Reflection: Caterina De Gaetano

Caterina De GaetanoWhen I was younger, I constantly thought of the future.  At 10 years old, I would think about what I would look like when I was older, what my job would be, where I would go to high school and who I would marry.

Now at 21, I find myself constantly thinking about the past — a time before smart phones, social networking and Netflix. I think about the times when I used AOL instant messenger and how cool I felt talking to five people at a time. I think about all the friends I had, now a significantly smaller group, and the places we would go. I think about friends I was so close with two years ago and how I haven’t talked to them since. I guess you can say I was never really a “live in the moment” kind of gal.

But, I think it is time I face the reality of my present. I am done with my undergraduate education. I am graduating. Another four years has crept away from me, and I don’t know how or why, yet here I am. Sometimes it feels like my 10-year-old self pressed the fast forward button by mistake and suddenly, here I am. I think the scariest part about my present is that I have no idea what the future holds. I have applied to about 20 jobs and heard back from three, all of which were rejections. More often than not, I don’t want to be a journalist when I grow up, but my degree tells me otherwise.

The world I am stepping into is a violent and uncertain one. Stray bullets and bombs, selfish political leaders, the plummeting economy, famine and disease, nations threatening to surge war, natural disasters and psychopaths living among us quietly, plague not “them” over there anymore, but us. I just want to shut my door, curl into my bed and cry. Sounds easy enough, right? If everyone did this, I guess the world would just crumble into a black hole.

Maybe, just maybe, this is why I subconsciously chose to be a writer, a storyteller. Yes, there are times I just hate writing and hate what I do, but who doesn’t? There is a lot I observe and have observed and ever since I could remember, I felt that I would explode if I couldn’t write it all down. Everyone deals with this life differently. Some teach, perform, heal, mentor, advise and care. I chose to report what I see and hear. And maybe I will change the world somehow or change someone’s world because that is all it takes. Isn’t that the purpose of life anyway? I will be able to die happy if I can do that.

Even if I don’t end up working in news particularly, I know I will use what I learned at The Oracle wherever I go. It was here that I learned the most patience. It’s not always glamorous what we do here. Sources suck. Sorry you guys, but you do. You don’t return phone calls or answer emails and sometimes, you are just flat out nasty! But we still listen, and we still write what you have to say because we know it matters. I also adapted to forcing myself to stay up way past my bedtime to get the job done and believe me, it never gets easier. But I have learned how to get by on four hours of sleep. I also produced some of my greatest clips at The Oracle. Who can forget my disease beat? Thanks Maria for letting me run with that one! But really, this group is made up of amazing people.

Andrew, thanks for recruiting me as a copy editor. After the second time, how could I say no?! You have a lot of passion for the truth and one day, that is going to fix journalism because it is sick right now and needs someone to heal it.

Katie, your love of dogs and cats may be just as strong as my love of babies, but hey, that’s cool. Different strokes for different folks! Just remember, utilize your aspects because you have a lot of them. Heee-Hawww (You love me, so you can stop with the violent threats that I know you will say to me after you read this.)

Cat, I don’t get your obsession with sports but I am glad it’s you and not me. You are lovely though, and never forget that. You are going to make a great Editor-in-Chief next semester, and I am sorry I will not be here to see that.

Rachel thanks for being such an understanding and helpful page editor. Suzy, those voices you do are accurate and hilarious. Keep it up and you will be on “SNL” in no time. Robin, you knuckle head, keep snapping photos and stop looking so suspicious!

Angela, you truly are an angela so don’t ever change! Carolyn, you are just awesome and a sweetheart.

The rest of you are all wonderful, hilarious and talented people. I won’t forget the crazy jokes and times we shared and I will miss you all. I am not good with goodbyes so I won’t say it. It’s just a “see you around.”

In all reality though, I can’t believe this chapter of my life is over. I will miss my apartment, my roommates, New Paltz, the social life and The Oracle. Sadly enough, I will miss the stress of getting school work done on time because quite frankly, that was the worst thing going on in my life. I know I am pretty damn blessed.

I wish I could go back in time and tell my 10-year-old self to stop worrying about the future and concentrate on the fun of childhood because the future comes in the blink of an eye, but it’s too late for wishing and the past. For now, I only know what the present holds. I am graduating in less than two weeks, moving back home to good old Dutchess County with my family and will have a bachelor’s degree. I don’t know where I will be in five years, let alone two months. I do know this: I have my faith, good intentions and a heart. I think that should be enough to make it in this world.