Goodbye doesn’t always mean forever

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Goodbye doesn’t always mean forever

Story by Emily Bell, Copy Editor and Photographer

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Six years, two degrees, over 60 Oracle issues, 20 HTV shows, and 25 radio broadcasts: these are the sums of my college media life. 

This is my last semester, nearly lived in full, and this is the last story I write for The Oracle. 

I’m headed for Austin, boyfriend and cats in tow, to splat right in the middle my next step in life. We’re two “starving artists” seeking part-time positions, a one-bedroom apartment, and an art community in which to explore and evolve. 

I have no idea what to expect, but I’m here for whatever emerges. I can only spend this time reflecting, finishing up, and saying goodbye. 

There are not too many happy memories from my time here. I’ve had countless problems with the university, dozens of literally traumatizing exchanges with students, death threats, misogyny, terrible relationships, worse breakups, financial fiascos, and homelessness. 

Obviously I have no interest in lingering about here much longer. 

However, there’s been a surprising amount of good in my time here. 

The professors (the massive majority of them) have been the most phenomenal people for me. I’ve gained several role models and permanently life-altering quotes. I admire many of my professors, and consider myself seriously blessed to have known them. 

And the hell I’ve put them through at times has not gone unnoticed by me. Alongside my endless “thanks” to every one of you, you’ll find my lengthy, sobbing apology. 

The other, often positive portions of my life here can all be traced back to the university’s media departments. Although I’ve tramped my way around by working on every staff (sometimes multiple simultaneously), I think my heart flutters the most for The Oracle. 

I actually sacrificed a lot for this paper, but I lament at the fact that I could have done more. This paper has lasted over 100 years, and it deserves no less than any staff member’s undying dedication. 

Sadly, we’re not always able to give the paper the quality it could have. That hasn’t stopped it from achieving its purpose: to provide the students with our newsly drivel (kidding, except for stories like this one). 

I love The Oracle immensely, and I’m swimming in surrealism at the end of my time here. While writing this, I sit here in the office, my name attached to my favorite Mac and workspace. Next semester, there will be multiple people to take over my positions. 

To the people taking on my positions next semester, I commend you. Although there have been no formal announcements as to who precisely will be hired, I have seen the potentials, and I respect and admire their work. Congrats to those taking these positions; you will make the paper greater. 

Over these years, I’ve built relationships that will literally span over my lifetime. I’m excited to see where my fellow staff members and media peers will go in their lives. I see our connections benefiting all of us later in life, although they have already benefitted me extensively. 

I appreciate every experience I’ve had here. I have gone through intense hills and valleys, but always had someone who could relate. At some point, we’ve all taken turns carrying each other. We’ve been citizens who needed saving as well as the heroes who save the day. 

Media is not easy, but that’s the draw for the people in it. It’s challenging, critical, and fiercely overwhelming at times. It drains you and gives you purpose all at once. You must be an artist who can adapt on demand in any instance, but must also follow an unwavering, ethical rigidity. 

I’ve been working on and off in media since high school and have worked with both media greats and lesser-known messes. No matter where I’m working or for whom, I have never encountered an “easy” media job. 

It’s chaotic, troubling, and will often leave you shaken, but it’s worth every breath in my lungs. 

After everything, after every moment that broke me, after every opportunity that built me, every conflict, every connection, every failure and achievement, I’m left feeling thankful. 

I changed radically and rapidly over a short period of time. Six years may seem like forever to many students, but it’s nothing at all. These past two years I’ve spent exclusively focusing on media have left me unrecognizable compared to 2015 me. From my last graduation to this one, I’m happily unlike my old self. 

Thank you, everyone, for everything. I wanted to experience life in full and I have received in full. 

Here’s to many more fulfilling decades after college. So long, and thanks for all the fish.