Tiffany Garcia: Carving my own path

Media Credit: Danielle Towers | Assistant 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.

As a freshman on campus, home for me was thousands of miles away in California. I felt lost on GW’s campus, uncomfortable with D.C.’s summer humidity and desperate for an excuse to leave the Vern more often.

I signed up for tons of clubs and jumped between orgs during the first few weeks, trying to find something that clicked. Ironically though, my first experience with The Hatchet happened by chance. While mingling at an SMPA event, I ended up chatting with a former news editor who introduced me to some of her friends and invited me to visit the townhouse to see what they did. It was awesome. Stepping out of the townhouse that day, I remember getting back to my residence hall and immediately opening up the application to join as a reporter.

After that, I was in the townhouse… a lot. I took any chance to stop by and help while the editors worked on Fridays, or stayed late after our reporter meetings just to chat. At one point, I had to be banned from taking stories while recovering from a concussion during the winter. Working for news, the campus that had once seemed daunting became a space I felt comfortable with. I loved getting to work on student stories and learning about areas of campus I wouldn’t have given a second thought to otherwise. I loved getting to layout pages in the paper as a graphics editor and goofing off with the basement gang on Sundays.

Since I’m already being cheesy, I’ll also say: you don’t realize how attached you’ve become to a place until it’s gone. When I came back that fall, I felt weird logging into my life at GW from my childhood bedroom on the other side of the country. It was isolating without the community I had built for myself over the last year.

Still, The Hatchet provided that connection to campus I needed. As the pandemic unfolded, I dove deep into the student life beat and got to craft, pitch and edit my own stories as a news editor. Our beat worked so hard throughout the year to think outside of the box on stories affecting a large population of students spread throughout the world. Working for The Hatchet alongside my friends gave me a reason to keep trying even as my mental health struggled during the virtual school year.

This year, I took a step back from the paper, but it wasn’t the same coming back to campus without the townhouse there to welcome me. I’m so glad I rejoined this spring. Even though my time spent with The Hatchet this semester was short, there is no other way I would have wanted to wrap up my unconventional college experience. This community of dedicated, kind-hearted and creative journalists I’ve gotten to work with over the last three years has never ceased to both impress and inspire me and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to have worked alongside them.

So, to the people who helped make this place home, and who have always pushed me to be my best self, thank you.

Sarah Roach: About a month before sophomore year, I thought about transferring from GW. My mental health was in a bad place, and I considered taking the semester off to apply to other places. I reached out to you just to talk and you helped ease so much of my stress, I decided to stay. It’s the people that make this place so amazing, and as EIC for the first two years of my time on the paper, I was constantly in awe of your dedication to The Hatchet. I am so grateful to have worked with you.

Abby & Lauren: My student life team. You both are a joy to be around, and I’ve loved seeing what you’ve done with the beat this year. I had so much fun getting to crash student life meetings this year and joke around with you guys about the campus tea. We’ll always share an unnecessary amount of knowledge about the Student Association.

Isha Trivedi: My jaw dropped when you told me you’d reached 250 bylines, but I wasn’t surprised. I admire how dedicated you are to the stories you report on and how you approach each one with careful attention to detail and an understanding that words have power. I’m sad that we weren’t news editors in person, but I don’t know if the townhouse would have been able to handle the chaos of us two. I’m so honored to call you my friend.

Nick Pasion: I love how one year ago you were asking me whether you should apply for a news editor position, and are now entering the next volume as a senior news editor. Every week I look forward to getting to read your bylines. You are an amazing writer. Thanks for keeping me sane and always making me laugh on our Zooms while we edited drafts during the virtual school year.

Sidney Lee: Taking video and web production virtually was not it, but I’m so glad we got to be class buddies and take them together. You are so creative, and genuinely one of the nicest people I know. It’s been so fun getting to be a part of the paper with you these past three years, and I can’t wait to see what your career brings for you.

Jared & Jarrod: Both of you have been such good friends to me during my time here. I have no idea how you both handled SNE – especially with such grace, compassion for the news team and leadership. Thank you for always making me laugh during team check-ins, pitch meetings and editing, and always hyping me up when stories were struggling. Thank you, Jared, for sometimes waiting hours into the night for my drafts when I was at my worst and being one of my first friends on the paper freshman year. To Jarrod, I’m extremely excited to see what you’ll do with the paper next year as EIC.

Xenia, Katelyn & Jane: I am so grateful for friends like you. Your energy is unmatchable, and there are no bad moments when our group is together, from themed parties to post-Gelman movie nights. Thank you for letting me run my pitches and drafts by you all and vent about anything Hatchet-related. At some point, “Sorry, I have Hatchet,” became part of the norm, but I never felt judged even when I’d have to cancel last minute. You’ve always been my biggest cheerleaders, and I’m so thankful.

Mom, Dad & Deanna: I came home my first break from school with a stack of printed newspapers stuffed into the bottom of my carry-on to show you all so excitedly. When COVID happened, we all had to adjust to a new lifestyle and I remember how shocked you were when you realized just how much time I poured into this paper. Thank you for always supporting me and reading my stories, I know it wasn’t easy to wake up on Sundays to the sound of me in Zoom meetings at 7 am. I am so grateful for you all.


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