Page 1

NO. 12 MAY


a magazine with The Oracle








Find Us On Social Media! thetellermagazine





Contact us if you are interested in contributing! THE TELLER



FROM THE founder

Dear Readers, For one last time I have the opportunity to write to you as Editor-in-Chief of The Teller. This is it – the last issue of the semester, my last issue of The Teller ever. It feels like yesterday that I was brainstorming ideas for creating a lifestyle and literary & art magazine. In actuality, it’s two years and 12 issues later. I want to personally thank everyone who has supported The Teller, whether it be by reading or by contributing every month. If I’m being honest, this most definitely wouldn’t have been possible without all of the help from the individuals who were on our staff. This entire experience has allowed me to learn more than I could have imagined. We fought an uphill battle to get the recognition we deserve, yet we did it. With that being said, I couldn’t be happier to announce that The Teller is officially a recognized club on the SUNY New Paltz campus. While we have been operating as an accompanying magazine of The New Paltz Oracle over the last two years, we are excited to move forward as our own organization. I am beyond happy to leave knowing that The Teller will now function as a Student Association recognized club. Our last issue is a little different than our prior ones. Things in the world are still crazy and we don’t know when quarantine is going to end. However, we still wanted to give our contributors an opportunity to have work published for the last time this semester, and for the graduating seniors, their last time ever. With that being said, the theme to this issue is “unfiltered.” We have no sections in this issue and it is a little smaller than in the past. However, the contributions received were remarkable. Students wrote about their experiences in quarantine, including guides of how to eat healthy and how to DIY clothing. One contributor submitted a photo series “NYC Through Car Windows,” while others took the opportunity to write about the importance of voting, building resilience and more. As always, we have several poems and short stories to enjoy as well. In addition to all of this, the Spring 2020 Executive Board took some time to write their own reflections about their time at The Teller. From the bottom of my heart, I hope everyone is staying healthy and careful as the world navigates this unprecedented time. Thank you, again, to everyone who has supported The Teller through and through. This publication will be what I always think of when I reflect upon my time at New Paltz. Stay self-isolated and enjoy reading,

Cloey Callahan Founder/Editor in Chief

C O N T 004 Exexutive Board Reflections


Achieving Health Goals from Home

New York City Through Windows: COVID-19




Comforting Chicken Marsala Recipe


Why You Should Vote This November


Free Services Available for Quarantine


E N T S 022

An Open Love Letter to Past Loves


Immune-Boosting Super Tea Recipe

Visiting the Past Through Music




Upcycling Clothes: The Do’s and Don’ts


What Waits Within, a short story


Q+A With Our Graphic Designer, Julia


Cloey Callahan Editor in Chief UGH. I can’t believe it is over. Above all, I want to say how much this staff means to me. To be in a place where everyone shares a common passion and love is really so moving. They all have motivated me, grounded me when I needed it, and have been amazing people to work with. I know for a fact without everyone’s hard work The Teller wouldn’t be where it is today. Especially the two people who have helped carry so much of the weight — Julia and Taylor. Both Julia and I are graduating, but I have never felt more trust in someone than I do with Taylor. She is going to be an amazing Editor-in-Chief. I can’t wait to see how The Teller moves forward. I wish our staff had a proper send off this semester, with so many of us being graduating seniors. However, I know our time together was well spent and was filled with memories I will look back on forever. All I can say is thank you to everyone. Thank you to our staff, our advisor Val (who truly has had our backs from day one), our readers, our contributors. Just everyone. Thank you!


Julia Catalanello Lead Graphic Designer Two years ago, at the end of my sophomore year, Cloey had posted that she needed help making her idea for a lifestyle and art magazine on campus come to life. I had just finished my first semester of the graphic design program and was excited to test my skills to see what we could create together. We spent that summer planning, and hit the ground running in the Fall of 2018. I started out laying out the entire magazine by myself, spending about 30 hours during the week of production. Eventually, with the magazine up and running we were a more official publication that existed online and our following grew. I am so thankful for Christian and Olivia being my saviors and joining me in the Spring of 2019. We really stepped up our game and before my eyes I watched as the magazine transformed into what I had always hoped it would be. This past year, as The Teller has gained even more of a following, I saw my design team grow to be about 15 people and that is something I could not be more proud of. Now, I could not have ever *everrrrrrr* imagined how far we’d come and how much we’d grow. As I leave my time here at The Teller I am extremely proud. We have grown this magazine into something that will leave a lasting impact on this community, just like it has on myself. As we have just become a chartered club for the fall, I am beyond excited to see what the future of The Teller holds. To everyone who has made this all possible, especially Cloey and my fellow e-board members, thank you, thank you, thank you for everything. We have truly created something special.



Taylor Dinardo Managing Editor I remember attending the first GI for The Teller in the September of my freshman year. I was initially intimidated by the bustling room filled with creative individuals. I congregated around a rectangular table, waiting to sign up to contribute poetry. Discussion ensued around the table, everyone asking questions. What is The Teller? Later that month, at my very first copy editing session, I began to see it. There were dozens of contributions, including art, poetry and articles about a myriad of topics — it was quality work, created voluntarily by busy, full-time students who wanted to showcase their work. I was amazed that so many people cared about this mission as me, but then I realized it made sense. After all, sharing our ideas and passions are all a part of what makes us human and helps us to connect. Seeing my poetry in the digital spread filled me with pride. My love for this magazine has only deepened as I have become more involved, now serving as the managing editor. I think back to that question that I asked at my very first GI. What is The Teller? The question has answered itself over time. It is whatever we want it to be.

Judy Capiral Social Media Coordinator I’ve never been one for joining clubs. The pressure of making friends and not being around anyone I know is a terrifying concept to me. Yet I think that’s just a part of going away to school. Pushing yourself into a sea of people who won’t all be like you, but finding the fun in that anyway. Realistically, it’s a part of growing up. And I’m proud to say that in my Bildungsroman, my coming-of-age story, I’ve also gotten the chance to grow with The Teller. To see it through from its roots, a small flyer on the corner of The Oracle’s club fair table, to an officially chartered club with the Student Association. It’s truly remarkable. Apart from that, writing for this magazine has brought me back to when I used to write for me. Before all the papers and discussion boards, I used to write about the things that I wanted to write about. I’ll forever be grateful to this magazine for renewing my love of writing, and giving me the space to be myself again. As I leave New Paltz, I know I still have a lot of growing up left to do, but I’m inspired by the strides The Teller has made and will continue to do for years to come. We did it guys!



Gabriella Rivera Food Editor Hi, my name is Gabriella Rivera and I have been fortunate enough to be a part of The Teller staff this year as the Food Section editor. Originally as a contributor, I have watched this magazine progress immensely compared to its original publish date. Every new idea and moment has truly been an inspiring crash course for me on what food means to everyone individually. To see new contributors embracing their joy through their culinary creations and knowledge fills my heart to the brim. These pages emit passion and vulnerability, our contributors contrive pieces that make my heart leap but most importantly, this e-board has truly become a family I will be thankful for throughout the rest of my literary career. From the bottom of my heart I am truly thankful for this opportunity to learn, to grow and to shape my voice for this magazine.


Jessica Barr Fashion & Beauty Editor When I first heard about The Teller, it hadn’t even been named yet. A friend of mine told me of a girl (Cloey) who was starting a lifestyle magazine on campus, and urged me to consider writing for it. So, I did. I went to the first meeting and listened to the brainstorming of names, ideas, sections, etc. Looking back, I remember my best friend pushing me to actually go to the meeting. It had probably been a long day because I was feeling lazy and, if I know myself, was planning to ditch so I could scroll through Instagram or bake cookies. Thank God, I went. That might sound dramatic, but writing for and becoming a section editor of the magazine has pushed me in ways I couldn’t have imagined. As someone that’s dreamt of becoming a fashion journalist, The Teller has given me more confidence than I’ve ever had in my writing and has allowed me to build relationships with influencers, other fashion publications and strangers online who inspire me. With a mostly female staff it was refreshing to work around women who were there to offer professional advice, writing tips and of course — snacks. One student’s idea turned into something that gave so many people a place on campus; in my case, my major too. I can only express my gratitude for the lessons The Teller has taught me in so many words, but I know one day I’ll settle into my career and look back at it as being a pivotal point in my journey to believing in myself and expressing my passion through writing. So to Cloey, Taylor, Julia and all of the other talented people that made this happen, Thank you.



Abigail Foster Adventure Editor I transferred to New Paltz two years ago without knowing a single person here. I wanted so badly to meet like-minded people and to be a part of something meaningful. Then I found The Teller; a group of young creatives trying to get their work out into the world. With them, I was able to explore my interests, learn from an amazing group of people and grow overall as a writer. Now, as a graduating senior, I know that I am fortunate enough to have been a part of this group, each member bringing something different to the table. When I look back at my college career, I will remember The Teller, my first experience as an editor and the friends that I made in the process. I hope that as I move into the start of my professional career, I will find another group of people similar to this one.

Emily Trama Health & Wellness Editor As a transfer student starting their third year of college, I didn’t feel a huge sense of community when I first arrived at SUNY New Paltz. I had friends and I loved the school, but I didn’t feel like I was really a part of it. Everyone tells you as a freshman or transfer that the answer to this problem was to “join a club!” but that only works when you find not only a group or club you are drawn to, but people you want to spend your time with. I got so lucky. When Cloey asked me if I wanted to be a part of the team for The Teller, I instantly felt something click. For the first time ever in college, I was a part of something. Even not coming from a writing background or major, I was welcomed with open arms. I have always loved to write; it was something I created a hobby out of but never had any serious plans of pursuing as a career. When you are in a place like that, you don’t really have anywhere for your work to go. At The Teller, I was told that what I wrote was just as important as anyone else’s. Working with The Teller has been an amazing experience for me, and I am glad it will continue. I will always be thankful for the people I have met through this organization,and growing together has created a bond between the magazine and I that I am not only comforted by, but immensely proud of.



Nadine Cafaro Literary & Art Editor


I first found out about The Teller through an active e-board member who would always gush about her love for the magazine. This influenced me to go to their website and flip through their issues. As a fourth-year journalism student struggling to unleash my creativity, I was instantly drawn to the magazine’s sections, graphic design and artwork. A semester later I was fortunate enough to be the one of two literature and art section editors. The experience has both allowed me to explore my creative freedoms at a time I felt stuck and helped me combine journalism and creative writing in a way I didn’t realize they could mesh. I’ve met funny, talented and sophisticated people who deeply care for the magazine’s future — which I already know will be successful. Although I only spent one semester with them, it was the first time I felt like I belonged at SUNY New Paltz since I’m a transfer student who picked a brand new major. Graduating with time at The Teller made my drastically changed senior year feel more complete. The only thing I regret is not being brave enough to approach The Teller sooner... so if you’re contemplating, do it.

Diana Testa Head Copy Editor Wow, I can’t believe this is our last issue of the year! It has been amazing to watch The Teller become a successful collection of voices, art and ideas from it’s first issue to now. Being a part of this e-board has given me so much confidence in myself as a writer and an editor, and I truly love doing my position for this magazine. Getting to know everyone on the staff has been my favorite part of this year and I’m so sad to see the seniors go, but I’m excited to hear about all the great things they will accomplish. Thank you to Cloey for giving this magazine life and giving the students at SUNY New Paltz a creative platform like no other on campus. Thank you to everyone else on the staff for all your hard work on your sections and articles. Reading your pieces is the best part about editing. It has been a great year for The Teller, especially since we finally got chartered as an official club. I’m so excited to see what’s to come!




