Avery Anapol: Best-kept secrets

Media Credit: Meredith Roaten | Hatchet Photographer

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.

The first time I walked into Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe, I was certain I had discovered El Dorado. I brought friends, visiting family, roommates and Tinder dates to this hidden gem, to share my secret corner of D.C. I could show off my literary prowess and knack for seeking out adventure in a mystical place that I, and I alone, knew about.

Nearly four years and at least 30 listicles of “must-visit places in D.C.” later, I’ve accepted that I am not special for having “discovered” one of the area’s most popular bookshops.

Fortunately, I’ve felt those knowing, wonderful feelings of discovery and pride time and time again at The Hatchet. I’ve felt it when breaking a story that I hope will improve life for students or faculty, and I’ve felt it when holding my own in conversations about higher education finances and faculty healthcare benefits.

I’ve felt it when reading my reporters’ and colleagues’ coverage of student politics, complicated lawsuits, restaurant openings and campus crime with fair, thorough and mature reporting. For three semesters, I have carried a warm glow in my heart – the knowledge that I am part of an incredible organization that has persisted for 113 years.

Even on weeks when news is slow, sources are unresponsive and deadlines seem to arrive earlier than expected, I’ve walked around campus feeling like I have the world’s greatest secret on the tip of my tongue. It’s something I want to scream at everyone I pass, but I keep it to myself for fear it will lose its meaning.

The people I’ve come to know and love at The Hatchet are some of the funniest, cleverest and most supportive individuals I’ve known at GW. Our relationship, our work, and our unfailing desire to spend countless hours in a smelly townhouse together is inexplicable to anyone who hasn’t lived it.

We’ve seen each other through our proudest moments and ugliest crying faces. We’ve exchanged thousands of texts and tweets, stuffed our faces at every vendor on campus and lost track of our inside jokes. Being a part of this family is like waking up every day and discovering another secret bookshop I didn’t know existed.

Behind the door of 2148 F St., between black, white and blue pages of newsprint, I’ve discovered El Dorado, Atlantis and Kramerbooks all rolled into one.

Jeremy Diamond – Missing deadline for you struck the fear of God in me like nothing else. You gave me my first Hatchet tears, but you also gave me my first front page story, coolest protest coverage and a love for covering campus news. Thanks for trusting me.

Volume 112 – I am so lucky to have been a part of this family. You welcomed a complete beginner with open hearts and arms in the middle of the year. Whether it was writing, reporting, humor or Twitter, I learned something from each and every one of you. I am still on the Hatchet and writing this 30 because of you.

Zach – You are one of the few people who can give me a reality check without making me feel like an idiot. Thank you for letting me rant about life, jobs and Hatchet stress, even when you have a million other things to stress about. I’m happy to have you in my life, and I hope we can see each other more as I become a real adult.

Colleen – How many times can we bond “for the first time” about both being Midwesterners? You’re more than Minnesota-nice to me. When I showed up to an editor interview two volumes ago, completely clueless and focused only on going abroad the next semester, I had no idea you were seeing something in me that I didn’t see in myself. Having you as my editor-in-chief was the loveliest of experiences, but it doesn’t come close to having you as my friend. Thank you for everything, past, present and future.

Jeanine – You’ll forever remain one of the coolest people I know. I miss our chats about life, love, literature and feminism. I really can’t wait to see where you go in life. Wherever you go and whatever you do, I know I’ll be reading internet listicles worshipping you.

Yonah, Emily, Anna and Zach – Thank you for bringing our stories to life this year. I’ve enjoyed getting to know all of you and watching you interact as a team. I can’t wait to show off more of your gorgeous graphics and front pages to everyone I know. Zach, best of luck in all your travels and adventures. And Emily… @ me next year.

Melissa H. – You led the opinions team with such poise this volume and worked tirelessly to put out solid, conversation-starting content every week. You’re already doing an incredible job welcoming Volume 114, I’m confident the staff is in excellent hands.

