Readers, I’m not going to lie to you for sentimental reasons. I absolutely hated The Oracle at first, and that hatred has yet to fully dissolve. One step in The Oracle office will have anyone say, “This is bullshit.” The air is heavy with sweat, tears and cortisol. The walls enclosing its claustrophobic layout are painted an obnoxiously saturated orange, a color only a deranged circus clown would choose. After staying in that office until 1 or 2 a.m. on Wednesdays to produce the newspaper, I’d trudge back to my apartment and scrape up the remaining amount of energy I had to cry.
For the majority of my time on The Oracle, I consistently wrote three 700-1,000 word articles a week. When I’d close my eyes at night, an image of a drafted email starting with “I am a reporter for The New Paltz Oracle, and this week I am writing a story about…” would project onto the insides of my eyelids. I would stress and stress and stress over The Oracle, and for what? For a few views online? For a handful of students and faculty to pick up a copy just so maintenance can recycle the rest a week later?
On various occasions, my friends and family told me that I should quit The Oracle, that it’s causing me too much stress and not bringing me much reward. But I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t let go of The Oracle. Maybe it was my pride, my stubbornness, my resilience to give up without a fight. Maybe it was me convincing myself that this extracurricular would look good on my resume. Or maybe it was my unadulterated love for the hustle, for the craft.
The Oracle is that girlfriend/boyfriend/partner who screams at you, throws things at you, says we’re breaking up, and then cuddles up with you at night, stroking your hair and telling you they love you. It’s bittersweet. Despite my spats with The Oracle, every time the newest issue would be distributed, my heart would skip a beat and I’d feel antsy to start reporting on next week’s stories. This newspaper was my love affair, and I can leave The Oracle knowing that I put in 100%, whether it was a “Pets of New Paltz” column or a front page news story.
However, I can’t give myself too much credit. If someone asked me today why I decided to stay with The Oracle for five semesters, I wouldn’t say it was because I cared so much about journalism. I would say it’s because of the staff, the people I cry from laughing with, the people who have become a second family to me.
To Jake and Maddy,
Y’all are pioneers of the office environment, completely changing up the game of what production night is. The camaraderie the staff has is truly because of you both. Even though it pains me to admit this, I will genuinely miss hearing Jake’s rants about pop artists. I’ll also miss Maddy constantly spilling tea, and your ability to captivate a room with your stories. It’s been an honor having you as my editor-in-chief and managing editor. While leaving The Oracle is a painful goodbye, I know the paper is in good hands with you both.
It has been an absolute pleasure having you as my copy editor. Week after week, your articles never failed to impress me and your ideas for stories pushed me to be a better writer myself. You were always one of the few people who stepped up to take on a story, and I am immensely grateful for your hardwork and care. You’re a breath of fresh air and dynamite at the same time. Keep doing you.
God I’m going to miss your sly jokes and wit so much. Getting to know you the past five semesters has been an absolute gift. For several issues, you were my saving grace by taking on a last minute story for my section. You’ve truly made a mark on my heart. Please continue to raise hell in the office with your sarcasm.
You intimidated the f*ck out of me when you first came into the office, wearing your blazer and pin-striped pants. But after seeing you trying to floss at Wing Night, I don’t think I could ever be intimidated by you again. Your presence reminds me of sunshine with a light, chilly breeze — warm yet refreshing. You’ve become a close friend to me, and I suppose I have The Oracle to thank for that. I love you and I hope you love yourself as much as everyone around you loves you.
I don’t know how I am going to survive without hearing your notorious laugh or hearing some wild stories about your family. You truly are the full package — you’re organized, dedicated, successful, empathetic, kind and funny. I feel truly blessed that I had the chance to get drunk with you at Murphys and rip your dab pen with you in the SUB bathroom. Please remember that you shouldn’t have to put up with any sh*t because you are THE sh*t.
My Dearest Max,
Five semesters ago, you escorted me into the office, said “This is Nicole,” and went back to your desk without any word of guidance or instruction. Talk about baptism by fire. I was determined to not turn this tribute into a love letter, but to be honest, The Oracle is sort of our love letter. I used to look up from the article I was copy editing every 30 seconds, impatiently waiting for you to enter the office. When I came to you with an edit or a question, I purposefully leaned in close so our knees would touch. As news editor and features editor, we worked side by side for nearly a year. If it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t be a part of The Oracle staff. And without The Oracle, I wouldn’t have fallen in love with you.