Annemarie Durkin Head Page Editor When I had first heard of The Teller I was a business student in my second year at New Paltz. While I had interest in writing in high school, my creativity took a back seat when I went to college to focus more on my studies. It wasn’t until I left the business school to pursue a degree in journalism that I rediscovered my love for writing. I wondered for a long time why my friends were all boasting of the ease of our classes, sharing the A’s and B’s on their transcripts, while I was barely holding my head above water at a C average. At the conclusion of my Fall 21017 semester, I got a notice declaring my release from the business school after I failed to maintain a high enough GPA. For someone who was celebrated by her family all her life for being so good at school and so smart, something like this was earth shattering for me. As upsetting as it was, however, this was an opportunity; I had the chance to pursue any career I wanted now. As I perused the undergraduate catalog on New Paltz’s website, I lingered for a while on journalism. It sounded perfect to me, a combination of my forgotten love for writing and my desire to make a difference in the world. Since switching majors I never felt any doubts that I had made the right decision that day. The Teller offered me the opportunity to explore my creativity in a way I felt wasn’t being fulfilled by my classes — it offers students the chance to create without the limitations of class assignments and accepts anyone interested no matter their background, major, interests, etc. I was able to create without worry and limits, which helped me find my voice with The Teller and that is what I’m most grateful for. For the last year I have served on the staff as one of the head page editors. I can’t even put into words the total sense of comradery and togetherness I have felt during my time in this position and especially during copy editing. Some of my favorite memories this year come from those long nights in the office together snacking and jamming to music with this staff. And although a public health crisis cut my time on this staff a few months short, I walk away with memories and friendships to last a lifetime — something even a global pandemic can’t take away from me.



Susanna Granieri Head Page Editor I transferred to SUNY New Paltz in the Fall of 2018, wide-eyed and ready to start on a clean slate. I moved in with seven girls I had never met, and barely even spoke to before. They were a part of the Sigma Delta Tau sorority on campus, so obviously, I was inclined to go with them for a few nights and see what their lives were like. One night, after walking from a meeting to an event for the sorority, a girl I hadn’t really talked to tapped me on the shoulder. “Hey, I heard you were into editing,” she said. “I’m starting a magazine if you want to help me out.” Yes, this is a story from two years ago, so the scene for me is pretty fuzzy. But, this girl turned out to be Cloey Callahan, founder and current editor-in-chief of The Teller. That is where the adventure began, the journey of dedicated writers and AP Style enthusiasts trying to document the lives of students at New Paltz, recipes, mental health guides, and so much more. The Teller is a magazine of great creativity and dedication. Without the amazing dedication of our staff, this magazine would not be where it is today. To our graduating seniors, thank you for all that you have done and continue to do. I was a head page editor for the magazine. This experience has expanded my knowledge immensely, giving me an outlet of creativity and expanding my options for future careers. This role gave me a purpose in this publication that will forever impact me. I never knew a place where I could publish my work comfortably and free of judgement. Yes, edits are made, but on The Teller I was free to express myself. From the dozens of poems I have submitted, to photography that otherwise would have sat on my hard drive — I’m grateful, truly. Although I am a writer and should never be at a loss for words, reflecting upon my time at The Teller is more difficult than I had imagined. The memories from editing, to ordering garlic knots that are raw from Pomedoros to suffering the losses from COVID-19, I am glad to call this group a collective of people to rely on. Openness and acceptance are difficult to achieve, but this publication has brought me a sense of understanding that I had always hoped for. I have learned from our staff, where we lean on each other, quickly opening our AP Books to help out, or laughing when someone gets a “read only” Google Doc. I have always loved to write, draw and take photos, but I never thought they would ever be shared. The Teller was where my work was first published, and I will always remember the trials and tribulations we went through to get where we are today. As of April 10, 2020, The Teller was chartered as an organization at SUNY New Paltz, and I couldn’t be more proud. 010

Jeffrey Seitz Literary & Art Editor

Rebecca Angelou Assitant Graphic Designer

all Contributors

Morgan Hughes Home Editor

Content Ananda Cash, Katherine Goldblatt, Emily Trama, Laura Bojamaa, Taylor Dinardo, Jessica Barr, Diana Testa, Susanna Granieri, David O’Keefe, Brianna Knight, Jeffrey Seitz, Pamela Loperena, Gabriella Rivera, Cloey Callahan, Marissa Ammon, Annemarie Durkin, Elise Franck, Sarah Cunningham, Morgan Hughes, Sarah Bale, Olivia Heins, Taylor Dowd, Justin Rampert, Michelle Nedboy, Jessica Tobey, Emily LaSita, Nadine Cafaro, Mason Longenberger, Colin Battersby, Lindsey Mayer, Julia Catalanello, Judy Capiral, Abby Foster, Design Team Julia Catalanello, Olivia Heins, Christian Torgersen, Kirstin Phillips, Emma Misiaszek, Kyla Jakubowski, McKenna Wood, Nishi Patel, Website Manager Caroline Rowley, Cover Colin Battersby,

Matthew Whitworth Business Manager

Madelyn Crews Assitant Managing Editor




by Emily Trama

Being stuck at home is a serious bummer. Not being able to see your friends, go to the movies, the gym, anywhere really, could be putting a bad taste in your mouth every day. Having school and jobs taken away could be leaving you with a lot of stress and little structure. It’s important now more than ever that we focus on ourselves. Working on our physical and mental health should be our number one priority to get us through this difficult time. Adjusting my eating habits and incorporating fitness into my daily routine has given me more energy and structure throughout my days at home. It’s very easy to fall into the habit of eating junk food while watching “Tiger King” all day, and on some days that’s fine; but doing so every day will start to prove itself unhealthy for your brain and body fairly quickly. Eating right and getting your body moving will definitely shake away some of that self-isolation sorrow.

FOOD Let’s not go on a diet! Don’t put so much pressure on yourself in a short amount of time. Instead, creating a couple of guidelines for the way you eat can be a lot more effective, more positive and give you more freedom to choose a lot of what you eat. I’ve never felt like it was good for my mental health to count calories and such, so I have created a couple of rules for my own eating habits that are cheap and give me room to ignore myself every now and then:


Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day! Instead of cereal or any carb-heavy breakfast, eat some form of protein and fruit; I usually have one egg, a piece of ham or turkey bacon, and half an avocado (a healthy fat) or a banana (a healthy carb) Only one meal with carbs per day Try to replace bread with lettuce, chips with vegetables, white rice with quinoa, etc.! When you are craving a salty snack, grab some vegetables and add a little salt to them ­­— it does the trick, I promise.

Only one item with added sugar per day This one can be hard, I’ll admit. For me, this one item could be a coffee, soda or candy; when you are craving something sweet, turn to fruit No dairy Dairy can make you feel tired and bloated, the opposite of what you want when you’re stuck at home all day; dairy alternatives can be pretty costly so I try to steer clear, but almond, cashew, oat, soy, and coconut milk products are yummy too!


Water, water, water Water is your best friend. If you are not a water person and prefer something with flavor, infuse it! Leave a pitcher or water bottle in the fridge overnight with water infused with lemon, cucumber, mint, orange, or whatever fresh fruits, watery vegetable, or herb you enjoy most! I generally try to eat mostly fresh foods throughout the day. Fresh foods are not only better for you because they are not typically processed, but they’re cheaper too! Buying microwave chicken nuggets and mac and cheese can add up after a while and make you feel sluggish; give your body a break with fresh fruits, veggies, fish and meats to fuel up with vitamins and natural sugars.

FITNESS Let’s talk about fitness. Working out at home can seem like a complete drag. But we don’t need equipment or fancy facilities to pump up our endorphins and get a good sweat going. Working out in the morning offers an energyfilled start to your day and working out at night can bring a good night’s sleep. Incorporating fitness into your day will not only make you feel better physically, but mentally as well! It’s something to check off of your to-do list and boost your mood.


Working out can also make you more productive; I focus best and do the most work after I exercise. Workout in your room, living room, basement, anywhere! On nice days, take your workout outside or go for a run or walk around the block. To help you get started in figuring out what works for you and your body, here is my daily workout: Abs 25 bicycle crunches* 25 leg raises 25 penguin crunches* 25 russian twists* 25 straight leg crunches 50 standard crunches 25 “in and outs” 25 side plank dips* 25 side-to-side plank dips* *__ reps per side Two sets Legs 25 standard squats 15 side step squats* 25 fire hydrants* 25 donkey kicks* 25 wide sumo squats 25 hip bridges *__ reps per leg Arms 40 tricep dips 20 push-ups 25 shoulder taps* 30 wide arm circles 30 small arm circles *__ reps per arm

If you have weights or resistance bands at home, use ‘em! I don’t have weights so, as silly as it sounds I sometimes use paint cans or bags filled with books. Youtube is also a great resource for free, high quality workouts. After my workout, I like to cool off with some yoga, light stretching and refuelling fresh fruits, vegetables and lots of water. I know this is a stressful time for many and that a lot feels out of your control right now. So, give yourself this time to take control of yourself. We are all adjusting to this new normal together! I hope that what I’ve shared could give you somewhere to start. Remember to not beat yourself up; wash your hands and practice good public health etiquette. We are going to get through this! Stay positive and stay safe.


it’s Okay. THE TELLER


Letting Go of Self-Expectations During Quarantine by Diana Testa

New York City, like almost everywhere else around the world, has been shut down for over a month with no clear date on when it will be safe to reopen. Penn Station is empty during rush hour on a Monday and Times Square is eerily vacant, with billboards flashing images to no one but the lone-masked person scurrying home. I’ve been social-distancing like everyone else (who actually cares about humanity and listens to the experts) for weeks now, only leaving home to go on runs around the neighborhood and on anxious trips to the food store. My family and I occasionally venture out on early-morning drives to watch the waves crash against a desolate beach from the car. But for the most part, I’ve been pretty sedentary. Like many others, I’ve been spending a significant amount of time monotonously scrolling through social media, not really knowing what else to do with myself. My little projects, like organizing my room and cleaning out closets are starting to become lackluster. Most of us are now faced with a lot of unchartered time in our days — free time some people haven’t had since they were kids. My Instagram feed is filled with endless posts of people creating art, writing that book they’ve been putting off for years, baking an obscene amount of banana bread, exercising like they’re joining the military or reading and giving their homes extreme makeovers. I have my own lists scattered in notebooks and the notes app on my phone, filled with writing ideas and fitness goals that always seemed too time-consuming to dive into. Now that I’m being ordered to isolate myself at home and have all this extra time, it’s the golden opportunity to finally get my life together. I mean, it’s kind of every writer’s dream! Except, getting my life together is the opposite of what I’m doing…


I’m writing this from my bedroom at 4 p.m. on a Monday, feeling extremely frustrated with myself for not being more productive today. My hair is crying to be washed and my bedroom walls are begging for the blinds to be opened. I could very well have homework due soon but I haven’t checked my online agenda since last Friday. The truth is, I feel incredibly unmotivated to get anything done. As someone who struggles with anxiety and depression, what seems like the perfect opportunity to reorganize my life feels like a new obstacle. All this time to “focus on myself” has turned into overthinking. And all this overthinking has caused anxiety. I don’t feel creative or relaxed with all this unchartered time, but instead unmotivated and drained. I didn’t recognize how much I thrive on my routines and organized social interactions, such as classes and team practices until they were gone; they kept my mental and physical health in order. Now, without anything forcing me out of bed, on a run or to talk with my friends — any kind of normalcy feels out of reach. I started writing this with a lot of frustration and anger for not using this time to better myself, but I’m realizing that all the expectations I’ve placed on myself are unrealistic in such a strange and uncertain time. I’m readjusting what productivity looks like to me and letting go of all the unnecessary stress I’ve accumulated by comparing myself to others. To anyone reading this also struggling with selfexpectations right now, it’s okay if your best during this time looks like waking up and taking a shower; or making yourself something healthy to eat. Even getting yourself to move your body by doing some yoga or stretching is a marker of progress. You don’t have to come out of this pandemic with a new skill or with rock-hard abs. You don’t have to remake yourself into the perfect person. Take a deep breath and try to find peace with yourself. You’re doing the best you can given the circumstances. Stay safe, stay healthy and stay home!