Irene – I’m so happy I was exposed to your secret sassy side while working on way too many group projects in sociology. You’re the opposite of the Cowardly Lion. I know you’ll fearlessly coach the new team to opine confidently, push boundaries and portray diverse opinions. #Gramsci2020

Eva – My sounding board, Twitter hero, friend and de facto neighbor. You are a damn patient woman. You don’t get half the appreciation you deserve for everything that gets thrown at you. Thank you for dealing with my rants, pettiness and general chaos in a thoughtful, kind manner. Anyone who has you on their side is well-equipped to take on anything. Take some time for yourself – you deserve it.

Ryan – You have been an absolute godsend this year. There would likely be no finance content without you to give me the Reader’s Digest version of 990s, financial reports and basically every other number I encounter. Thanks for your companionship on the journey to find my center and find my SOUL. At some point in my career, I hope I can write a story about landscaping or bees that will make you proud.

Nathan – I didn’t think I would be around to see our ship fully launch into the 21st century, and never by such a capable, talented captain. Thanks for always answering our dumb questions and keeping us online. You are a seriously cool human, and The Hatchet will forever be better because of you.

Sam and Dan – I’ve laughed a lot and fought a lot with both of you for different reasons, but nothing could diminish the amount of respect I have for each of you. Sam: Thank you for making me smile, even when you’re driving me crazy, and for obsessing over Harry Potter with me when surrounded by muggles. I’m holding out for a round of Putt Putt Travels Through Time. Dan: Thank you for keeping me in line, getting me photos even when I am the worst budgeter and taking good care of my news-photo babies. I hope you never have to take out the townhouse trash again.

Olivia – If there’s one thing I wanted to get out of college, it was a no-holds-barred karaoke session to “I Believe in a Thing Called Love.” Thank you for giving that to me. You are a fabulous photographer and I know you’ll lead the team to do big things next year. Keep the fiesta going.

Colleen and Catherine – Thanks for all the finishing touches, and for pointing out the most glaring of errors. I don’t know what I, or my stories, would be without you. We have been so privileged to have research assistants who are also both extremely talented reporters, I’m looking forward to seeing tons of news and culture coverage from you both next volume.

Melissa S. and Emma – Copy queens! Thanks for saving me many a time and keeping me from looking like a moron. Seeing your smiling faces during staff meeting and around campus is always lovely. You are a superb team and the next year of content is in good hands.

Halley, Blair, Jake and Kellie – It’s been a ton of fun sharing a floor and getting to know all of you this year. The incoming team has some big shoes to fill. Best of luck in all of your adventures!

Max – Thanks for nourishing us all with your sweet smile, positive attitude and knowledge of the most important One Direction news this year. Looking forward to seeing the culture section grow and improve even more next volume.

Mark E. – If there’s anything more impressive than playing sports really well, it’s writing about sports really well. I’ll let you know if I find anyone who can do it! All kidding aside – you are incredibly talented, not only in game coverage, but in putting out thorough, smart stories about off-court politics. I loved reading your section this year and I can’t wait to see where you go next. Thanks for being the life of the party and always wanting to take selfies with me.

Matt – How much money would it take for you to eat an entire hard-boiled egg with the shell on? I hope we never have to find out. Even though I still know nothing about you, I think I’ve gotten to know your mind pretty well, and I know that you are a thoughtful, dedicated thinker and writer who is going to take the sports section to new heights. Stay secretive and keep questioning everything. And get some sleep.

Liz – You don’t need me or any number of books to tell you that you are one badass lady. I’ve loved laughing and lifting my way through this volume with you. I’ll forever text you with snarky comments and conspiracy theories about bloggers we don’t know. Keep telling it like it Liz.

Sera – It has been … a time. It was such a joy to be on the news team with you – I would not want to sit through Faculty Senate with anyone else. The way your face lights up when you’re writing a story that you love is wonderful and inspiring. Thanks for joining me outside of the townhouse on such random adventures. Pretty sure my quads are still sore from our Georgetown workout. Keep getting to know yourself, and remember that you have your whole life ahead of you to worry about being in the right place. The time will pass anyway and things always, always work out. Much love.

Justine – I’m sure you’re tired of everyone telling you how nice you are, so instead I’ll say how wonderful it’s been getting to know your spicy side. You dove into your role as metro editor so smoothly and powerfully, I can’t believe you’ve only been doing it for the past few months. You are hilarious, dedicated and one talented journalist. Thanks for always catching my obscure Disney references.

