It was my final night as a news copy editor as we were putting the final touches on issue 22 of the spring 2014 semester. The copy desk was littered with food remnants, my editor-in-chief was coming down from her late-night dance break to the Space Jam theme song to try to liven us up and we were all in need of some tape to keep our eyelids open.
When production came to an end around 6 a.m., I could sense that something was different. The usual never-ending joking had subsided a bit, and it really hit me for real that the seniors I’d admired so much on staff were leaving. Looking at them, as a freshman, I didn’t know how that felt — especially for Cat Tacopina, my editor at the time. I couldn’t begin to imagine the bittersweet feelings that were stirring up behind her usual collected self.
I put down my belongings as I was getting ready to leave and gave her the biggest hug. She looked at me, eyes half welling with tears. “You’re going to run this paper one day.”
Half of me wanted to believe her, but the other half was absolutely terrified at the thought of taking on such an important responsibility. But really, three and a half years later, the terrifying thing has not been getting there. It’s saying goodbye to something you’ve given every ounce of your being to.
Every week since the first semester of my freshman year, The Oracle has been my heart and soul. The amount of time I’ve spent writing, reporting, planning, and stressing over my work for this paper is immeasurable. I’ve quelled near breakdowns, mediated inter-staff disputes, juggled the work of other positions on top of my own, made tough staff cuts and have brought myself to the brink of exhaustion for the success of this paper and those who work for it. But you will never hear me say for a minute that it wasn’t worth it.
Looking back at what I’m leaving, I’m feeling a lot of emotions. After tonight, my lanyard will no longer be weighed down by the old familiar weight of the clunky Oracle office keys. My Wednesday nights will no longer be spent packed into a small, orange-walled room with 12 of the most amazing journalists I’ve ever met, working on the most amazing publication I’ve ever been a part of. And most sorrowfully, my secret beam of pride as I open up page two of each new issue to see my name above “Editor-in-Chief” is ending.
Despite the sadness, I have so much to feel proud of. Semester after semester, my dedicated team has worked with me to no end to ensure the quality, credibility and integrity of this paper. We’ve brought everything to the page from national news stories to the most personal of profiles to provide our readers stories that resonate with them. That means something.
At The Oracle, half the joy of the work is seeing your name in print every week. The other half are the special people that work alongside you to get it there. It takes a special person to do this type of work — so if you’re still reading by now, I’d like to dedicate the rest of my reflection to the inspiring people that have made these past four years so great.
Bill Clark, you’ve helped me through more than you know throughout my time here, especially over the past year when trying situations left me feeling a little lost. Thank you for trusting me and believing in my abilities as editor even more than myself. I’m forever grateful.
Cat, my original Oracle mom. I feel blessed to have joined under your leadership and to have had such an inspiring female role model during my first semester. Your tenacity and dedication to this paper introduced me to the madness that would consume my life for the next four years. From you, I learned that it isn’t always easy being queen, but it’s sure as hell worth the trouble. Thank you for believing in me. Also, don’t think ANYONE has forgotten about your diarrhea column.
Lief, I’ve channeled your calming presence in the newsroom during my semesters in charge. Your success in the sports journalism world is impeccable — but I think you know we’re still waiting on your big chip breakthrough.
John Tappen, you pushed me to take on more challenging news stories and gave me so many opportunities to grow during my first semester as a copy editor. I’m thankful for your kind way of giving constructive criticism and I’ll never forget how it felt when one of my stories finally made the front page.
Suzy, your ability to impersonate a Jewish mother and drop “Mean Girl” references on a dime is like none other. I’ll never forget your legendary Delivery Doctor order for Noshi’s, partly because Melissa filmed the entire thing.
Anthony DeRosa, your words of encouragement and faith in my ability to lead meant everything. Your reign as news editor pushed me to become a better reporter and to not be afraid to ask the tough questions. Wherever you are in the universe, I hope we cross paths sometime soon.
Princess Abbott, my country music-loving journo sista. We were like the yin and yang as top two, everlastingly balancing maniacal rage with poise and grace. I’m super proud of the work you’ve done out in the real world and can’t wait to see where else you go in life as the badass lady journo that you are. Kisses and nugs. P.S.- when are you bringing me to TOC?
