Do you know that one Taylor Swift lyric: “the best people in life are free”? Well, maybe you don’t, but I do. (It’s from her song “New Romantics.”) To me, this means that the greatest friends you meet will love you for who you are, without any service fees for being there to listen to you.
That’s how I feel about the people at The New Paltz Oracle, who have shaped my experience at this college since I joined as a transfer student in the Spring 2018 semester. I still remember asking Alicia McGowan, one of our former copy editors and also one of the sweetest people I know, how I could become a part of the campus newspaper. It was her who led me to it, but it was everyone on this staff who made me stay. So, then, now having to leave it seems fake.
Unlike most college students, I will be graduating when snow is still on the ground, so the tears I shed from writing this reflection may actually ice over and not just fall ever so gently from my cheek. I’ve procrastinated my writing this, because I already feel a sharp pain in my side (both metaphorically and literally, quite possibly due to the effects of aging as a 22-year-old). But I realize that this piece is inevitable, and not something that I can shake off from doing forever. However, in regards to infinity, that is the length of time that I will cherish this staff of beautiful, humorous, intelligent, remarkable and all-around amazing people (Insert Lady Gaga meme here).
I guess now is the moment where I get super personal and even more emotional due to my word limit. Let’s do it.
Jake — my king, my fellow Swiftie, someone whom I love quite literally more than I love myself:
Thank you for always defending what some consider to be a crazy obsession with Taylor Swift. I still remember the moment we met, how I saw your reputation sticker on your laptop and you thought I was going to tell you that I didn’t like her. Well, you were wrong, but on everything else you’ve been right. You’ve done an incredible job as the NPO EIC, and I am so glad that I got to see you in this rightfully-earned position of power before graduating from New Paltz. You have one of the most raw and vivid voices that shines through your writing. I love you, and I’ll remember our times together all too well. I hope that you’ll remember me when you’re the EIC of Billboard someday, when I’ll make a stan account in your honor. Always here for you. xx
Maddy — my Scorpio queen:
Thank you for always keeping it real with me. You know that you’re a bad b*tch, but you’re also one of the most welcoming and personable people on this planet. You probably own Brooklyn, too, just because your sharp language and sassy-but-classy attitude will take over the world someday. Just like you hatched from an egg at the New Paltz Youth Program’s haunted house, I’m glad that your one-of-a-kind, radiant beauty hatched into my life when it did. I love you.
Your full name belongs here, so it better not get edited out. Also, the “a” in your name stands for “awe-inspiring” because your dedication to everything is irreplicable. I remember when you cornered me in the office, so hauntingly yet lovingly, because you wanted me to join staff. You saw something in me, besides the fear in my eyes due to my realizing how much I already loved and admired you. Thank you for being the type of editor I needed when I joined staff all those months ago. Also, thank you even more for taking my breath away when you came back to visit. I hope that in a distant dream someday, I hear “I need 20 more kickers” and am peacefully awakened.
Nikki — the occasional News Editor:
You’re not only a big, but someone who has played a big role in my life on staff and elsewhere. I will miss your dry sense of humor and not knowing what is next to come out of your mouth. We started out in the News section together, and I know that your career in journalism will be incredible. Thank you for being the person who I could always count on to be looking back at me when something awkward happened — either in class or in the office. Your hair looks fire, btw. xx
Mahnoor — my oxygen in this cramped orange space:
*pen click* *inhale* I can’t imagine having not met you. You are my sanity after editorial, the sunshine to my clouds of grey and my fashion icon. I can’t wait until we live in the city together, two girls out on the town, likely sipping mimosas from our penthouse view and spilling the latest tea in our lives. While I expect you to always flourish even more so into the beautiful person you are, please don’t ever change to please anyone besides yourself. I will miss our conversations on astrology, existential crises and life in general. You are so talented and capable of anything and everything, and I can’t wait to see how successful you are bound to become. *pen click* *exhale* (an ode to you).
Rachel — my horse girl and fellow traveler:
Remember when we studied abroad at the same time and casually ran into each other at the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin? I may remember having seen you, but not the rest of that night. You are someone who I felt a real connection with from the start, and I can’t believe that we just now added each other on Snapchat, because that should have happened a year ago. I know that you will ride off into the sunset on a magnificent horse and live out your wildest dreams, and I high key support that. Always.
Max — a max-ificent journalist:
You’re a journalist to the max. I mean it. You really know what you’re doing, and you were helpful when it came to helping my writing become more concise (which doesn’t apply to every piece, see this one here, but it usually does in your section). Whenever I see someone fall off their skateboard, I’ll think of you.
Dani W. — a magnificent bundle of curls and sarcasm:
We only met this semester, but it feels like we’ve known each other for awhile now. Thank you for sharing my sense of humor and for giving me writerly advice in your advanced stage. I appreciate that you’re not afraid to speak your mind, even when we disagree on certain topics *cough* reputation *cough*. We really need to stay in touch. I’ll miss your random dance moves and spectacular commentary on virtually every subject. I love you for being you.
Stephanie — the triple media threat:
It’s been awhile since you were on staff (well, only like a year or so), but I miss you. I’m excited to see what’s in store for you, because I know that it will be magical. You know who you are and I admire that greatly. Thank you for looking on the bright side of situations and for being so chill. I’ve genuinely missed your creativity during editorial and production this semester!
Shyana — the ultimate Disney superstar:
You were one of the first people who I met on campus in class with one of our favorite professors, Ms. Jan Zlotnik-Schmidt. I don’t think I’ve emphasized this enough, even though we live together and have spent nearly every waking hour in The Oracle office, but I’m obsessed with your beautiful, blonde curly hair. I’m going to miss you and our vent sessions next semester, but please know that I’m here for you. If Mickey Mouse gives you any trouble, I’m your girl. (And they were roommates — but first, and even more so now, friends).
To Emma, Cloey, Natalie, Nicole Z, Nicole B, Susanna, Jared, Katie, A&E Matt and Sports Matt, thank you for sharing your wonderful ideas and for bringing your own lovely personalities to the office environment. To Amayah, Dani G., Emily, Morgan and Ethan, our adored newcomers, I recognize true potential and growth in all of you and I can’t wait to see what you produce next for The Oracle.
I may have had a segment called 60 seconds, but you guys will live on in my heart (and I could always text you, but I’m one for the dramatics, if you couldn’t tell) — the memories we’ve shared in this office will be a major detail of my life, forevermore. I’m sorry for flooding the chat sometimes with multiple texts in a row (well, kinda). Two years just wasn’t enough with all of you. Remember: we do this sh*t (writing) because we love it — and, also, again, I love all of you.
This has been Kelsey Rae with your news today, signing off — for now. Only mad love here.