Reflection: Angela Matua


I was trying not to think about the inevitable ‘holy shit’ feeling I would get after

realizing that college is almost over. I was hoping to mull over my feelings in the comfort of my own home, where I could cry in my room and listen to depressing music.

But being surrounded by the people who have transformed my college experience sounds like a good place to start having these feels.

I remember sitting in Carolyn’s dorm doing Howie Good’s media ethics assignment when we started talking about The Oracle. She told me that she loved it and for some reason, that’s all it took for me to go to elections and run for the copy editor position.

I was overwhelmed at first by how big the staff was and how close they all seemed to be. Many of them had been on The Oracle since their freshman year and I was starting so late in my college career. After a few production nights, I realized how easy it was to feel like I’d known them forever.

The copy desk grew closer as we spent hours reading the same stories over and over again. We even had a communal spit cup for the sunflower seeds we bought every production night. I had my first pickle flavored seed in this orange box. We played middle school jams and sang along to Usher, the best R&B singer of my generation (maybe that’s a stretch).

One of my favorite parts about being a copy editor was being able to read every single article before it was published. Knowing how many hours went into producing this paper made holding it in my hands more gratifying. Being a part of The Oracle is like taking another class and picking up a physical copy makes you realize that all of it is worth it — the long nights, the unresponsive sources, tracking people down for fact checking among the other things that can drive you crazy.

What I got in return is a chance to tell stories that matter and friends who have been so supportive and encouraging every step of the way. Somehow this group (last semester’s staff too) always knows what to say. Whether it’s advice about a story or a joke that’ll force me to do my weird clap without projecting any sound that resembles a laugh, there aren’t any dull moments when you become a part of this group of co-dependent inbreds (I had to use Kspellz’ terminology because it was so fitting).

When Andrew, Cat, and Rachel asked me if I wanted to be the sports editor for this semester, I was pretty surprised. I didn’t run for the position and I didn’t really think I was qualified. Besides my obsession with basketball and my passing knowledge of volleyball that I acquired as a groupie of the New Paltz team, I wasn’t sure that I could put out a good sports section every week. Not to mention I had to follow in the footsteps of Andrew and Cat who probably want to do this for a living.

Once again, they were supportive and encouraging and persuaded me to take the job. I had no doubt that they would help me during every high and low.

Cat always made it a priority to check up on me and ask me how I was doing. She also made sure to hit me or call me an asshole (among other things) any chance she got. It’s a love/hate relationship and I wouldn’t want to have it any other way.

Andrew took the layout ideas in my head and helped me bring them to life. The Women’s Basketball SUNYAC Championship article is probably one of the coolest layouts that has been printed this semester. I couldn’t have created it without him.

That’s not to say this job didn’t have its challenges. I commend current and past page editors for all of their work because I’ve felt like leaving production night and going to sleep on numerous occasions. But I love this too much.

To meet people who care so deeply about something is really refreshing, especially when it’s much easier to get through college by doing the bare minimum. We’ve had several copy editors quit after a few weeks, which proves how big of a commitment this is. I’ve gone to many classes feeling like a zombie and thinking about the amount of work I need to do before this week is over…well, I don’t want to think about it.

Previous Oraclers have come to visit the office and even they tell us what a great decision we’ve made by joining this staff. So many people I’ve spoken to have nothing but nice things to say about the people and the experiences here. We might have to deal with cramped spaces and tight deadlines but what we produce each week far outweighs the massive amounts of stress we put ourselves through.

So this is the part where I compliment all the poopers on the staff.

Andrew and Cat, I’m going to lump you together because the amount of time you spend hitting each other, hugging each other or laying on top of each other in some strange way basically makes you one person. I already mentioned how much you’ve helped me through the transition of becoming a page editor, but I want to thank you for believing that I could actually do this. My section clearly cannot compare, but I hope I did this thing some sort of justice.

Rachel, I remember when we took Journalism I together and we had to interview each other to practice our interviewing skills. We were both unsure about which major we wanted to pursue and I’m so glad that you stuck with journalism because you’re a great writer and you make no mistakes (weirdo).

Carolyn, I couldn’t have asked for a better person to sit next to during my time as a page editor. I’m sorry for bugging you about every stupid little thing I couldn’t do on InDesign. You stopped whatever you were doing to help me out and I’m so grateful. Don’t ever stop smothering people with your love, you perfect angel.

Katie, our shared love for everything boy bands made my time here so much more enjoyable. The second I heard the new JoBro’s song, you were the first person I had to discuss it with. No one else understands. Also, every other word that came from your mouth made me laugh. Stop being so punny. You’re going to be a great managing editor.

Robin, your pictures are the reason why my layouts were so kick-ass. I remember going to the St. Baldrick’s event and we literally could not feel our hands after 10 seconds. That’s dedication. I can’t wait to read every issue next semester and see your photos in Lil’ Lief’s section.

Sam, you were one of the first friends I made at New Paltz and one of the first people I’ll stop talking to when I leave (jk!). I tried to be funny because I kinda want to be like you. Your photos are always beautiful and make The Gunk look so good. We better go to a concert or two this summer and Main Course is happening! Stay classy and always drink a cosmo.

Caterina, crying about our futures together has been very cathartic. I hope that we both have jobs that we love, at least by the time we’re 30. If not, we should meet up and do something really destructive like smash cars with baseball bats.

Lil’ Lief and Tursi, thank you for taking this journey with me. We were all in the same boat because we were new to our jobs. You made this experience so much easier and I loved watching you two grow as writers. Andrew, you sassy nugget, I cannot wait to see how you’re going to make the sports section yours and I will probably compliment you every week so look out for that. There better be a good amount of basketball coverage or I will be disappointed (Celtics fo’ lyfe.)

Suzy, Zameena, April, Jen, John, Joe and all the other copy editors/staff I’ve had the privilege of sharing a desk with: Many of you are going to move up and become page editors. You’re all such talented little buggers and I’m confident that you’re going to keep putting out a great paper every week. Suzy, I’m listening to your crazy ghetto voice right now and I’m really going to miss it. You bring me back to my middle school days and not many people can do that (Usher). You’re going to make such a good A&E editor, girrrrl.

Honestly, I could probably go on forever about how amazing this experience has been, but I’m probably going to have to cut something anyway. Ah, the trials and tribulations of newspaper layouts. I will never forget what this job and these people have taught me and if you aren’t a part of The Oracle, you’re missing out. Peace out, A-town down.