Reflection — Cat Tacopina

cat tacopinaI’ve been in denial about writing this reflection for a long time.

Graduating and leaving this paper is inevitable, something the people who have become my closest friends have already done. But even after seeing the same thing happen to everyone you know, you never think it will happen to you. Like, somehow I’d be the one who cheated the system, stayed on The Oracle for an extra amount of time and wrote about Park Point until the day I die.

Actually, that last bit about Park Point sounds miserable. I’m glad that that part of my time at New Paltz is at an end.

But that’s about it. Otherwise, I’m shocked and miserable that it’s finally over.

When I first joined The Oracle, I was enamored by the people on E-board and the effort they put in week after week to put a paper on the stands around campus and dispersed through the town. It takes a special type of person (re: psychopath) to  be on The Oracle, and not everyone understands it.

There’s a cliché in sports where you play for the name on the front of the jersey instead of the one on the back of it. It’s good for a swell of the heart, but it’s low-hanging fruit; an all-too-easy way to breed camaraderie among a group of people uniting to achieve a common goal.

Maybe it’s because I’m a former sports editor, but that’s the best way I can surmise being on this paper, right down to the part about the unlikely group of students who find solidarity in a common value.

When you decide to join this paper, it’s because you believe that our campus and our community deserve access to information they may not have received otherwise. Not only that, but you believe that everyone has a story worth telling, regardless of where they come from.  When you’re on The Oracle, you believe that everyone is entitled to the truth, and you will make countless sacrifices, including grades, friendships, lovers and other interests to make sure that information is on a stand somewhere on this town come Thursday.

Remember that, New Paltz.

But now it’s time for me to address all of those who I’ve come to love; the people who dedicated all of their time in college to putting out this paper.

I’ll start with those who came before me. Justin and Pierce, I may not have worked directly with the two of you, but I somehow still managed to learn how to be a leader through your examples and advice. It’s given me the courage to stand up for myself on multiple occasions.

Pam, you were always so sweet to me, even when my news stories were awful and you probably hated reading them. Come back soon from wherever you are at this point in time. Huertas, you’re too fun and I’m still mad at myself for not knowing that you’ve been working in New Paltz all this time, literally a 10 minute walk from the office. Hang out with me one of these days. Same goes for you, Derek. Your reflection cartoon is still one of my favorite things ever printed and if the office were to ever go up in flames, it would be the first thing I’d save. Ryan, you’re the reason I’m on this paper. I should have been more scared when you wanted me to sign my name in blood as a contractual agreement to my being a copy editor, but hey, look what came of it. Sam Schwarz, I hate that we didn’t start becoming close until the tail end of your senior year, but I can’t wait to be on the Island soon so we can try and rekindle that flame.  Robolobo, my favorite mole, I’m sorry you never got to be a news drone like me, but I know you appreciate ethics as much as I do, so you understand.

Maxim, sometimes I still hear your laugh in the office and it brings a smile to my face. Even though you’re one of the most offensive people I’ve ever met, I have a whole lot of love for how you are able to make me smile.

Rachel, you’re the Aragorn to my Legolas. Your ghost still lives on in this office; I know your spirit is with me every time I see an article that’s 1,400 words come in. Sooner or later we’ll finally have that “Lord of the Rings” marathon.

Zan, you used to make me cry all the time because you were so hard on me; now I just cry about you because it’s hard not having you around. Don’t come back from Ireland or wherever you are until you send me a postcard.

My favorite pair of Mirror Glitter sisters, Maria and Pookie Benet Brandi. Sometimes I’m randomly walking somewhere and I think of something either of you said in the office and then I start laughing and everyone looks at me like I’m a psycho, but that’s what you get when you’re a Heather and not a booger. Play with me.

Julie and Carolyn, to be honest, I could write two separate reflections detailing how much the two of you mean to me. I’d never be able to say everything I want to in one reflection, let alone one graf, so I’ll leave it at this: thank you for believing in me when I was too afraid to believe in myself.

Katherine Speller, I never anticipated that we would become as close as we have. After all our time on The Oracle together, I didn’t imagine that you would become one of my most trusted and closest friends. You’re one of the most talented people I know, which is nowhere near as important as how compassionate, intelligent and understanding of a friend you are, you fucking pretty boy.

