Manzella Reflects on Her Time at The New Paltz Oracle

Photo by Jasper Campos.

I was never good at goodbyes. They’re the sort of tearful, emotional thing that the introvert in me pulls away from. But the truth is, I can’t leave The Oracle behind without the proper, resounding goodbye it deserves.

I joined The Oracle as a news copy editor on the very first week of my first semester freshman year. I was the type of eager, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed employee every higher-up wanted on their staff: anxious to write (and damn good at it, even at the beginning of my journalism career), wanting exposure, desperately needing to find my “place” at New Paltz. I came in hoping to edit and maybe publish a few stories … and after only one semester on staff, I came away with over 25 published clips, newfound confidence in my ability to talk intelligently to strangers and a slew of colleagues I could also call my friends.

Working alongside some of the most talented and passionate people I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing, I worked my way up from the timid, eager copy editor I once was to the boisterous, passionate and flamboyantly queer Arts and Entertainment Editor I now am. The rise in power wasn’t without its hiccups; there was many a mid-semester break down and plenty of stories that fell through. But for every story I couldn’t complete to the best of my ability, there were three to four stories I was immensely proud of.

I can’t thank The Oracle enough for the invaluable breadth of experience, both professionally and socially, it has given me. I’ve emerged a better reporter and a significantly better writer (something the cocky college first-year always praised for her writing naively thought wasn’t possible. Oh boy, was she wrong.) I’ve gotten countless freelance gigs and a few crazy internships from the clips I worked on for the paper. Perhaps most importantly, though, I’ve forged connections with friends and colleagues that I know will last a lifetime.

Kristen, Melissa, Abbott, and Anthony (DeRosa): my OG heroes. Thanks for your guidance. I’ve looked up to all four of you since day one, and I continue to aspire to your level of hustling to this day. Thanks for keeping me humble and reminding me that there’s always something to learn. Thanks for being yourselves, unabashedly and whole-heartedly.

Mel and Michael: my day-one rookies who have since transformed into the senior leaders of this paper. I love you more than I love bad puns. Thanks for standing by me, for always supporting me and my growth, and for always, always offering a hug or a shoulder to cry on. Thanks for lifting me up when I thought I couldn’t go on. I’m so incredibly proud of your work and growth. I can’t wait to see what this world has in store for us crazy kids.

Jack and Amanda: y’all joined the paper at just the right time. Amanda, thanks for being mon amie. Thanks for listening when no one else cared that much. I wish you the best in France and beyond, and I know you’re going to bring that Features fire with you wherever you go. Jack: you might not realize how much you inspire me and mean to me personally. That’s OK. It’s on me for never being quite so open about how much your support, passion and love for your work fuel my fire to be a better journalist. I hope we can keep in touch, and I have a funny feeling I’ll be seeing you around someday, be it in DC or NYC. Thanks for keeping me on my toes. 

You’re the coolest Republican I’ve ever met. That’s saying something, trust me.

Rachael and Meg: you two are fucking fire. I couldn’t have imagined better hands to leave the future of this paper to. Thanks for all that you’ve done, all of the talent and keen eye for news you’ve both brought to our little ol’ newspaper. I hope you’ll both remember me when you’re slaying the game and taking names in the future.

Jackson, Erica, and Jess (Napp): you guys made my tenure as A&E Editor a great one. I can’t thank all of you enough for bestowing your talent and gift for finding the heart of story upon me and my section. I’m no psychic, but I see amazing things in store for all of you. I hope you’ll keep in touch. I hope you’ll all remember me fondly as your editor, yes, but first and foremost as your friend.

All of you other lovely people whom I’ve been blessed to get to know: THANK YOU. Thank you for being there to grow with me as journalists and writers. Thank you for giving me a shoulder to lean on. Thanks for being your cool-as-shit selves. I love you. I appreciate you. I respect you. I can’t wait to see what this crazy shitshow of a world has in store for you.

Bluntzella, signing off.