Senior Goodbye: Zoe’s Farewell to The Oracle

I joined The Oracle during the spring of my freshman year. Finally, bidding farewell to the tumultuous year of 2020, people cautiously embraced the arrival of 2021. My initial college experience had been confined to quarantine, with asynchronous classes, no face-to-face interactions, and strict restrictions prohibiting gatherings or even having friends in our dorms. When I saw that The Oracle was looking for copy editors, my then girlfriend cautioned me, suggesting that joining would severely limit our time together — she could not have been more right and for that I am grateful. In 2021, The Oracle did not have an office; instead we were put in SUB 62/63 and urged to maintain distance to the best of our abilities.  

My first Oracle meeting I was terrified. I am not and have never been a journalism major. In high school I was the editor-in-chief of our paper and it felt right, I was a part of something. I came in with the same mentality, and within thirty minutes I had met two people that continue to be my closest friends to this day. Kyra and Alli — you were there for me through the hardest moments of my life, you both held my hand when I needed it the most and for that I will always be grateful. The Oracle was just beginning to rebuild following the effects of quarantine and because of the two of you this paper became my home.

In February of 2022, Kyra and I ventured on one of the most important stories of our college careers — New Paltz Accountability. We barely slept for a week straight, digging through hours of interview transcripts sitting in various rooms of the 4th floor of the Student Union Building. We put everything we had into that article and considering the limited amount of  journalism classes we had taken at that point in our lives I was damn proud of us. 

But then the death threats came in. My full name was directly next to some of the most disgusting things I had ever read. My instagram handle was showing up on peoples stories, directing the attacks to my personal page. Anonymous people hiding behind a screen were telling me to kill myself amongst other lovely words with the same sentiment. I was asked by the school if I wanted a UPD officer to walk me to and from my classes. I have never felt that kind of fear before. 

Shortly after things began to die down and I was no longer fearing my safety, things within the four walls of our beautiful 4th floor office that was graciously bestowed to us at the end of that first semester, began caving in. Within two short weeks our editor-in-chief and managing editor abruptly stood down. Dealing with a story of this magnitude is not for the faint of heart, and in my sophomore year, about a semester and a half on The Oracle, the role of editor-in-chief was dropped into my lap. We were given zero warning. The normal chain of command goes as follows: news editor, managing editor then editor-in-chief. Suddenly, I was catapulted into the position. I held the role of news editor for several months, eagerly staying late on production nights to learn everything I could. Maybe somewhere deep down I had hoped that the opportunity would become an option to me my senior year and I wanted to show my interest early. But no matter how many nights I stayed late nothing could have prepared me for what I was left with. It was 3am, production night had begun nine hours ago and I had sent everyone home several hours prior. I was scrambling to send the paper to the printer. I vividly remember sitting alone in our office, tears in my eyes trying to get in contact with anyone that could guide me. I was completely alone, the fate of the paper entirely in my hands — a paper that was supposed to hit the stands in 8 hours.

I walked into our supervisor’s office only a few hours later. I thought now would probably be a good time to introduce myself. Val — I genuinely don’t know where to start. You have been my rock since that night. Whether it’s keeping snacks in your office in case my blood sugar goes low or walking me to UPD so I don’t have to report another threat alone — you have been there for me through it all. I will forever be grateful for everything you have done for me. 

This job, my role, has put me in positions I never thought I would find myself in. Regardless of my beliefs, members of SUNY New Paltz read my name on the inside cover and have equated my title with my identity. What people seem to forget is that I’m also a person, a human, with a family and the names I have been called, the things I have had to deal with over the past three years have hurt every aspect of my life. Heading a paper is no easy feat, heading a paper in a time of political turmoil is unprecedented, but heading a paper while having family members being directly affected by the war in the middle east whose lives have been in danger for months, while anonymous people berate me on the internet for my “beliefs” is something I would never wish upon my greatest enemies. 

The Oracle was handed to me with 6 additional members. Each person writing upwards of 3 articles an issue — close to 3,000 words a week. All of this on top of their coursework, jobs and maintaining their social lives. Regardless of how many people were on staff, how much homework we had, how many of our responsibilities were piling up — we still had a 20 page paper to print every week. Alongside writing weekly, I worked tirelessly to recruit new members, I organized workshops to have professors and other professionals come in and speak with us. The Oracle had essentially become my baby, and It was my responsibility to help it flourish. 

Copy editors: Thank you for sitting at the table for hours and hours on end until the words begin blurring together. Thank you for fighting to make people’s voices heard. I am so proud of how far you have all come and I cannot wait to continue to watch you all grow as writers and people. 

My page editors: Thank you for taking on the responsibility of your sections with grace. Alyssa and Emily I have watched you both come into yourselves over the past two years and it has been an honor to work alongside you both. Lilly, you came back from studying abroad with ease. Your dedication to The Oracle is admirable and appreciated.

Gabby: Where do I begin? I have never met anyone like you and don’t think I ever will. I love you like a sister, and the rest I will leave to be said in person. But dude — we did it.

Jer: I’m so glad I know I am leaving this paper in good hands. Your ability to stay calm and grounded amazes me. I could not be happier for you to take my seat and am truly so excited to see the amazing things you do with the paper and beyond.

It’s hard to leave something you’ve known so closely for so long, something that has become a part of you. I’m not quite sure when I’ll get used to having my Wednesday nights free, or when I will stop feeling the need to check in on everyone. Regardless of the deep sadness I feel in saying goodbye — I can confidently say I could not be more proud of what I am leaving. We have a full team of copy editors, and page editors, many of whom have been here for multiple semesters now. Something so simple that I would have never believed was possible just a year or two before. I see the hard work and the dedication that each and every member of this club brings on a daily basis and it makes my heart swell to see that I will be leaving this organization in the hands of people who care for it as much as I do. 

With so much love, 

Zoe <3

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About Zoe Woolrich 59 Articles
Zoe Woolrich (she/her) is the Editor-in-Chief of The Oracle. Over the past five semesters she has served as Copy Editor, News Editor and Managing Editor. She is fourth-year media management major from New York City. You can contact her at