Robin Jones Kerr: Signing yearbooks

Media Credit: Samuel Klein | Senior Photo Editor

Each year, graduating editors are given 30 final column inches – “30” was historically used to signify the end of a story – to reflect on their time at The Hatchet, published in the final issues of the year.

I like to talk a big talk about change – about how many times I’ve moved in my life, about how well I know how to cope with it. I’ve written whole columns based on it and see myself as a grizzled veteran of sorts, doling out advice to friends about how best to cope with separation anxiety. As a senior graduating from high school, I chose as my senior quote for the yearbook an old Don Draper classic (I was, and still am, insufferable in my appreciation for a chance to be hokey): “Change is neither good nor bad. It simply is.”

But despite all the talk, the truth is, it never gets any easier. Moving every few years hasn’t changed how I treat a place: Maybe if I were smarter, and intentionally formed weaker friendships or consciously tried to have fewer memorable experiences, it wouldn’t hurt so bad when it comes time to leave, but I guess I haven’t learned.

The best I could ever do to cope, though, has been to make sure everyone I was leaving behind knew how much I cared for them. If that meant filling an entire page in a friend’s yearbook recalling memory after silly memory, so be it. If it meant having two of my closest friends spend three straight days at my house marathoning “Friday Night Lights” when I should have been packing up to move, fine by me.

I’ll leave commentary on The Hatchet as an institution to the folks who have been around for far longer than I have, who have shepherded this paper for years and grown its editors from meek freshman reporters into the inimitable, powerful editors we have today.

For me, the people have always made this place. From Captain Cookie trips with Sarah during prodo, to the many, many times Sophie, Jenna, Cory, Sean and I or some combination therein rapped “Monster,” to commiserating with my favorite #HatchetFeminists, the experiences I’ve had with these people have been integral to my experience at this paper, and have shaped the past two and a half years of my life in ways I’ve never fully appreciated.

It may not be a yearbook page, but at least now I have the chance.

Cory: This list inevitably has to start with you. From the minute you hired me in March of my sophomore year, I was driven by a desire to impress and please you. Copy editing for 12, sometimes 14 hours straight every Sunday can be grueling, but it was the post-midnight page reviews with you, Ferris and Jenna that I looked forward to all day because I got to spend them alongside you, working to polish content and cracking dad jokes. You’re whip-smart, with an analytical mind and a respect for quality writing that knows no bounds, and somehow, you balance that with a goofy sense of humor and a fierce loyalty. You were a powerful leader that I felt lucky to have as a meek junior staffer trying to learn the ropes – and for some reason, you were crazy enough to think I could run a whole section. I’ll always feel lucky to have had you.

Ryan and Amanda: You two are exactly what I’ve always wanted to be: impossibly cool without even trying. Thank you for bringing me onto this staff and, more importantly, into the fold of the people who work here. I’ve always tried to live up to your kookiness and have perpetually failed, but at least I’ll always have something to strive for.

Jenna: Your spirit and energy kept me going all through prodos last year. Whether it was Jenna-chair-dancing, your wacky stories or even just hearing you laugh and scream from your computer across the room, you always had a way to cheer me up and remind me, even when I got bogged down in the work, that we were all just having fun.

Ferris: You were the HBIC of staff, and you carried that mantel well. I was endlessly impressed with your editorial instincts, which seemed to run so deep that you made the job – one of the hardest on staff – look easy. You were a tank, and your ability to do your job supremely well, without complaint and without losing steam, inspired me.

Chloe: In a campus full of bullshitters and oversized egos, you’ve kept us all grounded on more than one occasion. People will always chastise women who are too blunt, too ballsy and who tell it like it is – but that’s your best quality and is so, so necessary. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise (though I know you won’t). (Look, I even got a lil feminism in here for ya.)

Mel: We might have gone our separate ways freshman year, but having you back in my life in the past few years has been a pleasant surprise. You have an energy, a drive and a work ethic that I’ve always envied, and even when things get tough, you have the resilience to keep going. Since I’ve known you for so long, I feel like I have the right to say that I’m proud of you.

Bri: Someone could write a book about the EIC-ops editor relationship, but I’ve always been proud of ours. We’ve consistently been able to bounce back after whatever piddly kinks or disagreements arose, and get back to doing our jobs with grace, poise and maturity – ain’t that right, bromosexual. For so much of this year, you’ve been my gal – my main adviser, guiding me as I tried to somehow figure out how to do my job. I’m glad – and surprised – you never lost your patience with me through it all, and I hope you think I’ve done the best I could.

To the ladies of the editorial board – Nora, SLaFrance, Sophie and Anna: I looked forward to ed board every week because it meant the chance to hang out with you lovely people. You all consistently brought energy and good ideas to the table, communicating them in smart ways and helping us form fleshed-out opinions – I couldn’t have done my job without you. I hope you all continue debating Kim K and sobbing about how much you love academics into next year.

To the (often-bearded) men of The Hatchet – Nick Rice, CNN’s Jeremy Diamond, Sam Klein, Camera Lenscapster: We talk a lot about how many women are on staff this year – and it’s true, we have our fair share of HBICs. But you fellas have always done a ton to balance that out and bring the zest, the fun, the salmon shorts, the scarves, the beards. You’ve gone a long way in making my days – on the first floor of the old townhouse and on the third floor of the new – a particular brand of fun. To Samali Pirate: Thank you for putting up with all my absurd nicknames and for making our girl happy.