The Wallflower Queen by Pamela Loperena

.i. In front of a concrete wall, a girl stood watching pairs of silhouettes swallow the dance floor. Unlike everyone else at the party, she seemed to have arrived there alone. She wasn’t exactly a social butterfly; but, she went since she received a mail invitation and always convinced herself to attend something crazy once in a while. White balloons bounced around. Teenage voices filled the air. She could’ve danced with anyone, but she remained at the wall with shy feet planted to the ground.. She wasn’t the only one against the wall. Shifting to her left, there was a guy smoking a cigarette, exhaling his self-esteem away. To her right, a shorter girl actively avoided her gaze, texting on her phone. Staying near the wall felt hopeless, yet it was the only thing she did best. Then, on the dance floor before her, she saw a male figure glimmering underneath one of the strobe lights. He wore a taupe bomber jacket and beat up kicks. He wasn’t doing anything particularly special. He just hung out with another silhouette, laughing up a storm. Yet the girl somehow liked how he pushed his hair carelessly out of his face and how he pretended to enjoy whatever drink was in his red solo cup. The boy looked smart enough to know that he could be spending his time in a better way than being there. The girl’s heartbeat pulsed a little faster. She couldn’t control the feeling. Her cheeks even grew warmer. A moment later, the boy caught the girl’s glimpse and crinkled his lips into a smile.

.ii. As a boy entered a crowded room with his female friend, neon welcomed them. Loud, ambient alternative music played in the background. His friend dragged him to the middle of the dance floor. She mouthed a few words in his ear, but the room was too loud for him to hear her. A beaming strobe light blared in his eyes. He didn’t know how to dance. Earlier, he lied that he could to his friend, just so he wouldn’t kill his ego. That was the dumbest


decision he made that night. Ingesting another sip of the complimentary beer, he took his sweet time to prevent his friend from forcing him to reveal the truth on the dance floor. The boy could tell that his friend was getting more drunk, since she was beginning to dance off balance beside a sea of strangers. But she was still conscious of her surroundings. He chuckled at the sight of her. Today, was also his birthday. But he wished it wasn’t so that he could’ve had an excuse to leave. The party wasn’t meant for him either. Before he came to the event, he heard through the grapevine that this large social gathering happened to be some upper-classmen’s idea. Small-talk wasn’t his preferred conversation style. He would have rather spent the night with his female friend, questioning the reality of human existence and chasing comets in the empty park down the street.

.iii. The boy witnessed another girl at a wall in the distance. Her thin frame bewildered him. She stood there like her soul feared meeting somebody new. From what he could see in the dim-lit dark, a pair of pale hands shook, as those dull, violet locks of hers drooped. The girl tried to blend in with the bricks as if she were a statue, but failed miserably since she was the most peculiar-acting person there. But the boy resonated with her. Even though he had a friend there with him, he felt lonely living in the world. His friend didn’t really appreciate his introverted nature that much and loved the limelight. Therefore, the boy found beauty in the mutual darkness he shared with the girl. He was enamored with how this girl was brave enough to stand by herself with nobody to tell her what to do or say. She was a mesmerizing wallflower no one dared to pluck. When he saw her eyes piercing straight into him, he felt quite flattered. A small part of him became eager to approach her. His stomach fluttered and soon his brain began to fantasize about a thousand different scenarios of what she could possibly sound like. Maybe he would get the girl’s number later. But for now, the boy couldn’t help but make a stupid grin, hoping the girl would stick around longer to give him one good reason to not race out the door. 016

Defining Time at College WHAT WILL REMAIN IMPORTANT WHEN IT’S SAID AND DONE? by Cloey Callahan

What three words would you use to categorize your time at college? Will they be places you’ve visited? Groups you’re a part of? People you knew? How will your experience be defined? For some you might just be starting college, while others might be ending it, like me. Those who are in the middle of your time — how are you defining it now? Will you be happy with your experience by the time graduation rolls around? I now have the opportunity to look back, play the nostalgic card, and reminisce on my time at school over the past four years. The Teller. Sigma Delta Tau. Relationships. Those are my three words — in no particular order. The Teller is an obvious one. I feel like starting The Teller has become part of my identity in a way. At least my undergrad identity. It makes sense, though. I have spent at least five minutes of every single day thinking about The Teller or doing something for The Teller since the spring semester of 2018. It has become the most remarkable aspect of my resume, my icebreaker for a number of conversations, and something that has shaped me, as much as I have shaped it. Being a member of Sigma Delta Tau is something I don’t think I have ever discussed in the magazine. (why do


I keep the two so separate? they are both so important to me) However, I have been involved in sorority life since the beginning of my sophomore year. I have met my best friends through joining that organization. I never thought it would have become such a significant part of my life. It definitely sweeps you off your feet in a way. Before you know it you have ~35 sisters to go to for anything you could imagine. Whether I like it or not, being a part of Sigma Delta Tau shaped my college experience in an unforgettable way. I say whether I like it or not because, well, we all know the stereotype of Greek life. But, I promise, SUNY New Paltz redefines greek life in a whole new way. I truly can’t imagine what the past years would have been like without it. Now, I get to leave college with friends who I can lean on for anything. Which brings me to the next part: relationships. This one seems a bit obvious and might apply to everyone. But all of my relationships in the past four years have helped me define my time at college. I’m talking about many different types of relationships — whether it was my romantic relationship of two years (half of my time at college! crazy), the platonic relationships I made with friends, the relationship I built with myself — well, all of it mattered.

These relationships decided where I was spending my time, who I was spending my time with, and so on. This one is the easiest for me to overthink. Should I have put more energy into different relationships? Made more relationships? Although I might overthink relationships, I can admittedly say I am most grateful for the one I built with myself. Four years ago, I was, well, not so in touch with myself. I didn’t like to think about too many of my feelings and I didn’t always go after what I wanted. Now, here I am. A different person in some ways. I am much more grown up and genuinely happy with how the past four years have treated me. If I had to give an honorable mention to a fourth defining part of my time at New Paltz, it would definitely be Main Street. New Paltz is magical in its own way; I really am so sad I am moving out. The memories made on Main Street are unforgettable. I think of the street fairs over the summer, people watching on Water Street, the livelihood at night, the parades and so on. I am so thankful for my time here and everything that has helped define my own experience. How has your experience been defined?



Home, for me, is nestled deep in Long Island suburbia. Here, the streets do not have sidewalks. There are no block parties or neighborhood cookouts; and for the most part, every person keeps to themselves and their families. Of course, when someone new moves in, people introduce themselves, but that is about it. The parents are friendly in the sense of politeness; the only bond is an unspoken agreement to watch over each others’ kids in case of an emergency (which they hope will not be the case). Meanwhile, I only have a single friend who lives on my street. The rest of the kids in the neighborhood? Our superficial acquaintanceships were contained to bus stops on curbsides and all but vanished when I transferred out of the local high school. No one played on the streets together, even though there was rarely any chance of danger from cars driving through. It’s not that the kids weren’t nice; some of them were. We were just more tied to our families. For as long as I can remember, my neighborhood has been a quiet, private place. At least, that was before quarantine arrived and upended the neighborhood and world as I knew it.

Now, I am not saying neighbors on my street are suddenly best friends; that statement would simply be untrue. However, there have been slight changes in the way things exist. Usually, if my family were to go on a neighborhood walk, we would rarely see other people doing the same thing. Nowadays, in good weather, we will see families taking their dogs for walks, siblings hugging the curb on bike rides, or even people drawing with sidewalk chalk at the edges of their driveways. Home has definitely become more lively. Since people cannot go outside to entertain themselves, they turn to their immediate surroundings. This has also strengthened the bonds between neighbors. Even though people still avoid physical contact like the plague, there will be smiles and wellwishes towards other families seen on daily walks. There seems to be more of a bond; a sense of camaraderie. Although I am unsure if these changes will stick around after quarantine is over, it is nice to see that my home and neighborhood has become more of a homey place.

Good Friday by Jeffrey Seitz Dear God, Are these snowflakes the frozen tears you’ve harvested within your eternally fatigued soul? Why did you hide them for so long? The sanctuaries are layered with Dust. Ghosts. Memories. Vows. Forsaken commitments. The wind’s mighty hand rattles the tree bones; the wood has been laid. We wait for fire to strike. I behold the cherry blossoms and the thousands of pink hands waving and clapping at the wind. We’re looking through the motions— searching for the one they pierced.



NYC Through Car Windows Susanna Granieri



NYC Through Car Windows Susanna Granieri



an open letter to my past (nearly) loves; by Annemarie Durkin

An open letter to my past (nearly) loves; Some of you hurt me, some of you disappeared, some just faded. All I loved — in some capacity. Some friends, others lovers — you know when I love, I love hard. I’m all in, always. A toxic trait of mine maybe; maybe it’s what pushed you away; maybe it’s what brought you closer. In any instance, you’re gone — everyone ends up gone, no matter what. Was it my reluctance? My obsessiveness? My intensity? Yeah, I know it can be alot; I’m very self aware of the traits that lead to my aloneness right now. I cycle through people faster than the beers I down to forget them. I want to not be lonely, to be loved, for a time. I had a glimpse of that recently — to the person who made me believe I could feel again, I’m sorry I ruined it. Drinks and bed sheets shared on Friday nights — now just a snapshot each day; emotionless. What put stars in my eyes and excited my psyche, so lonely for so long, disappeared as quickly as it arrived. You gave me hope again; maybe I wasn’t destined to be alone, maybe all Taureans weren’t awful, maybe this was my chance at love again — I blew it. I’ve made peace with losing you, though it took me some time. Seeing you smile from across the bar on those nights we should’ve been together, singing our favorite songs and slamming drinks; hurt me. Always the first thing my eyes were drawn to in a room full of tipsy college athletes — how’d you do that? So magnetic. I miss it. You’re gonna do amazing things; I can’t wait to see them — even if I’m not a part of them anymore. To my best friend — I love you, although I never told you. You entered my life so long ago, yet so recently still. Longtime acquaintance, short-lived lover. You make me feel so normal, so okay with being me. We’re better off as friends — what I’ve always told myself — until you look at me like that; you know what I’m talking about too, what you do to me. That look — makes my mind and belly do flips; everything gets thrown out the window. How badly I wanted to be yours, but knew I couldn’t. You love her still and I know, it’s okay. I want to treat you the way I know you deserve; she’s hurt you so bad, you need to see that. Maybe down the road things will change; I’ve always hoped for things to be different. They aren’t; and you can’t be mine and I’m struggling with that still — but getting there; slowly. I have loved so much in my twenty-something years; enough, I feel, to feed an army, as they say. I have so much to say to so many; and yet, the only two people I could choke out words to are you. Why? Why is my mind so flooded with thoughts of you and I together? You changed my perspective of what it means to love and be loved. What came before was not love; love doesn’t tear you down and break you apart like they did. You reminded me love is unconditional and irrational and has no rules — no mercy. Thank you for everything; I love you.