Elise – Most people hope to have just one amazing story, one project that they work so hard on, it becomes their claim to fame. You’ve pulled that off practically once a month or more since you’ve been a news editor, and I couldn’t be more impressed. I am honored and surprised whenever you ask me a question, since the only piece of advice I have to offer you is to finish your damn food. You have the patience of a saint, you work so hard and it shows. Keep it up.

Jacqueline – It’s been a blast flying our freak flags together. I’ll always appreciate your impressions, your dark humor, your genuine attempts to understand what I’m trying to say or reference, your punk playlists and your strength. You are a powerful woman who has the ability to push through anything and do what needs to be done, even if you have to ignore the entire world crumbling around you. I am a better writer and editor because of you. Stay sexy and don’t get murdered.

Ellie – I’m sorry for telling everyone at your birthday that you were almost a Rockette. And I’m sorry for repeating it now. It’s an interesting factoid, but it’s far from my favorite thing about you. Ahead of that, I’d have to list: your kindness, your maturity, your spunk and sass, your diligence, your calm approach to seemingly impossible tasks and challenges, your fearlessness and your ability to handle an incredibly draining job with grace and passion. You have worked so hard this year and I am proud to have been a part of your team.

Volume 114 – A new president, a soon-to-be completed fundraising campaign, paying off debt, inching closer to campus capacity, swarms of bees – I’m pretty jealous that you’ll get to write all of my dream stories. Being on Hatchet staff is such a special gift, so use it to your advantage. Don’t be afraid to pitch an out-of-the-box story idea, brainstorm unheard-of collaborations, try to snag a big administrator interview or to cover controversial events. Show the rest of GW and the media world that print is not dead, news isn’t all fake and the future of journalism is promising.

Barbara – Seeing your face at my weekly meetings and around campus always makes me smile. You’ve brought such sunshine to The Hatchet, and we are so lucky to have you. You’re going to crush it next year leading the sports section. Keep Matt in line.

Annie and Josh – It’s been so exciting for me to work with you, watching your writing and reporting improve with every story. Meredith is extremely lucky to have you on her team next volume, as is the news section generally. Keep taking stories, pursuing new angles, learning more about your beats and questioning authority. You both have precisely what it takes.

My awesome team of reporters – You can’t tell from my sometimes-sassy and oft-panicked emails, but I brag about you all the time. Thank you for coming to meetings and social events, taking stories, covering events and writing blogs. I hope you stick with The Hatchet, or at the very least, with reporting and writing. You all have so much to give, and it’s been such a special experience to watch you develop your skills over a few short months. I am one proud mama.

Meredith and Leah – You made my job as an editor not only easier, but more fun than I thought possible. Thank you for stepping up so early on, taking multiple stories per week, running from the Vern to cover protests, taking your own photos, pitching your own ideas and having a vision for yourselves and for The Hatchet. I knew within weeks that I wanted you both on staff. I’ve loved watching a friendship blossom between the two of you – having a partner-in-crime who understands your stresses and struggles is so important in this organization, and I know you will support and encourage each other invaluably over the next few years. Leah: You are one of the most naturally gifted writers I’ve had the pleasure to edit, and I can’t wait to read even more content from you. The sustainability beat needs someone like you to nurture it and I am confident you’ll do a superlative job. Meredith: I have thrown you into wild circumstances, stories with no direction and projects with crazy numbers again and again, and you’ve come out stronger every time. You are more than capable of taking over these beats and doing an amazing job. You have a great group of reporters on your team, and I know you will be the mama duck they deserve. I will always be here to guide you through the muck of finance coverage and to remind you that things will only get easier. You have so much to be proud of and so much to look forward to.

Victoria – Trying to write this 30 is something that has made me say “Hmmmmm” many times. It’s taking a lot of willpower not to just paste some Meryl memes and Clickhole quizzes. Somehow, we’ve managed to pack years worth of inside jokes and bizarre references into a few short months. You are my go-to when I need some hip lingo explained, when I find a hilarious typo in something important or when I just need someone to appreciate the absurdity of internet culture with me. Thanks for laughing at the worst of my puns. I know wherever we both end up, we will be crossing paths one way or another. Your friendship makes me feel dr*nk AND h*gh.

