Reflection — John Tappen

john tappenBill Clark, I know you hate these. I know it’s the “year book” issue. And I get it. We’ve gotten the chance to talk on several occasions this school year, many times at length — about sports, college radio and miscellaneous things. And I respect you immensely. So, I want to convince you to give reading the reflections this semester a chance. While on the surface they seem self-indulgent, and maybe they are, they are also an opportunity for the seniors on this staff to express their sincerest feelings about their experience on this paper. They’re important because it’s likely the last time any one of us will be afforded the chance to write like this in a newspaper. And I know every reflection in this paper will be brimming with elation over the semesters spent working on this newspaper and sadness that it’s come to an end. And that’s important because there’s a chance someone who wants to be a writer, a reporter, a journalist, will pick up this issue, read the reflections, and find a home here as so many of us have.

Ideally, I would’ve written this reflection weeks ago, made sure everything came out just the way I wanted it to read. But it’s the night before we go to print and it just wouldn’t be an accurate representation of my time here if I had written this in advance. It makes more sense that I’m sitting here, up against a deadline, just like every other Wednesday.

I remember my first production night as News Editor. I felt like I was messing up constantly — missing edits, struggling to keep up, repeatedly asking for help from Cat and Katie, and feeling incredibly guilty that the copy desk had to stay untill 5 a.m.

All I could think about that night were the page editors when I first joined the copy desk the previous year. They all seemed to never screw up. I was in awe and a bit intimidated.

But with time, I grew to not only become comfortable here, but love being a part of  The Oracle.

I know I can’t do justice to my time here, what it’s meant to me, the impact it’s had, but I can try.

I’ve gotten the chance to cover stories and write about stuff that matters.

People in this office go to great lengths to produce a paper for the good of this campus. It’s an urge, an energy and enthusiasm that I’ve felt in this room that I’ve never gotten from any one of the classes I’ve ever taken here.

For anyone looking to feel like they’re a part of something bigger than them, an opportunity to collaborate with others, to work hard, or a way to spend all of Wednesday night into Thursday morning, I’d point you in the direction of The Oracle office.

When I first came to college, I didn’t know I wanted to write for the school paper. I didn’t even know I wanted to declare journalism. I knew I wanted to write in some capacity. But I also knew for the longest time that I wanted to be on college radio. And it’s something I’m grateful I got the opportunity to do with WFNP. I met some life long friends and got to share the mic with someone who is very dear to me. Samantha, thank you for being you, for your support, and for having been there, all the time, but also on Wednesday nights and Thursday mornings, when I was too tired to function and you understood.

I was glad I decided to walk across the hall and find a place in The Oracle. I would be so sad to have not met so many of the people on The Oracle I’m thankful to call friends now.

Andrew, you were my first Editor-in-Chief and I am so grateful for that. I learned so much from you; just from the way you conducted yourself. You are journalism, personified.

Rachel, I hope I upped the punx as best I could this year. I was intimidated by the position of News Editor because I was replacing you. Come October, we can hang in Gainesville and reminisce about once being on The Oracle.

Katie, you said in your reflection that you want to be like me when you grow up. I know you were kidding, but please don’t. You have a sensibility that I admire so much. I’m not sure if I would still be doing this if I weren’t placed in features that first semester.

Carolyn, I was so excited every time I was on the copy desk and got to read something you wrote. I wish I could write about music as eloquently as you do.

April, working together in features that first semester pushed me to become a better writer. I’m grateful for our shared time on the copy desk. Ben, few people made me laugh more at the most irrelevant things. Tursi, I don’t know where you got that pulled pork, or how Lief let you get away with never fact-checking. When I was younger, a friend of mine on my little league baseball team coined the phrase “bench presence,” a player’s ability to make everyone else on the team laugh and keep spirits up. You have bench presence.

Roberto, I know that you will continue to do big things in the coming years. You were also a professional, with a sense of humor. Don’t ever stop listening to Husker Du.

Anthony, when you joined the news team last fall, I knew you would soon replace me. You have a nose for news that I wish I had, but never quite did. Next year, I hope you take the section to investigative places. I know you always wanted to play detective. That said, you’ve got a knack for features; don’t forget about it.

Suzy, it’s difficult to get work done when you’re in the office. That’s a compliment. You’re hysterical; no one has the humor you do. I’ll miss hearing you complain about silhouetting.

Abbott, you’re so much more likable that you think. And as much as you fuss and complain, we all know you truly care about this paper. I know you and Andrew will do a great job next semester.

Max, I can’t believe it was two years ago when we met in that tiny basement to see Mikey Erg, before either of us joined this paper. Your Gunk fronts are incredible. Robin, you’re so talented and you’ve been great to work with this entire year. Julie, we don’t speak that often, and when we do it’s usually about how great your cartoon looks.

Maddie, or is it Madeline? You bring a spark to the office that I know the next E-board will miss. I’m glad I’m not the only one who saved their reflection till the eleventh hour.

Melissa, I’m glad I’ve got someone else in the office to gab about Chris Gethard with. Keep being so dedicated, it’s awesome.

Zameena, I can’t wait to see what you do with the A&E section. Can’t wait to read your music column — like the AP briefs in my section, except fun!

Kristen, it’s been exciting to see you progress so quickly here. You have a knack for this, don’t stop.

Hannah, even at 2 a.m., you’ve still got so much energy. I wish I could be as upbeat as you always are.

Jen, you’ve taken on big stories this year and done amazing. I hope Anthony keeps Newsworthy Newman.

Andrew Lief, I will never be able to buy anything from vending machine again without thinking about Wednesday nights and all the different ways I snack. I know you are more than capable to take over this paper, and you will do great.

Cat, at this point our relationship really is like Ron Swanson and Leslie Knope. I feel like you like to brag about how much you annoy me, more than you actually do. You don’t. I have so much respect for you. You always ask, and I’ll tell you one last time, you did a great job as Editor-in-Chief.

I guess this is it. It’s been a great time.