Meeting the Band by Marissa Ammon

It’s crazy to think how much can happen in 13 years. I think the year was 2002 or 2003. We were in high school. I hung out with the boys and our bud, Kyle who had a dang cute sister. It wasn’t until my sophomore year that I met her since she was in the grade below me. I looked at Kyle’s photo album which he lent me and stared at our young faces; it was before my wife wore makeup and I grew a beard and long hair. When I look at the old pictures, I think back to how cute she was with her dyed blonde hair and short skirts. The decade and a half went by and so much had changed, beginning when she was a senior. We found out that we were expecting a child. It was tough. I had to work two jobs and she couldn’t go to SUNY Cortland, her dream school where she would’ve gotten at least half of her tuition paid from her scholarship. Well, here we are; she’s a high school teacher and I’m a registered nurse...and a rocker. My wife and kids don’t know that I started a band. Keeping a secret from them doesn’t feel right; it feels like I’ve cheated. Twice a week on Friday and Saturday nights I don’t come home until two in the morning. My wife doesn’t go out anymore because she’s devoted to our home and children. We have three of them; ages thirteen, four, and one who’s just six months. She’ll find out, eventually. Once we book the The Trap House, I have no choice but to tell her because I’ll be gone for two to three nights.

I took a fast breath. “I didn’t tell Kelly.” “Well, you got to get your ass on that, man. We got a show next week.” “We need more songs. Tell her it’s for her brother’s band.” I exhaled once again. “My house this Friday. Ten-thirty, and you all need to enter from the rear.” Friday night came faster than I expected. I was going to tell Kelly, but it turns out she was busy. She took the kids somewhere– possibly a movie or her parent’s house. It's not that she doesn’t know I play music— she obviously does. That’s why she had the hots for me. Girls love singers and guitarists. However, the time was nine and I didn’t know if she would be back before ten. So, I texted in “Black Attack.” Joe: Hey all, I need you to come right now. My wife’s out of the house but I don’t know for how long. Matt: Dude, what’s wrong with your wife? Joe: Just get over here, please! Carl: I’m on my way. Joe: Hurry. Matt: You need to tell her, she probably thinks you’re rolling again. Carl: LOL and where’s Kyle?

I nodded. “You saying it’s my house now?”

Thank God they all showed up. Even Kyle did despite not responding in the group chat. I unlocked the basement door. Our basement was very organized with one half of the room filled with shelves and boxes of old toys, baby clothes, and Christmas decorations. There was also a big empty space where I kept all our bikes and the kid’s scooters. I pushed them outside since there was no early snow yet.

Our drummer, Matt, chimed in. He always chimed into conversations, as if his communication skills were a drum. “It’s the only place left.”

It was easy fitting the drum set and amplifiers through our back door. Matt is the best drummer I’ve heard in my life, except for old records of metal. Kyle and I always dreamed

“So, dude,” my friend, Carl said. “Mama’s illness is getting worse and she doesn’t want us rehearsing in the house as long as she’s there.”



of starting our own band. We would play music with friends in middle and high school, but nothing serious. We weren’t that good at the time. Then, I got Kelly pregnant, which was the only time I became more popular in school. I was known as the graduate who got a senior pregnant. Kelly and I made it through together; but after Natalie was born, I would only see my girlfriend and our daughter a few times a week. I was a part-time student and a parttime dad who was forced to take general classes at the community college. I was always secretly a nerd, which is why I studied nursing later on. Music was just a hobby and nothing more.

“Hi dad!” Emma screams while running up to our little set up. “Play music!”

Last year, Kyle and I had a renaissance in our friendship. We decided it was time to make a band. Even when Kelly was pregnant with our third child, I would spend time with the fellows and she didn’t mind. She knew we made music, but playing at venues and signing with an independent label was over her head. While on paternity leave, I wrote lyrics referring to my newest daughter. But in a strange way, they sound like I’m singing about a hot chick at the bar: nervous from the sight of her, but ready to make my move. It’s been so long, now I’m in the bar, ready to groove. My lyrics are cheesy, like that Billie Eilish girl. Not the best lyricist, but that’s rock for you.

Kyle steps in front of Kelly. “Hi, Hallie! Remember me? I’m your uncle Kyle.”

“Hey Emma, go get your brother, I have some good news.” I yell, trying to diffuse the situation. Kelly cocks her head to the side. Emma runs back up. The warden speaks, “Do you realize how late it is? Emma has dance tomorrow.” There was only one thing I could think of saying, and I wasn’t joking. “I told you boys were playing too loud.”

Kelly wasn’t too pleased since Kyle was the only one she recognized out of the five musketeers. I take my wife to the laundry room next to the play pen I bedazzled. It was the only private location downstairs. “I know this looks bad. But, love, get this. We’re signed!” She has no expression, but manages to mutter, “Congratulations.”

Just before we could finish Black Attack’s opening number of “Rainbow Death,” Kelly opens the door and all I hear is the loud bang and booming from her slippers. Kelly walks into the basement— my secret chamber. She stands with the baby on her shoulder. When she gets surprised, normally her eyes bulge out, but this time they stay at bay. “What is going on?” she whispers. I still hold my guitar and look at my fat ass bare feet. “I was going to tell you.”



What Time Is It?: a playlist by Emily LaSita What Time Is It? by High School Musical 2 Cast 4 Minutes (feat. Justin Timberlake) by Madonna Roaring 20s by Panic! At the Disco Breathe by Years & Years A Thousand Years by Christina Perri FourFiveSeconds by Rhianna, Kanye West, Paul McCartney Yesterday by The Beatles Friday I’m in Love by The Cure Time After Time by Cyndi Lauper We Didn’t Start the Fire by Billie Joe Sign of the Times by Harry Styles



Colin Battersby



Springtime Super Tea by Justin Rampert Oh, these insane times. Luckily for you, I’ve got a simple recipe that’ll help in aiding your health and supplement against the global pandemic. During the breaks in my time of solitude my dog and I have taken to the backwood trails near my house. The Spring season is one of the best to forage in because of all the sprouting plants and flowers. And yes, many of these can be eaten with the knowledge and precautions that come with them. For this edition I was lucky enough to find an old nemesis from my younger days in wilderness camp: Urtica Dioica aka Stinging Nettles. One of Earth’s natural superfoods that I believe to be overlooked is the Stinging Nettles plant. What grows in damp soil under shady areas produces a plant that carries


a nasty little sting. The leaf of this plant is spade shaped and has teeth along the outer edges. Covering the leaves and stems are tiny hair like thorns that emit a toxin into the blood and cause a rash on the skin. Although it may sound untempting this is somewhat a good identifier to test if you’ve found the correct plant. The leaves grow opposite sides to each other and the plant flowers into the summer. NOTE: once the plant flowers it’s best to AVOID because of its higher alkaline concentration. Finding the herb is always the hardest part but here’s how to prepare this devilish botanical. Fresh or dry is your personal preference as I like my leaves fresh picked. Simply, I took about a half cup of the nettles I foraged earlier in the


day and wrapped them in a coffee filter. I then took a string and tied the filter shut. This also allows me to control the steeping level of the bag. DO NOT steep into boiling hot water as this will mitigate the nutritional value of the tea. It’s best to steep in hot water for about 10-20 minutes in a large glass container (mason jar, reusable milk bottle, etc.). Hot or cold doesn’t really matter as I prefer my nettle tea to be chilled. Adding fresh mint leaves made for a fresher taste that adds to the earthy flavor of the tea. The leaves are best harvested off the top part of the plant which increases its sustainability and lifespan. Early to mid Spring is your best bet in finding the younger plants which are easier to pick and less hassle to obtain. The nutritional benefits of this tea are astronomical as it includes Vitamins A, B, C, K and minerals as Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium and Sodium. There are also some fats such as Linoleic acid, linolenic acid, palmitic acid, stearic acid and oleic acid. The leaves are an anti-inflammatory, can reduce prostate inflammation, and lower blood sugar content. It’s no wonder a plant avoided for it’s sting is defending it’s secret medicinal benefits. So remember guys, research, control and knowledge will aid you in finding and creating this lovely emerald tea that has been used for centuries among our species of planet earth. Good hunting!

Ingredients ½ cup of Nettle Leaves (dry or fresh) 1 to 4 Mint leaves *optional Directions Boil water then let cool ‘til it’s still hot to touch After creating your tea pouch steep in the water for 10-12 minutes then remove Enjoy warm or cold Optional* feel free to add lemon, honey or any other flavor enhancer to the mix.




by Morgan Hughes



“Ribs” by Lorde, “Tongue Tied” by Grouplove or maybe even any song by Vampire Weekend. If any of this music makes you feel heavily nostalgic for a certain time period in your life, you are not alone. Countless studies have been conducted examining the ways music can trigger nostalgia. In 1999, a study found that when a variety of songs from different eras were played for both college students and older adults, more often than not, the songs triggered memories. What was interesting was that these songs often evoked memories of an overall time period. For example, maybe your entire sophomore year of high school, as opposed to one date you went on. In the study, it was found that more often than not when a subject had a higher emotional attachment to a song, the more likely it was to evoke memories of a specific instance or time in their life. So when you come across a song that you used to listen to all the time with an ex or when your parents broke up, the more likely it is to transport you back to that time when listening to it.

to associate it with images and memories immediately. So the way we feel and the things we see while listening to music can stick with us for a very long time. Not convinced? Try it! If you’re like me and never delete any music, put your songs on shuffle and wait for an old one to come up that you played during a very particular time in your life. Be it a breakup, beginning of a relationship, moving to college or even starting high school, see if it transports you to the way you felt back then. Although maybe bittersweet — are there songs you can’t listen to that aren’t even sad, but missing the memories attached to it make you melancholic? — it’s kind of cool! Like a melodic time machine.

But why does this happen? On a neuroscientific scale, music interacts with our brains in a lot of different ways. Obviously, with our auditory complexes so that we can process the way that music sounds, and with the language centers of our brain so that we can understand lyrics. But one of the most significant reasons why we feel so nostalgic for certain tunes is music’s interactions with our visual cortex. As soon as we start hearing a song, we start



Timeless Tunes: a playlist by Nadine Cafaro 1999- Californication by Red Hot Chili Peppers 2002- Señorita by Justin Timberlake 2005- Feel Good Inc. by Gorillaz 2008- I Don’t Care by Fall Out Boy 2011- III. Telegraph Ave. (“Oakland” by Lloyd) by Childish Gambino 2014- Dreamer (Acoustic) by I the Mighty 2017- Dante’s Creek by THEY. 2020- You? by Two Feet

Biggie Michelle Nedboy



Lindsey Mayer



First Times by Michelle Nedboy

I knew about bees and what they did. They stung. I knew I’d get one maybe on my right knuckle or on my thigh or in the soapy hinge of my elbow, like I saw all the other kids get. I didn’t think I’d get one in my ear — the wasp’s crooked striped body with its machine gun wings beating at the fresh folds of cartilage. I learned about periods in the fourth grade, at the end of the school year when all I had to think about was how the months changed slowly yet predictably into May and finally into June, and how the sun felt against my face and how the spring grass smelled like candy and dirt. Now I had to think about this. About something that could come tomorrow or next week — my friends and I thinking we already had it. We felt smarter, older, sadder with this new knowledge, while the fifthgrade boys stuffed balls underneath their shirts to look pregnant or like they had grown boobs, and they’d run into each other with their new bellies, killing their nonexistent babies. This was the first time I learned about allergies. These twin girls were always being picked on at school and one day a kid chased them with peanuts. They screamed and ran for their life. I must’ve realized one day what a graduation was and what it meant for me, that I’d be leaving something for something else, something that could never live up to the first. Yet it always did and the same sick cycle of attachment continued. There was a time I learned that things could and would happen to me whether I liked it or not. One day I learned about death, family deaths and how it could happen to me. It seemed impossible, but then I started noticing my uncles and their hair; how it changed each Christmas and how they began to look older and balder. Hearing that they were fifty in some casual conversation


and not the unknown made-up number I had made for them for years. Seeing my grandparents’ coily waxy hands, pink and pearly like the bulge of a salmon — then seeing the same thing happening to my parents. I thought of drowning; how it must feel, how hot and sharp the water would be as it forcibly fills up your throat and lungs and stomach. I learned how to fear for my own death, even in something so simple as swimming to the bottom of a pool. I feel my ears pop under the pressure and my chest and stomach try to float up and into my legs. I touch the bottom of the pool, feel the dead black leaves that have fallen in and have bunched themselves up. I feel the pool’s scratchy mint-floor. I can let myself turn around now. I count each second faster in my head as my awkward mortal body takes its time to flip itself over, my feet touching the floor and the leaves hugging my heels. The floor peels the skin off my toes as I push down against it and fly back up. I have saved myself. I did that. I learned about natural disasters, learned that they were common and that I was likely to have one — that a lot of people were likely to have one. When it happened, I was scared, but I wasn’t surprised. It was something to expect. There’s the first time seeing your parents cry and get sick— something you thought only kids did. You’ll never get used to that. There’s the first time living through a major historic event, where one day you’ll be the one to think back on all the mistakes, like you’ve seen so many of your relatives do before, their old heavy heads shaking sadly towards their chests. Now you’ll be the one to recall it every Thanksgiving.