To the next generation – Jac, Eva, Mark, Brandon, Jeanine, Melissa, Kendall: OK, so you may all still seem like babies to me (Zach, you fall into this category, too), but I’ve been so impressed with how gracefully you’ve all stepped into your roles, even under sometimes rocky circumstances. I have complete confidence in each and every single one of you that not only will you kick asses at your jobs next year, but that you’ll all have a ton of fun doing them. Keep the townhouse weird, keep the gchats nonsensical, keep the parties riotous – I’m so excited for you to live it up.

RSG: I am so completely proud of the kick-ass chick you’ve become over the past year. I take no credit for it, but I’ve loved watching you get louder and give fewer fucks as you’ve grown into a leader of this paper. I loved working alongside you last year, helping you move into your new role and watching you shine from afar (aka from across the room) this year. You have a genuinely bright spirit, and that’s what makes people – and I mean everyone – smile just from looking at you. Thank you for all that you’ve done over the past year and all you will continue to do in the next.

Zach: You are the heart of this organization. For more than two years, you’ve been there for me and for everyone else on staff, offering a classic Zach hug and a pat on the head – and I know I’m not alone in saying that often, those moments came exactly when we needed them most. You have an endless supply of energy – whether that comes in the form of good cheer, sass about how young I am or brusque comments about the Mets – and a good heart. Cory used to talk about those few staffers who were not only good at their jobs, but who had real loyalty to this organization, and you were consistently not only numbered among those folks, but exemplary of them. I’ve never felt like I’ve said it often enough, but it’s true – I adore you.

Jacob from the newspaper: We’ve always said I should drop the bombshell about us in my 30 and then mic-drop out. I wish I could do that here, but I think I’ve been so excited about us over the past few months that it’s really not a secret anymore. (To anyone for whom it still is – this is a thing. Many of you, a bunch of supposedly highly trained reporters, went months without getting wind. It was endlessly entertaining.) J, from the get-go, you’ve given me the most essential thing I’ve needed in order to do this job: the realization that in the end, none of this matters. That sense of perspective has been invaluable to me and has kept me grounded, and I’m so grateful to you for being my support system even from 3,000 miles away. You’re my favorite Hatchet alumnus.

Bluge: The prospect of not working alongside you every day is so unfamiliar, it’s hard to wrap my head around it. I’m so, so lucky I’ve had you. There isn’t a world in which a copy editor could have started running this section without a talented contrib like you by her side, and if I’ve done anything with this job, I owe it to you. You have this seemingly endless supply of chill, an ability to keep your head when mine is nowhere to be found. You write effortlessly, with a tone that’s elegant in its simplicity and a voice that’s unmatched in its droll personality. Your ideas are smart and nuanced, recognizing the context and analyzing conditions, and you’re constantly asking the right – and hard – questions. You will, obviously, stun next year. My times with you have been some of the most fun, entertaining and interesting that I’ve had at this paper and at GW broadly. You have been my heart, and I hope you get everything you’ve ever wanted and more.

Justin: (Sorry I ate all your tofu that one time.) Tini, I don’t remember when I started living my life alongside yours – it must have been during transition – but I’m infinitely glad you came into my life and became central to it. You have been my editor, my predecessor, my columnist, my ed board champ, my confidant, my adviser, my wife, my friend, the head chef to my sous chef, my main piece at parties, my go-to ABP buddy, and so much more. Your ability to find humor in almost any situation has been invaluable this year, and your powerful writing always inspired me to find my best stuff. You must have been drunk on Pinot the day you and Cory decided to put your faith in me to take over this section, but you’ve been there for me whenever I’ve needed you, for the big questions and the small, willing to help and not show a hint of pride (you’re a better person than I). It’s impossible to capture what you’ve meant to me because you’ve simply meant too much. Maybe one day, when our emails, texts and gchats inevitably get leaked, people will finally understand how integral you’ve been to my life this year. Until then, pass the veggie chips.

Colleen: You are a giant on this staff and in my life. Your work ethic is immense, your reporting chops supreme and your ability to communicate unmatched. You’ve already shown – have been showing for the past year – that you’ll lead this staff expertly, and as your co-worker, I’ve felt lucky to share the masthead with you. But I’m even more fortunate to have earned you as a friend. It’s rare that I find someone with whom I feel I can be my absolute, complete self, but I’ve felt that way toward you from the very beginning, when you were just a freshman and I still felt like one. Maybe it’s a Midwestern connection, but if I had to guess, I think you bring that out in people and I’ve been so grateful for it. I’ve never felt like I had to work at my relationship with you – it’s come naturally and easily and has been a source of so much goodness. You’re hilarious, one of the funniest people I know, and some of my best memories from the ZL are riffing with you about lumbersexuals or 30 stereotypes. I know you’re your own harshest critic – but you’ve done so well for yourself while being so important to me, and I’m infinitely glad you’re the one I latched onto at that very first potluck.

Last but not least, to my Eckles fam – Sarah, Elisa, Tony, Shawn, Speck, Mary Kate, Justin, Charles and John: You were my first home on campus, and the first GW institution I really loved. Thank you for sharing me.

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