Bwana Andrew, much like Carolyn and Julie, one graf of a reflection will never cover how much you mean to me. I hate admitting this to you, but you have always been my role model at this paper and I’ve cried about you not being around on several occasions. A lot of people have told me they thought we were dating at one point, which I think is gross because we’re practically siblings. Sorry for all of the bad impressions of you, but they’re too much fun.

There’s a lot of Oracle ghosts, but now it’s time to move onto those who are still here, the people who have kept me sane during my run as Editor-in-Chief of The Oracle.

John, Nicole and Matt, though you three aren’t in the office on those long Wednesday nights, this paper could never operate without the three of you. Matt, I’m so grateful you came along and were able to financially keep us afloat. If the money doesn’t work out, we’ll go rob a bank together or something. John, you’ve braved some intense elements to make sure people got our papers. You’re a Newsie, and you should be proud of that. Nicole, you’ve often caught me at my most defeated and manic and you still managed to put up with me. I love you.

Zach, you’ve been our saving grace several times this semester, and you were able to adjust to the demanding schedule of The Oracle quicker than I thought. Thank you for always coming through. Rosalie, you’ve seamlessly picked up on Musician of the Week, and I’ve enjoyed the aesthetic you bring to the videos you shoot.

Maxwell, I could not be happier that you joined this staff. Not only were your videos last semester a joy to watch, but your Gunk photos have been phenomenal and I’m in love with your Gunk fronts. I wish I went on more Gunk adventures with you.

Kristen and Melissa, the two of you give me so much hope for this paper. I am so impressed by the both of you, and you give me hope that not only The Oracle, but the journalism program, will be fine. I know the sports section will continue to thrive with you two around. When you two are seniors, remember that I still and always will believe in you both.

Maddie, you’re one of the nicest, most intelligent, and beautiful grrrls I’ve come across at this school. Even if you don’t believe it, trust me when I say that you’re going to succeed with whatever you do. You have so much talent, remember that.

Hannah and Jen, I wish you two could have been on staff full-time. You’re both incredible writers who are able to make valuable edits during the later hours of the night. Jen, the features section will thrive under your direction. I can’t wait to see the layout stuff you’ll pull off.

Zameena, you beautiful goddess. The day you got back from Spain was one of the best days of my life. Seriously though, I am so proud of you. You’ve come a long way from when you first started. Your Queendom of A&E is coming, and I anxiously await to see it.

Julie Gundersen, I’m so happy I’ll never have to replace you. You’re so talented it makes me sick.

Tony de la Rosa, it makes my heart swell with pride to see that the age of the news drones continues in you. Even though you love news, you truly do have a knack for features. Just remember to hide your squirrels and remember to be charming, regardless of how difficult dealing with this school’s bureaucracy can be.

Abbott. Brant. I am so proud of you and how far you’ve come. I know I’ve told you this so many times, but you remind me so much of myself (you’re just hotter and better at sports). You should be proud of the progress you’ve made because everything you’ve done here you have earned. I believe in you. I always will.

John, I know you’re relieved that you’ll never have to work with me again. But in all seriousness, I wish you had joined this paper sooner. You have so much care for what you do and watching you work is always impressive. If I could I’d shrink you and carry you in my pocket just for your wisdom. I’m still sad that gay in the news ended with you, but I’ll get over it.

Suzy, my favorite mayor of Shady Pines. Even after all of this is over, I want to vent and throw shade with you. You’ve made A&E your own baby, which is a feat in itself considering the acts you followed. You can always sit with me.

Robin, somehow we have managed to not murder one another while working together for six semesters. Your sports photos are masterpieces and this paper will miss them once you graduate. Maybe one day when we’re gone we’ll come back to catch one more soccer game.

And now it’s just you and me, Lil’ Lief.

Andrew, my top two, I am so proud of the journalist you’ve become. It wasn’t that long ago when  you sat down for an interview with us and asked if you were even qualified to be on staff. I know I picked on you a lot, but it’s because I was always sad that you were never my direct sports section legacy. But now that you’re my EIC legacy, let me say this before you say “You’re so annoying.”

Lief, you are ready to lead this newspaper and everything it stands for. I have so much faith in you and Abbott making sure New Paltz gets the news it deserves. I know you will thrive and maintain the level of excellence The Oracle has achieved these past several years. If you need me, I’m only a phone call away.

My time here is done, and now I have to pass the torch on to a new generation of student journalists. Before I leave though, I just want to thank everyone I’ve worked with for making my dreams come true. I’d walk 500 miles and 500 more to be with any of you. Let’s run.