Colin Battersby THE TELLER


Antarctic Silence by David O’Keefe Kings and queens Mate the needle with the thread, But divide up the seams, Sewn onto wood coffins Which were silent as Antarctica, But Africa was calling: Those who would sell their sins Do not care For those who are irrelevant. Strings on keys Once given to the cubs, Were never used to free, But claimed gold spalling Torn off from the heart; Someone there was calling: Those who are relevant Do not care For those who wear sheepskin.



Chicken Marsala ‌ With Mushrooms! by Olivia Heins

Mushrooms are a part of The Environmental Working Groups clean 15, which means they are one of 15 fruits and vegetables that have significantly fewer pesticides. Mushrooms grow all year round but are most plentiful in the fall months. This recipe makes about two servings.



½ pound boneless skinless thin-sliced

Add egg to a bowl with salt and pepper and whisk.

chicken breast (preferably organic) 1 egg

Put breadcrumbs on a plate. Dip chicken in the egg mixture and then breadcrumbs, make

1 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs

sure the chicken is fully coated with breadcrumbs.

2 tbsp. Olive oil (or any oil of your

While you are breading the chicken heat the oil in a saucepan


on medium heat for one minute.

Salt, pepper

Add chicken to the saucepan and cook for 5 minutes on each

8 ounces of mushrooms sliced (your

side, make sure the chicken is browned on both sides.

favorite type is perfect!)

Wash and slice the mushrooms.

1 tbsp. Butter (vegan butter works too!)

Once the chicken is browned on both sides throw the

1 cup marsala wine

mushrooms in the pan with the chicken. Add the butter and marsala wine to the pan, cover, and cook on low heat for 15 minutes. Options: Serve this dish with roasted Brussel sprouts, roasted broccoli and or roasted potatoes, or serve over cooked pasta.





Fear Emily LaSita



Rest by Gabriella Rivera Sometimes at night, I let my tears run down my face and into my mouth I don’t wipe them away I want to taste my pain Sometimes at night, I let my body fall I give away my weight And hope it never comes back Sometimes at night, I sigh loud Delivering my pressures From a world that refuses to receive me Sometimes at night, I laugh Snort, squeal, giggle At defeat that will never come Sometimes at night, I let my words escape I watch my ceiling fan rotate As it tells me “I still love you” Sometimes at night, I close my eyes And let it come



Creative Graduation Gifts for the Ones you Love by Marissa Ammon

Let’s face it, seniors who are graduating high school or college in 2020 are going to need some encouragement to get through this difficult time during their last year of school. The best way to show how much we appreciate them is to give them a present that they will treasure forever.

Music Box What is more sentimental than a music box that plays the song often heard at commencement ceremonies, Pomp and Circumstance? I received a gift like this from my grandparents and it is one of my favorite graduation gifts to commemorate my education.

Picture Frames A picture frame holding a photograph of you and the graduate is a perfect way to go. This gift is memorable and sentimental. There are millions of frames to choose from, even customizable ones.

Oh The Places You WIll Go

Gift card Ferris Wheel Write down the graduate’s name on a piece of paper or get fancy by creating a web map. Now think of all the places they love shopping at or think about what they could use post-graduation. You can even ask your friends to chip in and make it a group gift!

A Starter Pack This mainly pertains to college graduates. Individually, or in a group, come up with some necessary items the graduate could use for their future career. For example, if someone graduated nursing school, decorate a nurse themed box and put items in such as a first aid kit, a stethoscope, gloves, etc. If your best friend is going to be a teacher, get some school supplies like markers and pencils, and more importantly, books for the classroom.

I think this is a sweet gift idea, especially for a sibling. Buy the classic Dr. Seuss children’s books and write them a letter inside the book. They’ll treasure it forever.




20 and a Virgin by Ananda Cash I don’t know whether to be proud or sad. Proud that I’m able to keep my legs closed for so long, or that it wasn’t hard to do since nobody wants me anyways. When I think about it, I see myself as a warrior. Carrying my virginity like a dead corpse of my worst enemy, showing others that I’m one of the last people of my age to still have it. Everyone wants to have that lustful experience of putting something between one’s legs or having something put inside them. However, this experience is expected of me when it comes to Religion.

I’m not saying that people who have sex should be shunned because that’s dumb. I’m just saying for me, that’s not a life I want to live… For now at least. I don’t know if in a few months I’ll find someone I can trust to add to that list and be the first of many or the only one. My mindset can change with time… but I do know that right now, I want to wait because that’s what God wanted. But also because I haven’t found a single person I would trust that responsibility with.

You see, other people who swiped their card before tying the knot are Fornicators. They sinned, went against God’s rule and now they’re looked down upon by others… especially the elderly. Some elderly people would make comments about your decision either to your face or behind your back. Other people may not say anything, but they’ll look at you differently. Like you’re the snake manipulating Eve in the Garden. So you see why it’s kind of forced to be a virgin at 20 years old… Or maybe that’s just my social anxiety getting the best of me… Whatever, it doesn’t matter (Yes it does). Being 20 and a virgin means a lot to me. There were times when I could’ve caved in and said “You know what, I don’t have to wait this long to enjoy myself” And started adding bodies to my sex list. But I decided to wait a little longer. Why may you ask? Well it’s definitely not because of those elderly religious people in my church. I could care less what they think of me (as long as it’s not said to my face or shown to me of course). I wanted to see if this could be the one thing God wants us to do that I could pass. We humans are so imperfect that we fail to be sinless, no matter how hard we try. So I wanted to see if I was capable of doing this one thing, one rule to not break in my life. Does it sound a bit bizarre to others that I’m not 'Enjoying’ myself because of a rule made by a man who we can’t even see? Of course it does when you look at it that way, but who’s to say you have to have sex to enjoy yourself? Society made that a thing, but that doesn’t mean I have to agree with it.



by Taylor Dinardo Something about signing up to write an article about joy felt a little disingenuous at first. After all, I’m certainly no expert. I often struggle when trying to find that spark, that elusive tide of warmth we call “happiness.” I’ve been in therapy for years, desperately searching for that thing that makes life feel less monotonous. I feel as though I’ve tried almost every coping mechanism there is to try, even medication. Case and point, I know what it feels like to be offered some arbitrary suggestion as a “Band-Aid” solution for sadness. I’m not interested in soliciting too-good-to-be-true advice. It is often the case that real change comes with difficulty — at least a little discomfort. Keeping in mind that I am not a professional, here are some actions with tangible consequences that have helped me get closer to happiness. Maybe they can help you, too.



I know, I know, we hear it all the time. “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands!” (Yes, I had to insert a Legally Blonde quote here). I abstained from exercise as a mood solution for a long time out of stubbornness— how can running around and lifting weights actually make me less sad? I can tell you this: pretty quickly after I started working out, I realized why. Exercise completely transforms my energy levels, allowing me to feel more lively during the days and sleep more deeply and consistently at night. Additionally, it offers me something tangible to work toward. Every time I go for a run, I track my time, distance and cadence (I highly recommend the smartphone app ‘Pacer’ for this). After each week, I notice those numbers improving and I set goals for where I want them to go. During weeks when I’m struggling more with motivation, I’ll incentivize myself by making x-amount of exercise a mandatory condition for some reward; whether it’s buying something small online or baking something delicious. Truthfully, the gratifying feeling I experience after exercising is a reward in and of itself. It doesn’t have to do with the weight on the scale; I don’t exercise to fit into smaller jeans. I exercise because it’s the most powerful antidepressant I’ve ever used.

Isolation restricts us in many ways; however, it doesn’t have to restrict our creativity. This might be a good opportunity to search your home for some old art supplies, instruments or tools. You could even scan for clothing or furniture you want to decorate or refurbish. Now is your time to try that Bob Ross tutorial, recreate that weird TikTok coffee, crop some old shirts — hell, make a pillow fort and watch movies in it! Remind yourself of some of that resourcefulness you tapped into all the time as a kid before you had a phone and million responsibilities to kill your boredom. Recently, I have been watercoloring


with my brother and mom, which has been a great opportunity for us to connect. Speaking of mom, Mother’s Day is coming up on May 10th, so why not put your art skills to use and make your mom the most bomb card of all time? Creating things, especially for others, is a rewarding experience that can help you to feel productive while also destressing. Seeing that finished product (even if it isn’t particularly good) will make the achievement tangible.

What they say is true — an unruly environment usually reflects some level of inner strife. Since we’re bound to be stuck at home for a while, we need to make our living environment as comfortable as possible to maximize our ability to focus. A study conducted by the Princeton University Neurological Institute reveals that a cluttered environment impedes our ability to process information, and with classes moving online for the rest of the semester, that’s the last thing we need! Moreover, the act of mindful cleaning and organizing can be deeply therapeutic. I personally enjoy either cleaning in silence or while listening to a podcast or audiobook. This is also a great opportunity to part with items you no longer need, storing them away for now in preparation for eventual donation when it is safe to do so. There may be some days when none of these tips prove helpful and you find yourself unable to be “productive,” and that’s okay. But when you do feel ready to work on yourself, know that you have the opportunity to break negative cycles with tangible efforts. There is no need to mystify the process of getting better, convincing ourselves that sadness is something we can think our way out of if we just try hard enough. I don’t know about you, but frankly, I don’t have the time to wait for some great revelation to strike me — I have a life to live, and I want to spend as much of it feeling as happy as I can.


Lindsey Mayer



In Praise of

Simple Food by Elise Franck

Steam rises from the pan. One more stir, and they’re done. Sometimes there’s nothing better than a simple stir-fry of fresh veggies — with a dash of red pepper, of course. I’ve been fortunate enough to work on an organic farm for the past few summers and even luckier to be able to take home some of what we’ve grown. There’s deep satisfaction in harvesting produce that you’ve put so much effort and heart into, there’s no relaxing like relaxing after a hard day working under the sun and it has given me a new appreciation for food. These are a few of the many reasons I love my job. Real food right out of the good black earth, touched only by my hands before reaching my plate.

