If there’s one thing about my college experience that I can look back on and genuinely hyena-laugh at, it’s the fact that there was ever a time that I was scared to join The Oracle.
All throughout my first year at SUNY New Paltz as an aspiring journalism student, I stalked this dear organization’s socials. I was always so intimidated by the fancy editor headshots, in-depth feature stories and those long production nights in that old, orange-walled office. I knew it was going to be nothing but beneficial for me, but my 17-year-old self’s naive fear of being an embarrassment to the profession held me back.
All of a sudden, it was my sophomore year — Spring 2021 — a dreadful time to be an on-campus student. With nothing to do because of lingering COVID-19 restrictions, a limited number of friends in the area and a downward-spiraling well-being, I saw the “looking for copy editors” Instagram post on my feed and decided, “Ah, why not?”
After applying and writing my first article, a review of since-defunct New Paltz band Bby Carrots’ newest single at the time, I was invited to the first production night. I ventured on the grueling two-minute walk from Capen Hall to SUB 62/63 — since our current office was still being built at the time — and opened the doors to what would later become the most integral part of my undergrad career.
19-year-old me had no idea that the two other masked newbies sitting in the neighboring swiveling chairs in that room would become her two best friends. She had no idea that her initial struggle to let go of the Oxford comma in her writing would turn into muscle memory when it came to editing other writer’s articles. She had no idea that those long production nights, eyes struggling to read any more pieces about Congressman Pat Ryan’s latest happenings, would turn into memories that she will forever cherish.
I’m tearing up, so I will be moving onto the personal thank yous section of my goodbye, which might make things worse.
Fynn: You are truly so talented and dedicated at your craft and it awes me everyday. Even though you’ll be leaving with me, I will never forget our cute conversations at the printer during production night, being read your Wattpad chapters at the editing table and our talks about New Paltz band members as if they were celebrities. I know that whatever you end up doing next, you’re going to blow it out of the water. I love you, and stay crazy!
Lilly: What would production night be if I didn’t hear Fiona Apple blasting from your headphones right next to me? I’m going to miss gossiping with you when we really aren’t supposed to. You are such a skilled writer and I genuinely cannot wait to see what your next news section and Substack pieces will be about. I love you, and here’s to actually having that wine and “Big Time Rush” night we’ve dreamed about in the office for hours when I come back to visit.
Jeremy: *Cue foghorn sound effect* No one will ever make me crack up during a serious, late-night down-bad production night like you do. You wow me each issue with your AP Style knowledge and the way you flawlessly write the best feature stories. I’m already missing our layout struggles and complaints about writers not meeting word counts and giving photos. You are going to continue to breathe life into this paper; I know it. I love you, and always remember — “just enjoy it.”
Greta: My art consultant! I am so glad that I managed to help convince you to join. Your presence lights up the office every meeting, and your artwork is so adored and has changed the paper forever in the best way possible. Doing your coloring pages will forever be a highlight of being in the WFNP studio on Thursday nights, and I cannot wait to continue doing them all the way from Staten Island. I love you and Wallace the Hedgehog infinitely.
Thursday Girl #1 and Wheat Eater, Kyra: To think that I was horrified of you when we first met as A&E copy editors because you were on the soccer team, and how I was proved so horribly wrong. It makes me tear up out of happiness to see the ways that we’ve progressed as journalists since we first met. From using Oracle knowledge to teach Pantuso how to do WordPress in The Little Rebellion, to writing a whole article in 30 minutes in Feature Writing class, I also can’t imagine having a better Capstone partner-in-crime. I can’t wait to visit you in England. I love you and will forever be so proud of the things you have accomplished during our time here. Congrats on graduating buddy!
Thursday Girl #2 and Non-Wheat Eater, Zoe: I couldn’t have asked for a better captain to get this almost-sinking ship out of the storm. We have truly grown so much together, and definitely have seen each other at our literal worsts. I am forever in awe at the work you have done and continue to do to help make this paper great, whether it’s staying up until 2 a.m. with me surviving only on Asian Fusion California rolls, Dunkin’ runs, traveling to Kingston to a healthcare festival or driving to a suspicious parking lot in Wappingers Falls to pick up the papers while blasting nothing but What? songs. Even though I’m not sure how you’ll run this paper without me and Kyra, I know you got this. (I’m joking!) I love you forever — we did it.
My Family, during the “Dark Ages” (Remy, Kenny, Sam and, R.I.P., Lily, Emily, Gabby and Morgan): We truly have been through the absolute trenches together. We witnessed this paper at a time where it was falling apart and through sheer hard work and dedication, we built it up again, bigger and better. I hope you all know that we are bonded for life. I will never forget the bathroom hideouts, the laughing-to-avoid-crying, the meditation room trips and the hours spent terrorizing YikYak with the ambiguous phrase “Gunk Skunk.” I love you and am so excited to see what the future holds for you all.
My Lovely Newbie Copy Editors/A&E Contributing Writers (There’s so many of you): It’s been an honor being your A&E page editor. I feel like such a happy mother duck. You all bring such a unique energy and creativity to the section through your pitches and writing, and I am so unbelievably proud of the work you all put into making this paper amazing. I cannot wait to read your bylines as the years go on. If there’s one piece of advice to remember me by: use quotes while talking about song names, not italics! I love you all.
Not to quote The Grateful Dead, but it’s New Paltz. What a long, strange trip it has been working at The Oracle. I have suffered through sleepless nights of writing about Snug’s performances and Paul Dano movies, 3 a.m. “my article’s gonna be late” texts from my writers, hours spent on the SUB 4th floor, post-publication piece drama and learning Adobe InDesign — yet Zoe still yells at me for messing the layout up.
Truth be told, all of those struggles have strengthened my skills as a journalist and brought me closer with everyone on staff, who are truly my family. If I didn’t dive headfirst in the deep water and joined this paper, my experience as a journalism major at this school would have a big, stinking gap in it. It hasn’t always been easy, but I have no regrets. Not only has this paper been a resume-booster, but it’s been a powerful outlet and a safe space that I always knew I could turn to, especially after this crazy, life-changing past year I’ve had. If you, dear reader, are like young me, hesitant on joining this paper, take my word for it — you’ll never look back.
I leave you all with my favorite lyric ever, from the LCD Soundsystem song “All My Friends.” “I wouldn’t trade one stupid decision for another five years of life.” Be well Oracle; as I move on to become a little fish in the big pond of NYU, you’ll always have a special piece in my beating heart, forever and ever.