Habitually Hope: Farewell to my Anchor fam

*Please note that because this is my last column, I am using the oxford comma, dangit. I can break AP rules this one time. This past week I’ve been working really hard to mentally prepare myself for the end of the semester. I have had some really amazing things happen in the last few days, including accepting a full-time job for after graduation. For those of you who read my stressed-out columns throughout this semester, you know this is a huge relief. I’ve also been chipping away at wedding plans, looking for apartments, and deciding what to do the week between graduation and starting my new job.

While I am super excited for the many adventures ahead of me, I am also facing the reality that I am leaving the beautiful Hope College campus to start a completely new stage of life: a stage that doesn’t include going to school for the first time in 18 years.

Looking back over the last four years at Hope, I can honestly say that my senior year has been by far the best. It has been during this last year that I have really been able to sort out where I fit in at Hope. And I’ve made friends with some of the most amazing students on this campus. Many of these friends have come through working at The Anchor. So, because it’s time of the year when every student is allowed to be sappy, I’m going to tell you a little bit about the staff here at The Anchor.

Let’s start with the copy editors: Emily Johnson, Annie Lohrstorfer, and Corben Barnett. These three make up quite the trio. They come into the office in shifts, and with each new shift, the mood in the office changes slightly. Emily brings the sass. She tells things the way she sees them, which is exactly what our staff needs sometimes to keep us in line. Annie joined staff at the beginning of this semester. She works sweetly and diligently. She has been an amazing addition and balances out some of the crazy. Corben (a.k.a white Jesus) is the crazy. I admire his ability to rant even when no one in the room agrees with him.

Then we have Sam Cole, Melissa Bazany, and Jake Lazar. Sam takes many of the beautiful photos that you see scattered throughout different issues of the paper. She is a gifted and talented individual and balances more extracurriculars than a lot of students. Melissa takes care of our website. I’m sure that this seems like it’s probably not the most difficult job given the current state of our website.

BUT! Melissa has been working with Public Affairs and Marketing to roll out our new, and very tasteful, site that should go live in the fall! Jake is our money man, technically referred to as the Ads Manager. Generally, he keeps to himself and works behind the scenes, coming into the office often when no one else is there. However, his apparently deep passion for Star Wars gave him reason to consider a career in satire for The Ranchor in the fall.

Duncan MacLean and Adam Nottoli man the Sports section of the paper. Confession: this is the one section of the paper that I basically never read. However, that doesn’t diminish the enjoyment that I find in working with Duncan and Adam. Adam knows literally every Disney song ever sung, and I have gotten many laughs from finding him passionately lip-syncing “A Whole New World.” According to my mom, Duncan is the “jock who is always on the floor” from what she’s seen in our documentary series this semester. I, however, find Duncan’s ability to creatively entertain himself from the floor to be praiseworthy. For example, if you ever desire to toss an Expo marker so that it lands on the tray on the whiteboard while doing a handstand and singing, Duncan can probably figure it out. And when he falls, well, then you’ll likely find him on the floor complaining about something.

The Voices section is one of the most diverse because a great variety of students choose to write for it, and they can write about whatever they want. Hannah Pikaart is the lucky woman who gets to sort through and edit all of these. Hannah is extraordinarily thoughtful. I don’t think I have ever heard her say something that I haven’t been 100 percent sure she’s thoroughly thought through before letting it come out of her mouth.

While Voices is diverse because of the students who write, Features is uniquely diverse because of its flexibility. Amanda Lowry has written about everything from stress relief to building your own lightsaber. I met Amanda as a prospective student, full of questions and eager to start college. It’s funny to look back on that memory and then think that we work together now. Amanda is just as eager and excited as when I met her, and I’ve never seen her smile leave her face.

Amber Carnahan and Becky Downing run the Arts section. They’ve had some interesting feedback this semester and have done a great job of responding to it. The two of them work together better than any other pair on our staff (sorry, staff). This year has been one of the most interesting in Arts, as they’ve found a great balance between things happening at Hope and also in popular culture.

Alex Belica and Alex Swain make up the AA team for World. Alex B. has really unique interests and angles that he takes on articles and stories. When we were covering the controversy surrounding President Knapp the last few weeks, he was able to provide us with some legal jargon and information that heavily shaped our story. Alex S. is one of the most gifted journalistic writers I know. I remember the first article I read of his. I was shocked at how naturally it comes to him. What you can’t tell by his writing, though, is that he has the most bizarre vernacular of anyone I know. His creativity in creating words and phrases is unmatched.

Alek Molenaar. The campus editor. And you best not forget it. Alek likes to claim that he is the sole editor of the campus section. This is true for this semester, but he could probably do a better job of giving the people who have helped him out some more credit. He also claims to be the most responsible person on staff. And he has a sense of humor and sarcasm that meshes well with almost everyone at The Anchor. In a lot of ways, he is someone who keeps me sane while simultaneously driving me insane.

Our advisor, Mark Lewison, does the best old woman impression. Enough said.

Production Manager is a fancy title for the person on staff who gets stuck with some of the most mind-numbing and most important jobs at The Anchor outside of actually putting together the paper. Sophie Guetzko is our jack-of-all-trades. She is the second-in-command after the Co-Editors-in-Chief. Sophie is genuine and caring. I never question her intentions because goodness runs through her as naturally and as strong as a river runs through a canyon.

Last, but certainly not least, is Nicole Metzler. Together, we lead this family of goofs. Now, I know this sounds cheesy, but Nicole completes me. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed being Co-Editorin-Chief with her because of how well I think we complement each other. I have learned so much from her throughout this school year. To top it off, she has an impeccable sense of humor, and she loves Captain America … a lot.

What do each of these characteristics say about the staff at The Anchor? We’re quirky. The Anchor is probably one of the most eclectic and goofy student groups you could ever be a part of on campus. At the beginning of the year, we all joked about being a family, but that is truly what this staff has become. Even though I look forward to getting a full night of sleep on Mondays from here on out, I am going to miss production nights and staying up until 4 a.m. to see The Anchor unfold each week.

Our staff has put together some amazing issues this school year. We wrote about the terrorist attacks in Paris with a perspective unique to Hope College. We convinced people that we were taken over by the Calvin College newspaper. And we covered the recent controversy surrounding President Knapp better than the major news stations, in my opinion.

I will never forget the memories that I’ve stored up while working for The Anchor. I started as a student just looking for something relevant to my major to add to my resume, but I am leaving a student who is absolutely in love with this student organization. The thought of leaving this family I’ve made here is heartbreaking. I don’t think there is another large group that I will miss more than the people I’ve worked with at The Anchor, both past and present.

If you’re considering applying to work for The Anchor, I hope that you immediately send in your application. Adam and Amber are going to be the new and fearless Co-Editors-inChief, and I trust that they will continue on the legacy of The Anchor for its 130th year.

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