I didn’t learn this appreciation overnight. The first couple times I tried to cook with nothing but vegetables and not a lot of spices, I only finished what I made because I was starving after long days of farm work. After, I immediately reached for a cheesy, pre-packaged snack. However, produce kept coming home with me and it wasn’t going to eat itself, so I kept grudgingly reaching for the recipe book. At some point, something clicked. Maybe it was because I realized I felt good, from my feet to my muscles, guts, and head when I ate more produce and less grocery store food. Maybe it was when I realized I was having fun with cooking, experimenting, tasting and creating. Maybe it was just the simple pride of getting to eat what I’d grown and share it with my family. Now when I get home from work, I eagerly unpack whatever delicious things came home with me before I even look at anything else. There’s no substitute for good, simple food. Yes, we’re wired to love lots of sugar, salt and fat, but underneath that programming we only need the basics. When you pare back to the basics and feed yourself well, the results are something beautiful.

the results are something beautiful



Staying Natural the real benefits of a makeup-free routine during quarantine by Laura Bojamaa

When it comes to wearing makeup during quarantine, there are either those who are motivated, who decide to use this time to try new products, be creative and do extravagant looks, or those that want to take advantage of this time to proudly show their natural skin. Although you may feel like not doing your make-up is the result of laziness, you are actually taking care of yourself more than ever. According to dermatologist Dr. Jessica Krant, M.P.H., M.D and professor of dermatology at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York, “wearing many layers of products every single day means you are going to be absorbing the chemicals in those products.” That can affect not only the quality of your skin but also your personal health. Even though the revenue of the cosmetics industry in the US reached 49.2bn USD in 2019, there is still a part of us that wants to come back to a natural way of living and listen to our bodies. Your skin needs your attention daily and it is your responsibility to be careful with how you treat it.

A Day 24 hours after a break from makeup, your skin is going to start breathing, so to speak. It will calibrate itself and begin to come back to normal. To obtain good results it is important to clean your face and moisturize it every day, even if you are not wearing makeup. The fewer bacteria you have on your face, the better its health is going to be. “Healthy, well-moisturized, calm skin is the most resistant to invasion by unwanted chemicals,” said Krant. Before going to bed, apply your best face cream and sleep at least eight hours since you have the time to. Poor sleep can increase levels of the stress hormone cortisol and deteriorate the quality of your skin.

Here are the results of a makeupfree lifestyle after one day, one week and one month. The huge differences should make you want to celebrate your new skin.



A Week If you suffer from oily skin you can say goodbye to it and enjoy your fresh face. After seven days, it will look brighter and smoother. No one is going to ask you if you are tired or sick; your skin will take on a newfound glow. To look younger in a snap, exfoliate your epidermis. Limit this to once or twice a week otherwise it could have the opposite effect. This beauty technique helps to rid your skin of dead cells, increase blood circulation, and reduce acne breakouts and the likelihood of clogged pores.

A Month A month after being bare-faced you can fully enjoy the results and analyze your face in front of the mirror. As a result of removing harmful chemicals from your routine, your pores will look smaller and damage will be minimized. You’ll experience less visible wrinkles too, thanks to the moisturizer keeping your skin hydrated and plumped.

It’s normal to still experience breakouts from time to time, as it takes about 28 days for the skin to regenerate and adapt to a new routine. It is important to see a dermatologist if you suffer from acne or other persistent problems; a monthly check can prevent any degradation. While three million people are confined at home and sometimes alone, taking care of yourself is the best decision that you can make. This makeup detox will give you a boost and clearly show if your daily-use products are really made for you. You might just be ready to go out again with healthier skin. But don’t forget that what is important is to learn to love the way you look without makeup as much as you do with it. If you choose to wear makeup, wear it for yourself and not for the world.

According to board-certified dermatologist Dr. Nazarian, “the longer your skin can go without makeup, the better it will regulate your skin’s temperature, oil control, hydration and its natural exfoliation process.”



The Noceur by Pamela Loperena Out on the backyard roof, I saw a full moon. Stars fell down like dandelion seeds, flickering cosmic hues. I tried to catch them all, so I could save their light for you, but they flew too fast— and wouldn't come back— making my rouge heart split blue. For the past month in quarantine, you were wasting away your hours, stuck bored out of your mind in a bedroom, until your thinking nerves grew sour. With burnished clouds weighing on your shoulder, you became lackluster in hope. Sculpted into the body of a loner, you found this new life of yours hard to cope. I wanted to give you something to grasp— some kind of token to kill the ash— but the night sky didn't let me help you, so I guess I just sat there, swinging my feet off the edge in plain view, patiently waiting for a miracle to appear at sunrise, saying the world's pandemonium was over, until I could see you face to face again in time.



Even if You Can’t Vote Your Top Choice, Voting is Still a Privilege and Your Responsibility

by Sarah Bale

I woke up on April 8 in the midst of a pandemic to the news that Senator Bernie Sanders was ending his campaign for the 2020 presidential election. Soon after, floods of individuals on social media stated that they will not vote in the November election because Sanders is not the Democratic nominee. Additionally, #WriteinBernie was one of Twitter’s top trends. In the eyes of many, Bernie Sanders is an American hero who shed light on many progressive ideas. I applaud Sanders for being a dignified and outspoken leader throughout these dark times. Yet, we cannot let this loss further divide our country. We desperately need the Democratic Party to come together now more than ever to defeat whom I believe to be the true threat to America, President Donald Trump. Writing in Sanders’ name as a third-party candidate will most likely be a vote for Trump. As stated by Rep. Alexandria OcasioCortez, unity is a process. But, unity seems necessary to me right now. Especially in this time of crisis.

We must take these factors into consideration before making the decision not to vote in November.

I understand the ill sentiments towards Joe Biden. Yet, giving up your right to vote is your privilege. Would you feel the same apathy if you were directly impacted by Trump’s policies? It is clear that “for low-income people in Louisiana and Kentucky, the stakes of elections between moderate Democrats and far-right Republicans can be life and death,” according to journalist Eric Levitz.

When I go to the polls in November, I’m going to vote for the children who died in cages at our border because of the Trump administration. I’m going to vote for women to have control over their own bodies as reproductive rights continue to be attacked by the Trump administration. I am going to vote for my children’s futures because the Trump administration continues to deny the existential threat of climate change.

The handful of policies that we support are the ones impacting the lives of oppressed groups of people. According to New York Magazine, “the tens of thousands of Americans who’ve secured Medicaid as a result of Democrats beating Republicans in elections are worth fighting for; as are the Virginians who will no longer have to ration their insulin because Ralph Northam beat Ed Gillespie; as are the undocumented New Yorkers who can now drive legally because Andrew Cuomo beat Marc Molinaro. To abstain from two-party competition in the contemporary United States is to forfeit ripe opportunities to improve the lives of our nation’s most vulnerable people.”


You are not just voting for the President of the United States. Many other governmental positions depend on the President. If President Trump is elected for another four years, he may get to nominate another justice to the Supreme Court of the United States. When I cast my vote in November, I will be hoping that Ruth Bader Ginsburg will be able to retire in peace after all she has done for this country. Nick Jack Pappas highlighted this issue on Twitter by stating, “the Presidency is more than one person. You don’t like Biden? Fine. But how do you feel about Trump’s cabinet? Would you prefer Mike Pence or Biden’s VP? How do you feel about Trump’s Supreme Court?” It is necessary to understand how much is at stake during the 2020 election.

The fate of our democracy lies in your hands. I ask that you exercise your Constitutional right to vote in November. Many lives depend on it. The fact is, if you care about people of color, immigrants, women’s rights and LGBTQ rights, you’ll vote for Biden. Otherwise, you are supporting the oppression of marginalized communities and are allowing four more years of President Trump.


Feminist and Proud Feminist and Proud Feminist and Proud by Sarah Cunningham

I don’t enjoy sharing my opinion with others. Actually as a rephrase, I used to enjoy sharing my opinions with others. Anyone can agree that having a conversation with those who have extreme mentalities and are eager to argue is unbearable. It definitely seems that I’ve had way too many of those. I have an opinion sharing hangover. I know there are times where I don’t agree with many others on certain things. I never have and can never see myself conforming to whatever is typically believed because of this issue. Growing up, my dad was a Mets fan, and even though every other kid in my class said they liked the Yankees, I would raise my hand for the underdog. For that I guess I am some sort of conformist to my father, since I don’t have a single clue about baseball. But I knew from a young age that I just tended on thinking differently. In no way do I intend on preaching that I’m special or unique of any kind because of this, as I know many people who are just like me that go against what others think. Still, I think I deserve to say that having opinions has definitely affected me in some way. Although I said I normally don’t enjoy sharing my opinions, I only learned that about myself a short while ago. Before then, sharing with the world what I believed in seemed important to me. A few years ago, starting high school was a big deal, as it symbolized a new start. I had expressed my want in broadening my horizons early, and so I tried out a few organizations and clubs until I found the perfect ones to fit my interest. Many students chose not to do extracurriculars farther than sports or honor societies, so the meetings stayed small and personal for the most


part. I, however, joined a social justice group that did community service locally. They stood up for current issues I too wanted to combat. I got involved quickly and felt important as teachers gradually began to recognize me for my involvement when it was shared in my classwork or through the school’s news of the work I had done. Posters on the lockers of hallways caught student’s eyes and made the entire school aware of the clubs I was a part of. Igniting that passion I never felt before was a factor which helped high school begin to feel more comfortable as I began to be content with the friends and choices I had made. Not even long after, I had finally begun to see a guy for the first semester of my sophomore year. The typical teenage life I had dreamed of during childhood had finally been achieved, and I was excited to be living it. I was finally happy after looking for a good group of friends and always having crushes for my entire life to have been able to say I had found it. I felt lucky. I will never forget the one day that year when I was daydreaming in my biology class about what was yet to come. “So how are things going with him?” asked the boy that sat next to me. I snapped out of my self induced trance and smiled and replied with a simple “Good”. I was certain that was true since it was all too new for anything to even be going wrong.“Did he tell you that I told him about how you’re a feminazi?” he said while letting a laugh or two out between the words. I laughed too since it was supposed to be funny. I knew how boys could act, making jokes out of everything, being that a lot of them will always be confused on why we need feminism at all. Of course, now the guy I liked was going to think I’m a deranged maniac who will ruin his life. But I should have seen that coming, obviously, because being a feminist openly is wrong. When someone disagrees with you on that, they’ll make it obvious no matter what. I should’ve just been quiet all along, and so I laughed to express my embarrassment. After class, I got on my bus, going home for the remainder of the day to do work, eat and sleep. I talked to the boy I liked for a little while that night, and he didn’t mention the feminazi comment. I realized it soon after, and still do to this day that I was wrong. The actions I chose to make were wrong, my fault and something I regret to this day.


Now I don’t enjoy sharing my opinion. I have refrained from sending multiple texts and opening my mouth a number of times, but I now believe that when it is necessary there are certain occasions that I must. Whether it is to defend or disagree with an argument, I wish to always stand up for what I think is just. That passion that I had thought to have left me then has revealed itself to have yet died out. And so, for that fact I now know I should have said “f*** you” instead of laughing. I should have poked his brain on why he thought I was so intense for standing up for an issue I believed in when he has no idea what kind of inequality women of different races, ages, occupations, sexuality and cultures faced that is unspoken because of jerks like him. It is the disrespectful kind of behavior that girls face in every scenario that then makes it an issue of stereotypes on women behavior when we talk back that follow unrealistic misconceptions guys like him choose to believe. The same idiots that make insensitive comments about all kinds of people for a shallow laugh from another one of his pea brained buddies, whether it be making fun of the trangender boy in our class that is brave to piss in the gender neutral bathroom only the “retards’’ are normally allowed to use. Oh please, like your comment really hurt my judgement so much to realize that my beliefs are unrealistic, which you misinformed yourself so terribly on that even asking Siri for the Webster’s Dictionary definition of feminist, a task that takes 11.7 seconds (and yes I really timed it,) you are standing in front of me telling me what I think is wrong. For this I think should begin actually believing in misandry, or instead become the crazy b*tch this boy almost desires to get a glimpse of, just to tell his other friends to stay away from the crazy feminist I am as I’m screaming back in his face about telling the boy I liked his unfunny, anti-semitist feminazi remark which he really thought was the most offensive and creative comeback I’ve ever gotten. But instead, since standing up for myself in this situation would result in him giving his friends a kind of rendition that would result in that perception of me, I chose to be quiet. Looking back, I hope I’m never that quiet again.



