained and everyone who works in the office has a thick skin. My motto has long been “Screw ’em if they can’t take a joke.” The people who work at The Hatchet have made the last four years a fun and thoroughly entertaining time. The staff as a whole is an amazing group of people who have so many different ideas and directions that sometimes it’s amazing to step back and watch everyone work together.

Speaking of jokes, Mosheh, your singing is almost as bad as your attention span. Honestly though, you held the ship together through some fun times and some rough times. It was an unbelievable year, especially when we were drunk.

Julie and Liz Bart, your sweetness kept The Hatchet from completely eroding. Over the last couple years we have had times that showered us with fun, and times when we wanted to kill each other, but it was always something to laugh about the next day.

The new blood – Barnett, Bryn, Siegel, Meredith, Nurko and in many ways Costa. Good luck, don’t kill each other and don’t let Dempster’s liberal views overcome everything else. Dempster, don’t let Long Island or the reservation get out of line.

And to the ones leaving – Nelson, Lizz and Janice, I hope the good times follow you like a wet chair.

And to the people who really make it all happen – production, just remember that a bigger picture means less text to flow, and Sarah, I look forward to visiting when you are Stoneman’s boss.

Leaving The Hatchet is easier to do knowing that the photo department is in capable hands with Baumer. Baum, don’t let them cut your photo space, and remember how hard it is to take pictures from the back seat of a cruiser.

My four years at GW have been a truly amazing ride. The friends I have made and the people I have met have made me a better person, and I am confident that many will continue to be my friends for a very long time. At the same time, many people have taught me to truly appreciate the West Coast and the fact that East is East and West is best. For all the complaining we do at GW, it is a great place that has offered me a doorway to the amazing place that is Washington, D.C.

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