Senior Goodbye: Gabby’s Farewell to The Oracle

Oh, SUNY New Paltz. What a merciless, sanctimonious and extraordinary s**t show you are. 

Throughout the entirety of my three years on this campus, I have gotten bronchitis at least 10 times. Whether that’s because of the black mold that grew between the cracks of the puke-yellow tiles in the bathrooms of Mohonk Hall’s suites (ironic, considering what those stalls must have seen over 50+ years-worth of collegiate Saturday nights), or more likely because of the endless cigarettes we would smoke in stylish, uniform battalions outside the Humanities building regardless of UV index or pollen levels or gale winds is really besides the point. 

The symbolism is clear: this school, these people, our culture — not made for a feeble body. It takes a certain kind of soldier to weather these tumultuous conditions. 

I have seen my peers become physically ill from the food in the dining hall. I have felt the pain of my colleagues as they received anonymous death threats for the investigative work they did in the name of justice. I have heard rallying cries from those that rightfully demand respect and get perpetually denied a seat at the “big-kids” table. I have tried to comprehend how the people who have taught me the most are the ones who are struggling the hardest to make ends meet. 

And it’s not like you were much help! But, at a certain point my lungs began to harden — for better or for worse. 

In the same shaky, exhausted and burn-out breath, I am so infatuated by you and the cinematic experiences I created in our charming town and expansive forests. I carved out my corner of the world in the Gunks, and from a person who spent their entire childhood stuck in traffic on the Long Island Expressway, there is nothing more freeing than being able to scream away frustration on the top of the mountain where human sounds are absorbed by the leaves and you are left alone with your primality. 

On second thought, there is actually nothing more freeing than drunk-stumbling home with some of your best friends after listening to a band (also made up entirely of other best friends) at your favorite bar in town where the bartenders know your name. 

There is absolutely nothing more freeing in the world than getting up at 9 a.m. on a Wednesday to have coffee with the Reverend in Charge of St. Andrews to talk about the future of local music, to then walk across the street to the Vietnamese restaurant where you have worked for the past two years and have most of the town’s orders memorized by heart, to then head home (an infamous home, mind you; people I had never even met before knew what the Mousetrap was, and knew it was the yellow house behind the library) and squeeze in a quick band practice before we headed over to the Pickle Jar or the Bath House or Nebraska or wherever else the music was hot that night to cheer on our classmates and past hookups and new friends and townies as they performed original pieces amongst the cloud of vape smoke and perspiration that hung low in their grimey basement, to then end the night by climbing on top of tractors and run carelessly through the field at the foot of the ridge. Not to sound cliche, but some of these nights were movies. 

In three years, my eyes were opened to new ideas, ears to new music and mind to new opportunities. For that, I will be eternally grateful. You, SUNY New Paltz, have forever altered the course of my future, and for the first time ever I am excited to step into the unknown. If I can survive you, I can survive anything. 

To my friends at The Oracle, allow me to share some of the lessons I learned on this campus to help make the next few years of your survival a bit easier. 

First of all, love the f**k out of each other. These people are your brothers-in-arms and you will see each other at your most vulnerable. You will cry in that office, you will write things that will launch your respective journalism careers (you are all journalists, whether you feel like it or not or whether or you choose to pursue it in the future or not; don’t let anyone tell you otherwise), you will face criticism collectively and need to put all your heads together to figure out how to do better the next time, but you will also laugh harder than you ever possibly could have imagined. It may be trauma-bonding, but I believe that it is the most difficult experiences that create a family. 

In that regard, do not judge each other when there are mistakes made. Unfortunately for us, we are in the public eye and mistakes can be messy and disheartening to endure, but they are inevitable. We are all learning how to be proper civil-servants — how to best serve our community by making sure that all of our peers have the correct information that will allow them to make the most-educated decisions possible — and sometimes you are going to get it wrong. I know I sure have, but it was the patience and backing that I had from all of you that inspired me to keep going. I love each and every one of you individually and as a whole. 

Alyssa, I officially pass the reins to you. You hold the keys to New Paltz’s music kingdom now, and I know that you are going to do amazing things. I have loved growing and learning about photography alongside you, and I hope we can continue to grow together in the future. I truly don’t know how you do it, but you accomplish things at such a prolific volume and you surprise me all the time. I am in awe of you, and I couldn’t think of a better person to take my place. 

Jeremy, you are the funniest b***h I know. Like seriously. Not only are you quick-witted and goofy as all hell, you’re so incredibly smart and I love our conversations about ethics and the future of journalism. Thank you for keeping me in check and giving me stomach cramps from laughing so hard. I will miss you dearly, my friend. 

Lilly, you have been there since the beginning. You were the first person that was kind to me when I joined halfway through the semester and no one knew what to do with me. I will always appreciate that night … you know … in the staircase? With Remy? Genuinely one of the silliest nights I’ve ever lived through. You have grown into such a confident and beautiful person, and I know that your intellect and strength will serve you well into the future. 

Emily, it is a damn shame how quiet you are because everything you say is so real. You are hard-working and humble — the tell-tale signs of a great leader. Though I only know bits and pieces of you, I feel as though we’ve been friends forever. 

Dylan, I wish you were straight because I would marry you. 

Kenny, I feel the same about you. 

Sam, I’ll see you on Fire Island this summer for Zippys. 

Devon, Sara, Amy, Leela, Ava, Jacob, Sophie, Katie, Cassidy, Kyle, Michael and Maggie, Thank you all for your hard work, opinions and constructive criticism. Keep advocating for those whose voices are underrepresented and questioning what is right and what is wrong. You are so deeply appreciated by everyone on this campus, even if they aren’t good at showing it. I’m proud of everything you guys have accomplished, and I will always be a phone call away if you need anything. 

And Zoe, Oh my god, Zoe. I will love you forever. I think the universe brought us together on that fateful day outside the library. You will always be the first person I want to tell things to even when we’re (inevitably, because we’re both going to have the craziest careers ever) thousands of miles apart. I am in awe of your ability to seem strong even when everything is falling apart behind the scenes. You ground me, and I would not have been able to accomplish what I have these past three years if it wasn’t for you. Thank you for answering the phone every time I call, for inviting me into the fold of things without question and always being down for an adventure. We started as colleagues and ended up as best friends, and I couldn’t be more proud of us. 

SUNY New Paltz, you may have been and will probably forever be a s**t show, but you were my s**t show. And I wouldn’t trade you for the world. 

About Gabby Gagliano 52 Articles
Gabby is a third-year, digital media production major. This is her first semester as Sports Editor and her third semester at The Oracle.