Thoughts Jiesu THE TELLER


Thoughts Jiesu THE TELLER


How to get Free Content During Quarantine by Susanna Granieri

This upheaval of your life, as for many others, has been heartwrenching, difficult and chaotic — you’re not alone. “For me, a lot of my classes could transition somewhat seamlessly to online and could even be taught as such off the bat; but in reality, the process hasn’t been such a walk in the park,” said fourth-year creative writing major at SUNY New Paltz, Mahnoor Ali. While the COVID-19 pandemic sweeps across the U.S., companies have worked to provide you with free access to online platforms to keep up with school work, while also saving you from boredom in the process. Whether you have time on your hands for a new digital project, or you’re having trouble editing that video for your class, companies are handing you the tools to a more educated lifestyle for free — relaxing their usual gatekeeping to students and educators in order to give the most wholesome education online, and you should grab onto the opportunity. Check out just a few of your options:

Are you up for the challenge?

Adobe has offered their Creative Suite to students for free until May 31. Additionally, they have also offered different tutorials as ways to stay connected. If you want to work collaboratively with the pros, check out Adobe Live. In addition to the live teaching aspects, Adobe is also offering “Daily Creative Challenges” within Photoshop, XD or Illustrator if you click on the app. These challenges are a great way to keep your creative juices flowing in an otherwise non inspirational environment, while also connecting with professionals, mentors and students who can give you feedback. Along with your Creative Suite, you then open up a door with tutorials bursting at the seams – all for free.

Your research is no longer at a standstill.

JSTOR is an online library filled with journals, research articles and even books. With a JSTOR subscription usually landing at $199 a year, you most likely rely on SUNY New Paltz for access through STL. Now, with educators at home as well, JSTOR has allowed 100 free articles (a 94 article increase from their original six article limit). This is the perfect time for any type of research you’ve put off, whether it be for your pure enjoyment or academic reasons.

Quarantine can be lonely, but your friends are only a click away.

Zoom is an application as well as an online service for video conferencing, including a chat window, screen sharing and presentations. From classes, work or club meetings, to job interviews and virtual time with friends, the Zoom app is one of frequent use. Basic users are usually constrained to a 40-minute time limit on meetings with more than two people, but now, there is unlimited time for collaboration. In addition, Zoom is also offering informational and tutorial-like sessions in order for educators, students and any other professionals to learn Zoom easily.


Looking to spice up your LinkedIn?

LinkedIn Learning is an online extension through LinkedIn which offers video courses in different softwares, creativity, business and professional skills. As a SUNY New Paltz student, you have access to this service by simply using your school login. This service allows you to set goals weekly for the amount of time you spend watching videos and gaining knowledge. After completing a course, you are also able to download your LinkedIn Learning certificate. This is especially helpful, as when you create or continue to update your LinkedIn profile, these certificates can be supplemented to help employers find you.

Get motivated and try some of Nike’s free workouts.

The Nike Training Club’s (NTC) app was made to help its members to reach their fitness goals. The premium workouts include bodyweight-only circuits, yoga/meditation classes, training programs and full-equipment workouts, all with different intensities for every fitness level. Nike usually charges $14.99 a month for its Training Club Premium Workouts, but now they’re free. The Swoosh says it wants everyone to be “playing as one team,” and their way of doing so is suspending premium membership fees.

free access to crucial and important stories on COVID-19, but a subscription is still required to see all articles. The Washington Post and The Los Angeles Times will continue to provide daily live updates and how to handle the pandemic for free.

Your favorite bookstore is closed; what can you do?

On March 22, Apple began to allow users access to an entire list of titles on Apple Books for free, calling it their “‘stay at home’ collection. These titles range from mystery, romance and sci-fi to children’s stories, with audiobooks also available. Bradley Chambers, an editor at 9to5mac says that many of the texts are also a part of a larger series, allowing Apple Books’ users to get a feel for a plotline before purchasing it.

Influencers aren’t the only ones who can have a nice Instagram.

The media wants you to stay informed.

While COVID-19 wreaks havoc over the globe, people always need to stay informed. Usually, paywalls keep curious people at bay, allowing only a few articles before payment is necessary. In light of the pandemic, many news organizations are taking a different route. The Wall Street Journal has offered 50% off of their one year subscription for full access, but has features for Coronavirus coverage that are free– live updates, symptoms to look for, tech tips and more. The New York Times follows suit with


The Know-How Series from Frolic is now introducing their Instagram building and creative writing classes for free. The Instagram brand lesson is usually priced at $14.99, but now that this video series is free, it is a good opportunity to improve your social media presence. This lesson features top authors and influencers to help you create your perfect profile which mirrors your personal identity. The creative writing courses are on the more expensive side, $29.99 for the nine-video package, but this is the perfect opportunity to brush up on your writing skills. Specifically, this lesson package is perfect for anyone sitting down to write the novel during quarantine they’ve been putting off for weeks – authors and teachers show you the best way to “attack a blank page, set goals and get it done.” Hopefully, you can forget your TikTok “for you” page and try out some new options to fill the time — and well, grow your brain (remember — it’s free!).


Fast-Tracking Your Way to Resilience

by Pamela Loperena

Resilience is the psychological backbone of the human mind. It serves as a source of strength for people to rely on after enduring trauma, misfortune or disaster. Resilience helps individuals adjust to negative life situations with greater ease, allowing them to remain calm, even when all odds are against them. Without the shield of resilience, a person can become overwhelmed; the world can feel like an unpredictable, dark realm. An individual can also fall victim to developing pessimistic beliefs and a slow recovery rate. Building resilience is essential for protecting people against experiencing high stress and anxiety levels, which can hurt their mental health state in the long run (and now during quarantine, this is the most important time to do so). Here are five ways to improve your resilience in the face of adversity:

Engage in Positive Self-Talk Although the idea of talking to yourself might seem like a ridiculous task to practice frequently, it can do more good than harm. Repeatedly saying positive words inside your head can retrain your brain to think more optimistically. A great example of this is vocalizing mantras every morning in front of your mirror. Mantras such as: I will be strong and find a solution or I am good enough to get through this can help you start your day off with the momentum and confidence to tackle anything big or small.

Harness the Power of a Growth Mindset When a tragic event simmers down, it can be difficult to know what to do with yourself in the aftermath. However, if you focus on seeing your challenge as a learning opportunity, you will view life with limitless curiosity. Through adopting a growth mindset, you can plan out new goals/ activities to be able to look forward to flourishing in the future, instead of being stuck in a grim — self-sabotaging — looping habit of reminiscing about your past struggles and living stagnant.


Strengthen Support Systems The quality of your relationships will definitely affect your social wellness status. Try spending time more often connecting with friends and family to create deeper bonds. Developing healthy, fulfilling support systems can increase your sense of belonging and feelings of happiness. With face to face interaction, you’ll have the chance to express grief, process your emotions, as well as destress your brain (do this after social distancing is over, of course).

Accept Change Change is inevitable. No matter if you want changes to happen to you or not, you’ll always experience them, nevertheless. This is why it’s important to learn how to embrace change by reminding yourself that constant uncertainty in life is okay. To be more prepared for detrimental future situations though, you can reframe how you respond to them beforehand. Altering your initial reaction to distress from a negative to a positive one, can prevent you from immediately resorting to panic and adapt to change better if a catastrophic event ever comes again.

Find a Purpose Searching for a purpose is like looking for a needle in a haystack. The process can be lengthy and arduous. Yet, discovering your reason to live a meaningful life can help you unlock a more satisfying perspective. You can try to start your journey by putting your energy into being in service to others, while doing something you love. As a result, you’ll instantly make a difference in someone else’s life and feel more intrinsically motivated to get involved in your community. Therefore, finding your purpose can boost your willpower to carry on, mitigating traumatic wounds.


Parasitic by Katherine Goldblatt You consumed me. You made me someone I did not recognize because I aimed to please you. I loved you, and you fed off that for your ego, which was ever-burgeoning. I lost me, my sense of self, because I aimed to please you. Yet you said I never gave enough. Your hold over me was so strong that even after you left me broken, you returned and I welcomed you with open arms to ruin me once again. What was I expecting? A prince? No, but a better man. One who could change and grow. But you were still a parasite. Feeding your ego, your lust, your desire. You were the same old disease. I was too optimistic for you. Luckily, I realized that. So I left, cutting you out, scraping every last bit of you and me clean, so I could be cured. So I could live. So I could be me without any parasite to please.



Mak ing Ch ocol ate Bab ka

Chocolate babka:

the intersection of buttery dough, chocolatey swirls and a bit of patience.

Babka is a dense sweet bread that originated in Eastern Europe. Known for its beautiful swirl pattern, babka has become much more popularized in recent days, modified with different kinds of fillings. I wanted to try my hand at an authentic recipe to replicate the classic bakery taste as best I could. The baking process can be split into two days so the dough has time to rise overnight. The rest can be completed the next day. This recipe is not difficult to follow, but make sure


by Taylor Dowd

to read it through a couple times before beginning. Fresh babka is worth the effort and will fill your kitchen with the most incredible scent. Chocolate, orange zest and cinnamon band together to create a unique symphony of flavors that truly emulate the taste of fresh bakery bread. The flavor is not overpoweringly sweet, but still satisfies. Visually, the loaf develops a beautiful golden color on the outside and each slice is swirled with chocolate.


Recipe: Better Chocolate Babka from Smitten Kitchen Recipe Notes: I used the recipe’s recommended orange zest

Once my loaves were arranged in the pans, I noticed

instead of lemon

some separation of layers. I pressed and pinched them

Ghirardelli 60% dark chocolate chips and Hershey’s

back together and they baked together in the oven.

Special Dark cocoa powder worked wonderfully

My larger loaf required 35 minutes in the oven, no foil on

in this recipe.

top. My smaller loaf was packed with dough, so I baked it

The only loaf pans I had were 8 x 4 inch and 12 x 4 inch, both of which worked fine.


35 minutes uncovered, then about 25 more with foil. I needed only ¼ cup of sugar syrup for both loaves.


This Isn’t What I Expected by Ananda Cash

When I first heard about schools closing for the rest of the semester, I was thrilled. The thought of being home and doing my homework on my own time was amazing. I thought I would have the freedom to go wherever I wanted; going to my friend’s house, traveling to other states, going on vacations. I thought I had it all figured out with being sent home for the rest of the semester — but then life told me no. Being home for the rest of the semester meant not being able to leave my house unless I had to buy essentials. Being home for the semester meant I couldn’t see any of my friends because of social distancing. Being home for the semester meant I had to be with my family for months without being able to go back outside. Being home for the semester meant everything I wanted to do would never happen unless I wanted to risk getting COVID-19.

I be able to find one that gives me a stable income; a “real job”? If I go to grad school do I want to do it online or be on campus for class? If I’m going to campus for classes, would I be able to find a place to stay and a way to pay rent? If I do online classes, would I be able to stay at home and do schoolwork without my parents driving me insane? If I decide to get a part-time job, would that get in the way of school? The list is endless and it brings me to panic.

The first adjustment of quarantine was picking where I was going to do it — on campus, or home. I decided going home was the best option. Being on campus without my friends would’ve made me lonely, and my mom wanted me to be with my family, so I went home.

When I get to that point of the spiral, I stop thinking. I take a moment to breathe and focus only on that.

Leaving my dorm room was very hard. I had to come back from spring break to move out of my dorm and it just felt weird. Seeing my room naked before May made me really sad as I realized I wouldn’t be able to see my friends again for another 5 months. I wouldn’t be able to have the weekend movie nights until 3 am with my friends. I wouldn’t be able to work the night shifts and see people rolling into my dorm drunk with their friends. I wouldn’t be able to take night walks without having to tell anyone. The freedom I had away at school has been taken from me. It also made me realize the next time I would be moving in I would become a senior. Senior year means I have to figure out what I’m going to do after I graduate. Do I want to go to grad school or look for a job? If I get a job, would


Breathe Breathe Breathe Breathe

in. out. in. out.

