Reflection: Rachel Freeman

RachelFI still remember sitting in Arts Writing and getting the text. Andrew wasn’t in class (shocker), so when he asked me to come to the Oracle office after, I thought he just wanted the notes (clearly I did not know him very well at the time). Instead, he and Julie wanted to offer me a job. I was a fairly new journalism major at the time, with only a few classes under my belt, but I didn’t need to be convinced. Honestly, what journalism major in their right mind turns down an opportunity to work for their school’s paper? Amirite?

Anyway, I joined immediately, thinking it would be a great chance to get some legitimate journalism experience, but it turned out to be something I never could have imagined.

When I joined The Oracle, I became part of the most caring, hardworking, dedicated, talented and hilarious family.  In the four semesters I have been on this E-board, in almost every position, I have constantly been astounded by everyone I have worked with. When you walk through the door into the confines of these orange walls, you’re transported to this unreal world where everyone gives their all and works together to create this thing that we all believe in so wholeheartedly.

Doing this job isn’t easy, I’ve seen many a people back down from the challenge and quit, but when you’re truly in it, you’re in it forever. It’s a part of you that stays even when you’ve left. I didn’t join this paper on my own volition, but now I can’t imagine my college experience or my life without it. It has defined my time here and even myself as a person. I’ve never been good at sticking to things. When I was younger, I took ballet, hip-hop, jazz, flute, ice skating and acting classes. I continued none of them. But The Oracle was different. It dug its journalistic claws into me the moment I started and didn’t let go, and I never wanted it to. That’s why it’s so hard to leave.

All I can think about right now is the quote I used in my high school senior half-page, “How lucky I am to have something that makes goodbye so hard.” It epitomizes the feelings I have that are so difficult to put into words that do them justice. Honestly, I haven’t even been able to completely process that this is the last time I’ll be making a newspaper in this office and working with all these wonderful people whom I have grown to admire and adore so much. That quote is true, I am lucky to have found something that has meant so much to me, that I have put my whole self into and grown from. That I have been a part of something bigger than myself, something that matters.

There have been times when I’ve lost sight of the big picture, when I’ve lost confidence in myself, but I’ve always been brought back by the people around me, who will work their hardest and drop everything to help you, reassure you and comfort you when you need it the most. On that note, I think it’s time for the giant part where I thank all the people who have gotten me this far. There are so many of you that I’m really overwhelmed, but I have faith that I can do it.

Let’s start with all the ghosts of the Oracle’s distant and not so distant past. Julie and Max, my first top two, had you both not been so damn perfect, who knows if I’d be sitting here writing this right now. I also can’t believe how long it’s been since then.  Max, you’re some big shot web man now, but never forget that you helped me layout a page with my “Friday” review.  See you in another (hopefully soon) life, brother. Julie, my angsty sister, thank you for being such an incredible leader and role model. I am constantly in awe of how talented you are and your never-ending willingness to help everyone.

You may have almost forgotten to put me in your reflection, but I won’t forget to put you in mine, Zan. Thank you for being one of the first people I learned from and if you could stop being good at so many things that would be cool because it makes me want to vom.

John, you did forget me in your reflection, but I’m not one for vengeance and really, I could never feel anything but love for you. From eating too much (never enough) cheese and staying still, silent and glowing, you are one of the funniest people I know. Let’s start a Rivertowns Enterprise rival paper when we’re back in the  91forever. My dear Maria, dying my hair and watching “Criminal Minds” wouldn’t be the same without you. You are the coolest and most caring lady. Nobody deserves you the way that I do0o0.

Pierce and Justin, even though we were never on E-board together, I feel like we were and you are still so much a part of my Oracle family.

Molly, you haven’t been gone so long, but I miss you terribly. One day I’ll actually be around when you visit and we can cry over “Felicity.”

Now for those who remain…where do I even begin?

Andrew, Andrew, Andrew. We’ve been journalism buddies since the very beginning and I hope that never changes. Without you, I wouldn’t even be sitting here right now. I’m perpetually in awe of everything that you do. You are very much what everyone on this E-board aspires to be. You’re going to do big things, so please hook me up with a job sometime.

Cat and Katie, you assholes. You’re going to rock this paper next year, I have no doubt. You are so smart and good at what you do, Cat. Please never stop being such an astoundingly compassionate person. Too femme to function, forever. Kspellz, I can safely say you’re the wittiest person I know and such a fantastic writer. I hope in a few years we can have puppy playdates and weep together.

Carolyn, your writing is beautiful, you have mermaid hair and I can’t imagine not knowing you. Let’s hang out with Jose soon. Angela, you jumped right into sports and have done such an impressive job. You are forever my peer editing buddy.

Caterina and Jen, you two have been the best copy editors I could have asked for. Thank you for always being persistent and working your hardest even in difficult situations when sources are the worst. John, I have so much confidence that you will take over this news section and make it even better. Make sure you up the punx!

Zameena and April, you are both so sweet and I have seen you grow so much as writers. I know you will both do big things for this paper. Suzy, have fun with A&E, work it out and up the butts.  You got this. Lil’ Lief, keep up the sass and rock sports next semester. I know you can. Tursi, please keep writing video game reviews because you really are so damn good at it.

Thank the lawd I brought you on board, Sam. You’re great, your photos are great and you know everyone loves you so I won’t stroke your ego anymore. Robin, thank you for always being super on top of things and taking such awesome photos all the time.

Joe Neggie, media production is hard and your good at it, so keep on truckin’. And drinking.

A bunch of hours have passed since I first wrote this and now I’m a little manic, which is only appropriate because I’ve never once wrote a column not in some tweaked out, sleep-deprived state. Why start now?

The time is growing closer for me to bid farewell to something that I am so in love with and attached to. But it’s okay. I know that even when I’m gone, I will always have a home in this office and the people in it. I know you can’t make homes out of people, but I think with the staff of The Oracle, you can.

Where else can you find so many people who believe in the power of journalism (yes, it exists), who will stare longingly at photos of animals with you, who will deal with your severe Corgi obsession, who will make the best out of every situation, who will listen to shitty music you liked when you had pink hair, who will always be there for you? Here and only here.  It takes a certain type of person to willingly spend countless hours and regularly stay awake until the sun rises, all for the sake of informing the campus and community. And I, for one, am proud to know so many of them.

It’s all starting to hit me now and I should probably stop.

What we do is important and we must never forget that. It’s been an incredible and life changing experience, and I know this paper is in the most perfect, angelic hands possible. You’re the only campus news source worth reading and I know you’ll keep it that way.

I don’t know what the future holds for me, but I know it’s brighter because of all I’ve learned here. I love you all, Oracle dismissed.