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Farewell from the Editor: Final Draft (version 3)

On my ukulele case you’ll find many buttons. My favorites include:

NASA’s “Failure is not an option.”

Dwight Schrute’s “Fact.”  

Strange Planet’s “I am not trained for this.” 

The first was my motto every production week during this school year, as I was buried in tissues for literal issues. When Professor Overall asked me how I felt after we published our first edition in September, I replied, “It is printed.” Fact.

It seemed after all our hard work was in print I could only see the tiny things I wanted to change but couldn’t, things probably no one else noticed but me (and Staci, ‘cause she catches all the things I don’t.)

It’s frustrating — because failure wasn’t supposed to be an option. People would say that it’s okay if there is a mistake, it’s not the end of the world, stop crying, get out from under your desk, etc. But after a few days, when my eyes weren’t so swollen, I looked at our paper again and thought that maybe I’d hang it on my fridge.

I grew in patience and pride with each paper we produced; failure may not be our option, but it is a natural byproduct of high standards and ambitious goals.

At the Oracle, we venture to cover global subjects and localize them in a way that helps students know they are a part of something bigger in the world, and how that impact can ripple to wherever they are. At the same time, we hoped to help them feel at home in their own home by highlighting the unique people, places, events and things in Tulsa that Tulsa wouldn’t be Tulsa without. 

With a nifty six, I think we might’ve set the record for the least amount of Oracle issues since 1966 (but don’t quote me on that.) Although stopped short, we devoted the same energy and care into each issue as if it was our last, because each was new and exciting, telling its own unique story of stories. 

Even after checking off news values, I couldn’t tell you for sure what is newsworthy and not. We’ll stick to our journalism books, but hey, this is a student newspaper and what’s newsworthy is what the students care about. 

That may include Gabriel’s video game story ideas that he pitched every Wednesday, or Alejandro’s new favorite artist, who he was hesitant to write about but always crushed because of his passion for the subject. It includes Jenny’s spunky ideas in lifestyle, Pauline’s “something about the environment!!!” stories, Brendon’s insanely incredible approaches to sports and helpful government insight, Faith’s strong but well-informed opinions about anything, Nina’s hard-hitting but necessary news stories and Staci’s constant creativity in every section, out of subjects I wouldn’t have otherwise thought twice about.

When my sister drafted me into the Oracle as digital media editor in 2018, I was not set on becoming a journalist. But Dr. Royall pitches a career in journalism as too good to be true, so I thank her sincerely for her inspiring passion, and for being a constant aide and persistent defender. Thank you to Professor Overall, a Tulsa World rockstar, for his painfully honest critiques and classes that I could take 10 times and still learn something new.

When I was handed the Oracle baton at the end of my freshman year, I thought I am not trained for this! 

But that didn’t really seem to matter — not in college, at least. I could shamelessly wear my unqualified badge because I had a patient and persistent editorial team behind me, a group of passionate writers who pulled endless story ideas from hats and a hardworking distribution team that got it to the students’ hands through rain, heat or snow. 

Many of us missed out on our sappy “well, well, well, it’s been a crazy ride” moment at the end-of-year office party, but unfortunately tough times don’t come when it’s convenient. After documenting history with the Oracle for the past two years, I can confidently say it has been my favorite group project.

You’d think after some 600 hours in the Student Publications office, I’d have said all I needed to say by now. But here I go, over my word count.

Per the advice of Walter Mitty, I’ll just put it on a plaque and hang it at my next job.