Once my breathing is in control, I take that time to pray about my worries, and move on from the topic. It’s now been a month since I’ve been outside. My dad’s the only one out of the four of us that gets to go out. My mom has been out twice, while my brother and I have been indoors. Being stuck in the house with nothing to do but my homework has been intense, but I found a way to make a routine for myself so I would feel like I’m still on campus. I do my make-up and hair, I close my door and play music whenever I’m doing homework and I give myself occasional breaks to eat a meal or go on social media for some time. During this quarantine, I’ve learned that giving myself breaks in between homework assignments and anything in general is very important for me mentally — tiring myself out to stay productive is not the smart thing to do. So far this quarantine has been an interesting journey,not that I’m used to it, but I can feel myself making it the most productive time period of my life.


Old Upstate by David O’Keefe Wintertime in old upstate Brings back those years, Snowflakes falling from the sky Like a billion lonely tears. At the border in Niagara The coldest months are blinding, The falls are frozen over Like a staircase made of diamonds. Oswego or Binghamton, Ithaca or Cortland, Lamenting friends of days gone past And pulling out the short end.





If spending my last semester confined to the home I grew up in has taught me anything about myself, it’s how desperately structured of a person I am. Laziness tempts me just as much as the next person, but with an internship, job and physical classes to attend — well, there were too many forces acting on my productivity to slack off. Truthfully I still find myself with a lot to get done. This is truly an unprecedented time, especially for a young journalist to build their portfolio. As you or anyone else can guess, working entirely from home is just about the hardest position to be in and still find motivation. So yes, I am sort of building my portfolio! But, I am also “upcycling” (quotes are necessary here given the amount of times I’ve accidentally ruined a garment in the last month) clothes! Bleach has been my best friend lately and books have been my social interaction. With the two kept in mind and boredom peaking around every corner, I’m happy to share some do’s and don’ts for your potential DIY day. Watch videos! I tend to rush everything I do which is a perpetual recipe for disaster. I recently tried to bleach one leg of burnt orange Wrangler jeans and ended up with a pair of half bleached and partially splattered pants that I may or may not ever wear. Do go crazy with the bleach! It can be really easy to spice up an old article of clothing without spending money. Chances are you have bleach somewhere in your house and a little goes a long way. It’s best to call on our dear friend Google when understanding how bleach will react with a certain color and fabric. For example, synthetic fabrics are much harder to bleach than a natural fiber like cotton. You want to make sure what you’re doing will actually work.



Try to imagine what you’re going for beforehand, but don’t be scared to just spray or splatter the bleach. I’m a strong proponent for the idea that things often look better when they can’t easily be redone or copied. What you’re working with could end up being one of your favorite staple pieces! Elastic is our friend, not foe. While it can be frustrating to work with you likely have items in your house to make it easier. One or two safety pins, elastic, and a sewing machine or kit are all you’ll need. I cropped an old sweater by cutting it and folding and sewing the end under; I then used elastic as an insert to give the sweater a scrunchie effect. If this sounds confusing, I promise Youtube will give you a fool proof method of success. Donate the clothes you don’t see a potential in! Now is a great time to do some spring cleaning and get creative, but it’s also an incredible time to ruminate and help out where you can.



What Waits Within by Mason Longenberger

The door swings open with growing curiosity. The air around it gives way, moving itself for the wild wonders welcoming the wary wanderer. Such venturer trailing off to seek the hidden treasures of Pandora’s box, the forbidden fruit of the glorious grove. This traveler of foreign lands has sought out the finest of fashions. No frivolities when food comes to question. I was this nomad of culinary insatiability. My hand begins to shake as it tightens around the fridge’s oddly curved handle, the knuckles change to an alabaster, a fresh snow piling atop a great summit. Tendons stretch within the rattling fist, forming voluminous valleys and protruding peaks. The surface quickly becomes a topographic map, riding the altitudes of the ever-chilling skin, just recently warmed with luminously labored light from the lamp nearby. The little lamp wobbles on the desk. Somehow, the rectangular desk, seemingly flush with the floor, has room to jump up and down. The lamp’s product sprays out into the room, out from the matte cone containing that spiraling glass of illumination.

as distant as they now seem. Perhaps a trick my eyes play. A dubious jest by my starving mind. With the exhausted energy I yet have, I must seek tonic for this decrepit state in which I find my aging body. My bones feel heavy, dragging me down as I lift my hand to the refrigerator door. I gaze upon the bounty inside. With cool air pouring out onto my warm flesh, the light brightens the room more radiantly than the lamp could ever be expected to. My failing eyesight, burdened now by the blinding force from within, strains to see even one thing within the institutionwhite interior, colored only by stains from clumsy takeout containers. A reddish blot there, a brown-esque puddle. They are the remnants of a craving I now feel surging through the very veins of my being; a hunger that clenches my soul with the tightening grasp of utter starvation. These artifacts of yearned meals mock me so. They stare with such malice, feeding off my own torment. What murderous intent to be but a phantom of that which I do not merely desire, to be a specter of that which I need. I began looking at the world around me, preparing for the end to come. Fare thee well, old sport. A bite more to offer, I may yet be saved.

From below I hear a growl most vicious and unholy. A gurgling that festers in my stomach, reaching out to further corridors of my insatiable famine. The trembling in my tummy twisted the organs that lay just under the rippling surface. But then, silence. A calm before a storm to come. With one comes the many more. Hellish bellows blew forth, relentless and without the promise of an end. I cannot ignore this summons for sustenance.

I droop my hollow-feeling head down, allowing the growing strain of doing anything to be eased in any way. It seems as if bricks lay on it, but also as though it were sucked dry of any contents. The room around me grew blurry. The glass shelves move in organic ways I didn’t realize possible. The light began to pulse out from the fridge, moving out in hypnotic waves. Everything turned black and all was quiet.

I excuse myself from the shoddy desk and the accompanying flickering light to appease the demanding vacancy within my aching stomach. The feet themselves cannot truly be

“We’re gonna order a pizza. You in?” My roommate’s voice pierces through the silence. I open my eyes and get my wallet.



The Forlorned by David O’Keefe Once I walked between The Sun-stained alleys, Just to talk with those Who manned the galleys, Whose crimson tears had Woke the sunken brine, But they dared not speak Their bitter tally. My thoughts led me outWards towards a sheer climb, Where I met a late Party to join mine: Father and daughter And a cooked sturgeon; I kept my manners And spoke verse and rhyme. We then feasted for Harvest had burgeoned, Drinking till dawn for Life was not urgent, And as the Sun rose Our friendship was sworn, For I raised my voice As thoughts were now learned. Journey again where Legacy was borne: Grey skies rest, billions Of red spirits mourn; Find me, still, in that Deep river valley With the beautiful,



A + Q With The

Graphic Designer Behind it All: Julia Catalanello by Cloey Callahan J: Here on campus I took a bookbinding class, Printed Books, that was really unique. I’m always more proud when I’m able to be hands on and work with things outside of my comfort zone. Making those books was a really cool moment for me.

Every month you are all able to read a letter from me, Cloey. Yet, I am only one aspect of what allows The Teller to run so smoothly. With each issue comes a beautiful layout from start to finish throughout the 100 pages. Julia Catalanello is the one behind it all. From the beginning Julia has laid out the magazine and, before building her own team, did it entirely herself. Now, it’s time to find out more about Julia, the graphic design leader who has led the magazine to the success it has today. C: Julia! Can you tell us a little about yourself for those who do not know? J: I am a senior graphic design major here at SUNY New Paltz. Originally, I’m from Rochester, NY. Rochester is a fun city and will always be important to me in some way, but New Paltz has taught me a lot. Besides working as the lead graphic designer for The Teller, I am in a sorority, Pi Phi Delta. C: I know we all discussed our time at The Teller in our reflections but is there anything else you would like to include? J: Working at The Teller has been really awesome. For one, it really helped me develop my skills as a publication designer way more than I ever could have in class. Also, it allowed me the opportunity to work with a team of people, which is a great skill to have for the future. C: I totally agree. Learning how to collaborate with a group of people is a necessary skill, especially for future jobs. What are other projects that you have completed that you are proud of?


C: Wow, that is awesome! So, what do you like to do when you’re not busy with graphic design and classes? J: I can’t lie, in my free time I honestly am obsessed with watching reality TV. I’m hooked on anything that is on Bravo. I love all of the Real Housewives. But, being in quarantine, I’ve been trying to get back to an old project of watercolor painting. I took photos of doors while I was abroad in France last summer, which is what I am painting now. It has been a nice carefree creative outlet. C: I never had the opportunity to study abroad, partially because I’m scared to fly and partially because I never had the time. What was the experience like? J: I don’t travel often, but I consider myself lucky that I’ve been able to go to Europe a couple of times. Going abroad was an amazing learning experience and being able to study art history directly from the source was a once in a lifetime experience. It taught me that the world is a huge place and we need to remember to appreciate the beauty of it all. C: So we’re both graduating. What are your plans postSUNY New Paltz? J: My original plan was to get a job in the design field and move to Brooklyn. Now things have obviously changed, unfortunately. I’m going to move home for a few months until I’m able to find a job and make that dream come true. But I’ve loved doing publication design with The Teller, and it has taught me so much, so I think I’d like to do something like that. I am just excited to see where my degree will take me! Check out more of Julia’s work on her website at Thanks, Julia, for all you have done at The Teller.


The Basement by Brianna Knight We set the temperature to 72 degrees White walls, the sunlight always came in around five The conversations ends around four We spent the time staring into each other’s eyes on the couch The leather worn down after the times we’ve slept down here We’ve sat and laughed away the world I didn’t want to sleep in something that wasn’t mine so I chose you instead of my bed I didn’t think you’d be the only piece of peace while the world felt like it was falling apart The pillows always fell off the couch because I enjoyed your chest more Whenever we reclined the chair it buckled as if we were fighting something I always felt with you, never thought about the after I think the safest place to be was in your arms on top of beat up leather Underneath blankets we couldn’t decide if we were too hot or cold, knowing we could change the temperature at any time We just laid there in each other’s arms, hot and sweaty and everything in between Because we loved like that




Made by me and several teammates this fall



In high school I was known for being quiet and shy. I never cursed or got in trouble. All in all, I was a boring student who hung out in the background and snapped at anyone who got near, just another kid waiting for the chance to leave a small town. But since I never took the chance to step out of my comfort zone in high school, I was lost in the crowd when I arrived at college. SUNY New Paltz may not be a big school by university standards, but to someone who graduated with only 50 other people in a hometown of a couple thousand, it was enormous. I was shyer than ever before, even though I didn’t want to be. Then one day, early freshman year, I went to the gym and someone running on the track next to me remarked, “you look like a prop.” Huh?


Turns out she played rugby and prop was one of the fifteen positions on a team. She invited me to come watch a practice the next day. As a lonely, bored, new student, I had nothing better to do. Two days and two weird, sweaty, funny practices later, I was hooked. I had played soccer and ran track in high school, and briefly practiced Tae Kwon Do. But while those sports were fun, they didn’t capture my whole attention the way rugby did. Being completely surrounded by brave, wild and tough women was a new experience for me, and at the same time a space to feel comfortable in my own skin. For once I was able to be myself around new people. My new confidence didn’t just apply to the rugby field, either. I was more relaxed and focused in class, at work and in public. Before, I had been constantly tense and anxious. I laughed and cursed more often and avoided social interaction less often. I started to live life unfiltered. All because of one friendly person at the gym and a brutal sport with an oddly-shaped ball.