Shwetha Srinivasan: Coming full circle

Media Credit: Olivia Anderson | 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.

The first time I heard of The Hatchet was when I was writing my college essay for GW. I wasn’t greatly interested in journalism as a career nor was I particularly passionate about writing. But for some reason, The Hatchet made an impression on the high school senior living 8,000 miles away in Mumbai.

As someone who didn’t have a chance to tour colleges in the U.S., The Hatchet (and the virtual map) was how I got to know GW. In fact, my college essay ended up having a whole section about why I liked The Hatchet. And looking at my last three years at this place, the reasons why I was drawn to it ended up being why I stuck with it.

When I first joined The Hatchet spring semester of freshman year, I was still trying to find my niche at GW. I’m not sure how I ended up on the Vern since I wasn’t part of any of the academic programs, but I guess some questions will never be answered. Living on the Vern freshman year, unsurprisingly, made me feel disconnected from the rest of GW. And starting off college in a different country, this feeling of disconnectedness only made it harder to acclimate to GW and the U.S.

When I started writing for the opinions section, I started with a small goal of wanting to be more connected to the GW community and to be involved on campus. Over time, however, it became so much more. As my writing evolved, I became more interested in writing about the experiences of international students and South Asians. The columns I distinctly remember and am the most proud of are the ones that have been fuelled by my personal experiences. Through The Hatchet, I felt like I had a space where my voice was amplified and my thoughts received attention from the GW community. The Hatchet made GW feel like home.

I never thought I’d end up as the contributing editor. I’m glad that were people along the way who encouraged me and believed in me. When I had a chance to apply to be the contributing opinions editor at the end of sophomore year, I didn’t jump on it. However, at the end of junior year, I no longer wanted The Hatchet to be only a student org for which I occasionally wrote. I knew I wanted more from my Hatchet experience. And that’s exactly what I got as an editor.

These last few months have allowed me to reflect on my time at The Hatchet. I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with a group of people that was hardworking, dedicated and passionate about their work. Through changing townhouses, these people have been a constant.

Although I graduated in December, I often feel like I’m still going to GW. It doesn’t help that I can still go to Gelman and attend free basketball games (not complaining). But then I remember that I’m not part of ed board or ops meetings and I know I’m not in college anymore. Out of all the lofty goals and ambitions I had set before coming to GW, I’m happy that this was one of the few I truly followed through on.

I’m thankful to everyone on The Hatchet, especially to the following people. My time as an opinions writer and my time on staff wouldn’t have been the same with you all.

Irene: I’m so thankful and glad to have had you as my editor and my friend. You’ve taught me to be a better writer and editor. And more importantly, I’ve admired how you’re unapologetically you in your writing — something I’m still trying to figure out. I miss us panicking over staff editorials and cartoons and our inability to stay on topic. Our shenanigans as two Asian editors of the opinions section couldn’t have been possible without your sarcasm, wit, support and friendship.

Melissa H: I’ve always appreciated your strong voice as an editor and more so, as a part of our editorial board. I’m looking forward to seeing where your voice takes you.

Lillianna: Your patience and guidance as an editor has unquestionably improved my writing. Thank you for encouraging me to make my columns more personal. You have been incredible as EIC this year – Your strength in weathering us through changes this year and your hardwork and dedication to making sure that we always do our best has continued to set The Hatchet on an upward trajectory.

Renee: Your musings and laughs have made ops meetings more engaging. I’m excited to see you continue to bring your wandering mind, fun energy and perspective to ed board and ops meetings.

Ed board: Anna, you were a balancing voice on ed board. Your ability to take a step back and think about issues has been valuable. Melissa S., your knack for starting off and enabling discussions has made ed board discussions livelier. Matt, I’m glad there was a fellow basketball and sports aficionado on board. You always brought a unique and thoughtful perspective and self-awareness to our discussions. I can’t say I miss your unending ideas for op-eds and ed board but nevertheless I appreciated your enthusiasm. Tyler, I’m not quite sure what you do yet, but I know that ed board wouldn’t have been the same without you. I’ll remember the passion with which you argued during every editorial board meeting and the way you stood your ground.

Liz: You always bring in positivity, passion and infectious enthusiasm in all your interactions — this will serve you well in your role as EIC. I’m confident that Volume 115 is in good hands under your leadership.

Grace: Thanks for putting up with my never-ending cartoon requests. We wouldn’t have had a functioning opinions section without you – so thankful for your dedication — sometimes to an unhealthy extent — and understanding.

To my family: None of this would have come to fruition without your unending love and support — Thank you.

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