Tyler – I have never cry-laughed with someone so much after knowing them for only a year. You really “get” me, sometimes on a spooky level. Thank you for fixing my pull quotes, bringing your chess set everywhere, hopping on the Vex at any hour of the night, trusting me to pick movies and joining me in the worst humor the townhouse has ever seen. I thoroughly enjoy every one of our debates, conversations and hypothetical ranting nonsense. I’m pretty jealous that Lillianna gets you as her right-hand man next year, anyone would be lucky to be your other half. I may be ruthless, but at least I’m not Loveless-less. Hope all is well down in Mississipp-uh.

Andrew/And/& – You take a lot of shit from us (including the most absurd nickname on the planet), but we don’t tell you enough how lucky we are to have you. You are a wonderful listener, a hard worker and a kind leader. I love your sense of humor, and I’ll never forget you reading terrifying ghost stories aloud in my apartment. Team News 114 couldn’t ask for a better coach, teacher, dad or friend.

Cort – Why do I feel like I’m dropping my first-born off at college? I am so proud of the editor you’ve become this semester. Between deadlines, Faculty Senate meetings, joint reporter meetings and panicked texts, we have gotten to know each other’s minds so well. I can talk to you for hours about my weirdest, innermost thoughts without fear. I’m constantly shocked by how similar we are and by how much I’ve learned from you. Thank you for trading books with me, for not judging me during the aftermath of the infamous reporter mixer, for giving me pep talks I didn’t even know I needed and for being unapologetically yourself, one of the kindest, most interesting people I’ve come across. Whatever next year brings, I’m so grateful to have you in my life.

Robin – Being friends with you is worth more than all the doll hairs in the world. I’m really glad you kept an open mind about me despite all the fake news surrounding my reputation. You are a damn good reporter and I’ve loved watching you churn out metro stories and features over the past few semesters. You were a fantastic reporter liaison this semester, and you played such a crucial role in getting my babies excited about being editors. Thanks for hosting social events against your will. I love you and I can’t wait to see your name next to the words “Pulitzer Prize-winning.” Any questions?

Lillianna – A few weeks ago, we invented a dance. We face each other and move our arms fist over fist, going faster and faster until the beat drops and we dissolve into giggles. The past year and a half on the news team with you has been a bit like that, starting off slow and speeding up exponentially with every turn. Now, it’s about to stop abruptly and I’m so conflicted about how I feel. On one hand, I’m going to really miss seeing you every day, twinning with you, making up names for campus restaurants and working on stories late into the night together. On the other hand, I am so excited to watch where you take this paper. You have already made everyone feel so welcome and gotten your bold ideas off the ground. I know Volume 114 is going to take the Hatchet to new heights. Thank you for loving me even though I’m nowhere near as cool as you, and for getting on board with ~arm movements~. No matter where I am in the world next year, I promise I’ll be along for the ride. I’ll never let you go (hey oh ma ma).

My family – Mom, Dad, Baba, Taylor and Payton: Thank you for reading my stories, explaining academia, understanding when I’m trapped in the townhouse and can’t call back, for sharing memes and for supporting me unconditionally. I love you all.

Glenn – No great pizza mix-ups to report, unfortunately. Please know that I accidentally say “Ripples” instead of “Hatchet” more often than I should. You have been more supportive, caring and understanding than I deserve throughout my time cheating on you with The Hatchet. Thank you for waiting in the townhouse for hours before we go to dinner, for listening to me scream about stories you couldn’t care less about and for having brunch on Saturdays because prodo is on Sundays. Most importantly, thank you for the mantra that’s gotten me through these three wild semesters. My default setting will always be happy because of our friendship.

Mark – I remember telling you in Maastricht that I was hired as an editor on my student paper, but I had no idea then how big a role it would play in my life, and consequently, in yours. Thank you for making the effort to understand that budgeting isn’t about money, for letting me cry on Skype, for caring about stories happening on a tiny college campus in a city on the other side of the planet and for always being patient with me. Even with 4,000 miles between us, I rest easy knowing you are my biggest fan and my strongest support. All my love.

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