Nate, being in charge together for two semesters wasn’t nearly enough. Your life wisdom and journalism advice always came at the perfect time to get me through the week’s biggest challenge. Working with you taught me to be more open to crazy ideas, because sometimes they’ll lead to something great. I went to the corner spot, by the way. I looked over at your empty green chair and shed a tear. Miss you.
Jon Perry, your legacy will reign over the office as long as that staff photo with a giant shot of your face superimposed in the background exists. Your practicality of bringing a lunch box everywhere is something that isn’t appreciated nearly as much. I appreciate you.
Kintura, you are one hell of a reporter, fashionista, jokester and cheerleader, and you knock everything you set your mind to out of the park. You’re going to do great things.
Monique, your kind heart and love for the written word is something I will always remember. Thank you for your punchy comedic relief and beautiful feature work you brought to the table while working here.
Young Michael, I’ll never forget how pure you were before letting The Oracle consume you. Not too many of us can say we remember those times. You were my first-ever contributing writer and you’ll always have a special place in my heart. The sports section is in amazing hands and I can’t wait to see the greatness you’ll bestow upon it as editor. Also, you heard it here first: if Fresh Paltz ever does return, please turn it into a style column. The world is begging you.
Jack, your ability to lead and not give up on new ideas is something that’s going to bring great things to the paper next semester. I’m forever thankful for the extensive political expertise you’ve brought to the table in your time here and I think I speak for many when I say your interest in the real issues cause us to care more, too.
Melanie, you are a glorious news angel sent down from the heavens. Whether you’re working with others to improve their articles or buckling down to tackle three huge stories at once, watching you grow over the years has made me so proud. The long-standing future of this paper is in your hands, and I’ve never felt more confident that you’ll kick ass.
Amanda, your ability to connect with people and tell their stories in a beautiful way is something I’ve always admired. Never let your passion falter because you’re so talented at what you do! I’m going to miss you so much.
Sam, whether you’re covering the latest headlines in A&E or news, every ounce of work you do is stellar. The passion and heart that you put into your work is something that makes me the proudest editor that ever was. You are an amazing journalist, and I can’t wait to see which magazine titles you’ll pop into next!
Jess, your knack for A&E reporting is something I’ve admired from the minute you joined staff. I’ve also secretly coveted your Kosiner Brothers laptop sticker since then. I hope you continue writing for the section even though you have to formally leave staff. You’re great at it.
Anthony Orza, your dedication to the sports section semester after semester is always bringing new things to the table and I’m so grateful for that. Having you carry on the great legacy of Oracle hockey columns is going to be amazing. Enjoy it!
Rachael, you have impressed me time and time again with your talent and I’m so excited to see your work as news editor. Whether you’re running with a crime story or have got your finger to the pulse of campus news, you’ve got an undeniable knack for this stuff. You’re a superstar and deserve every new opportunity that comes your way.
Erica, Briana and Jackson, I wish you all would have joined sooner! Each of your individual talents shine through on the page and I’ve loved reading your work throughout the semester. Hold down the copy desk and be sure to pass on your wisdom to future newcomers.
Meg, you are the future of this paper. I’m so impressed by your talent at such a young age and am glad we got the chance to work together this semester. Continue to work hard and you’ll rule the land one day!
Holly, David, Matt and Jeannette: your photography has carried this paper to new lengths and I’m so grateful to have been able to work with you all. The Oracle has been blessed with so many talented photographers throughout the years and I know that legacy will be carried on with the hard work of the next generations.
Stefanie and Luke, your sweet attention to detail and love for your craft has shone through with every piece of art you’ve made for us. Cartoonists are hard to come by, but you two always had that unique passion to hear out our crazy ideas and create something amazing from it.
Melissa, we’ve been through it all together and words cannot simply express the amount of gratitude I hold for you. From starting out together as the only freshmen at the copy desk to now being seniors just two weeks away from graduating, I can’t begin to thank you enough for the endless support, laughs, late night editing sessions and time spent brightening my day. Your progress as a female in the sports journalism world makes me so proud, and I encourage you to chase after every opportunity that presents itself to you. You’ve earned every single one.
And with that, signing off for one last time, I lastly would like to recognize our readers for caring about the work we do here. Even the friends and family that I have forcefully delivered Oracles to over the years, desperate to have them share my pride of the latest issue, I thank you.