Being part of the staff here at The New Paltz Oracle has been a challenging, yet worthwhile, experience. My friend Jaleesa Baulkman was a copy editor last year and would always encourage me to come to the story meetings and eventually join the staff. I remember one time attending one of those meetings, taking a story and never writing it — my fear of failure has held me back lots of times.
Toward the ending of last semester, I attended The Oracle elections, and already being familiar with some of the staff, was elected on the E-board as a copy editor. I have grown so much as a writer, and better yet, as a journalist. It feels good to actually acknowledge myself as one — an example of the confidence you gain as a writer from being a part of this staff. After all, any experience is what you make of it.
I’ll admit that when I first joined I felt out of place, like I didn’t belong and wasn’t good enough. My speech and style of writing differs, it isn’t always as elegant or journalistic and I’m somewhat of a quiet person around people I haven’t really bonded with. But that was my own self-consciousness.
I considered myself a late bloomer on The Oracle. I didn’t even complete the first story I took this semester and it took me quite a while to get used to the life of an Oracle staffer. My editors constantly reminded me that it’s that way for most people who join. They were always understanding and that helped me cope with a lot of the self-disappointment I felt.
At one point, I even wanted to quit. I wasn’t sure if it was worth all the stress I was putting myself through. I just felt like when I ran and was elected, I vowed to uphold my duties but would constantly fall short — handing in late stories, not always doing my office hours because I slacked up on schoolwork — and I felt like the rest of the E-board, especially my editors, didn’t deserve that. If I couldn’t hold up my end of the bargain, I didn’t need to be on the team.
But gladly, I made it through all the self-doubt, hearing how my editors valued me as a writer.
I tell you, at a point in this semester and the semesters before it, I felt as if I had no real control over how my life was going. I lost my motivation to write, but at this point, by being part of this staff, I feel as if I’ve grown immune to it.
I still suck at time-management, but at least this time I feel as if I do have control over my life. I don’t know if graduating this May has anything to do with it, but what I can say is that being part of this staff has definitely made me a better writer. I enjoyed being around them all — beautiful, very intelligent individuals.